City Digital Platform

The Smart+Connected Digital Platform helps enable an open architecture that supports the integration of multiple solutions, applications, and sensors. The Cisco® solutions portfolio offers a new breed of robust and efficient urban services. Our solutions can effectively aggregate and analyze incoming data, provide correlated data as needed across domains—for example, flow density, emissions, and lighting data from cameras and sensors can be used by traffic and parking agencies and city planners. We work closely with a select ecosystem of partners to help enable these solutions and services to bring unique Cisco expertise in data security and scaling.

The platform:
● Collects and integrates sensor data from multiple sensors and sensor types
● Normalizes the aggregated data to a common data model to make comparisons more meaningful so that city operators can construct working digital models of their communities
● Exposes APIs through which local and global independent software vendors (ISVs) and city applications developers can plug in to the city management infrastructure and provide public service capabilities

The platform includes APIs for the following urban service domains:
● Outdoor lighting
● Parking
● Urban mobility
◦ Crowd
◦ Traffic
● Environment

Cisco Smart+Connected Digital Platform

This platform is delivered as a cloud-based service charged on a per-sensor or per-device basis. The platform collects data from city systems and third-party devices, using network connectivity—both wired and wireless—to transmit this data to the cloud. With the platform’s ability to capture data through standardized APIs, the specific protocols that each sensor uses are rendered irrelevant to the network. While some data analytics are conducted at the gathering point at the edge of the network to make data actionable more quickly, the platform stores the information securely and then makes it available through the APIs for third-party applications to further analyze, respond, package, and present it.

The interplay between all these connected elements is critical to creating a smart city digital infrastructure that is dynamic and responsive. The Connected Digital Platform bridges the network-connected devices, people, and processes from end to end with a broad framework approach.


Figure 1. Smart+Connected Digital Platform: What is Does

The Smart+Connected Digital Platform uses secure cloud technology to provide storage, virtualization, adaptability, and analytics to boost data value and transmission speeds while reducing costs.

Benefits include:
● Dynamic visibility into your community’s day-to-day activities, as well as the ability to perform data analytics quickly on the information
● Rich, up-to-date information so various departments and organizations can uniquely address situations quickly and efficiently
● Data analytics to enable efficient, effective scenario assessments that provide the basis for more reliable, long-term planning

Smart+Connected Digital Platform Architecture

The cloud architecture of the Connected Digital Platform simplifies the inclusion of additional solutions to address a wider range of urban service domains. The platform supports services across domains by allowing data to trigger alerts or actions in other domains based on the criteria established by and for your community. This functionality draws from the ability to combine data from many devices, regardless of their individual protocols, and communicate it securely while also tapping in to geospatial mapping for many important uses across your community. So, for example, by combining features from both parking and lighting domains, you can achieve features like parking space–specific lighting.


Figure 2 Software Architecture

Platform Technology

The digital platform leverages industry standard responsive web design technologies, platform centric native libraries, server side scripting languages, object relational database systems, distributed file system, markup languages to support platform core and extended functionalities.


Table 1. Platform Specifications for Core Components

Reference Applications

The digital platform provides three reference applications: a dashboard web app for urban operators, a mobile app for residents, visitors, etc., and an app for law enforcement officers.


Table 2. Deeper look at Reference Apps

Domain-Specific Language for Application Developers

The digital platform uses the Things Query Language (TQL), powered by Atomiton, an XML-based domain-specific language built for smart city and urban service applications. Its primary benefits are as follows:
● Ease of development: Application developers can model sensors and business logic with varying attributes to functionally align as unified APIs “north” of the platform. For example, an in-ground parking sensor, a wireless parking sensor, and a camera-based parking sensors can be unified through a parking API that allows for a unique parking model regardless of the different attributes of sensors provided be different vendors.
● Cross-domain use cases, possibilities, and revenue channels: Cross-domain use cases can create entirely new solutions to community and city challenges without requiring further infrastructure investments.
● Fast, efficient application development: A ground-up systems development life cycle (SDLC) is not needed because TQL does not require compilation and byte-code generation. Therefore, the application development lifecycle is fast and efficient, and its industry applicability is agnostic.
● Backward compatibility and shorter development work: TQL addresses current city requirements and scales to meet new and future challenges with little development work.

Article written by Petra Dalunde