Smart Cities and What They Mean for the Data Centre

The Internet of Things (IoT), an interlacing of smart physical devices connecting and communicating with other sensors through the cloud, is gaining pace and revolutionising businesses. As the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) continues to enhance technological capabilities, IoT is set to become even more prominent this decade. In fact, by 2030 the average person will have at least 15 connected devices. But what impact does this have on current data centres and why is APAC leading the charge?


The rise of IoT deployment in the APAC market is hard to ignore. Already monopolising on smart cities, (ten expected to be fully built within the region by 2025), what’s caused this rapid growth of interconnected smart cities in APAC? According to Gartner, the top goal is to increase their competitiveness, aiming to leverage emerging technologies and ‘leapfrog’ against their key strategic competitor, the United States.

Let’s look at the facts:

• By 2022 spending on IoT within APAC (except Japan) will reach $381.8bn – Digital Realty
• Autonomous public transport is expected in Singapore by 2022 – Forbes

Smart Cities are Expanding

A smart city integrates components such as sensors with IoT networks to monitor and control infrastructure, devices and data, whilst improving the standard of living for inhabitants.

Smart cities are an indication of a city’s technology efforts and success, which is why global governments continue to compete to lead the Smart City Index, but face inevitable challenges such as increased data, cost and security.

The largest misconception is that smart cities are built as standardised models, but their efficiency is not solely dependent on infrastructure. It includes factors such as size, location, and climate. There is no one size fits all model, each smart city initiative within APAC is using a different mix of strategies, and technologies.

The key trends among APAC countries succeeding in faster IoT deployments is the advantage of easily accessible and low cost IoT sensors, hybrid multicloud architecture, and the second fastest growing interconnection bandwidth.

The Smart Data Centre

Enhancing smart cities means harder working, smarter data centres. Data centres need to evolve beyond current capabilities, accommodating the mass number of zettabytes being created and exchanged. Effectively meeting the demands of an ever-changing climate, whilst interconnecting seamlessly with IoT devices to provide inhabitants with a smooth transition between their home, work and social lives.

Reliability will be another crucial element, with service outages out of the question. Not only an inconvenience but potentially very dangerous should IoT develop further to include autonomous public transport solutions, an initiative already taking place in Singapore.

Future data centre infrastructure initiatives should be ready to support and prioritise mitigating outage risks.

Security Concerns

A key challenge concerning the rapid growth of IoT, smart cities and other technologies is security, 2019 alone saw IoT hacks surge to 300%.

A top concern for cybersecurity experts is that smart cities are an even more attractive target for hackers, as the scope for disruption is immense. Hackers gaining access could compromise critical city infrastructures such as water or electric supply. Data centres must work with public and private stakeholders to develop effective safeguards preventing such pervasive attacks with the potential to endanger lives. As a result, Gartner predicts that IoT security spending will reach $1 Billion by 2021.

The Future of the Data Centre

With the global market for IoT forecasted to reach $1.1 trillion by 2026, businesses, governments and global leaders must continue to think not just about the impact of this disruption but the opportunities to be leveraged from the rising demand of IoT solutions.

There is no doubt that countries will turn to data centres to support the smart cities of the future. But how we build and operate these data centres must be carefully planned, prepared to overcome the challenges and security risks they entail.

Want to find out more about the impact and capabilities of IoT trends in 2020 and beyond?

exploring IoT adoption in the APAC region

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