AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

Smarter Cities: How the Cloud Can Help

With sensor technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning capabilities, smart cities are coming online. Cities can use technology to quickly and effectively identify areas needing government attention. Sensors can measure things from noise pollution to the fullness of public trashcans. As these technologies become more common, policymakers around the world are proving that the path to a smart, connected city begins with its residents.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, for example, AWS has begun developing an applied research project called The resulting tool combines social media mapping and user input to allow the city’s 28 million citizens to contribute real-time information on flood conditions, increasing monitoring across Jakarta waterways.

In Buenos Aires, APN Partner Deloitte helped the city launch a mobile app that citizens can use to register complaints. When a resident sees a problem such as a missing manhole or a broken sidewalk, he or she can tweet a photo to the appropriate ministry along with a short description. The app, using geographic information system (GIS) technology, sends the location of the problem to the appropriate ministry, which assigns the work to the nearest vendor.

“A successful smart city initiative makes use of transformative technologies – cloud, mobile, data analytics, cybersecurity, and communications infrastructure – as well as prioritized vertical point solutions,” said Hardik Bhatt, Smart Cities and Mobility vertical leader for AWS US State and Local Government. “However, success equally depends on leadership, governance, and a focus on citizen benefits and outcomes.”

Deloitte recently published a whitepaper examining how the cloud can support cities in six areas:

“Deloitte is excited to collaborate with AWS for the discussion on the evolution of smart city efforts,” said Rana Sen, US public sector smart city initiative leader for Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Smart City is a global and US strategic priority for Deloitte. This discussion allows us to build a broader conversation that incorporates insights and perspectives from a number of smart city and community initiatives, focused on domains such as mobility, security, environment, education, living and economy.”

Environment: Technology can be used to foster sustainable growth by maximizing the efficient use of precious resources and encouraging sound choices by everyone — governments, businesses, universities, hospitals, nonprofits and individual citizens alike. Sensor technology, behavioral economics and gamification can be leveraged to guide and influence decisions about infrastructure, resourcing and more.

Education: Virtual learning and augmented reality can transform the way we learn. Unbundled, personalized and blended education is becoming more prevalent. As teachers leverage data and analytics to maximize student success, the focus shifts from digital content in the classroom to the real world, where students, teachers and real-world experts connect to create a path for lifelong learning.

Security: Crime is becoming smarter, and public safety and security agencies must catch up. Today’s law enforcement officers can use drones, wearable computing, facial recognition technologies, and predictive video to fight crime and protect public safety. Agencies are beginning to preemptively tap into all streams of data, including social and crowdsourced information, to prevent crime.

Mobility: In a smart city, physical infrastructure is a finite resource. Sensor-powered dynamic pricing, mobile-enabled ridesharing and other social transport apps help tackle traffic congestion in major urban corridors. Mobility emerges as a service relying on a digital platform that integrates end-to-end trip planning, booking, electronic ticketing, and payment services across all modes of transportation, public and private.

Economy: The growth of digital tech and other technologies can make government regulation more nimble and responsive, streamlining procedures, such as permitting and licensing and creating a more efficient experience for businesses.

Living: A smart city can advance the concept of “smart living,” a variety of approaches that enhance the daily living of residents. Cities can promote tools and technologies that help citizens monitor their health, reduce their energy use, and receive individually tailored human services. Coupled with new data approaches such as predictive analytics and insights from behavioral economics, smart living encourages citizens to make better choices in their lives.

Each of these domains contributes to a better quality of life for citizens, greater economic competitiveness and sustainability. Learn more about Deloitte’s framework and AWS Cloud- based technologies here.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see to learn more about our global network of member firms.