By Magda Taczanowska, Public Sector Lead at Microsoft in Poland
Smart cities are more than just a high-tech vision of the future, there are numerous solutions currently being implemented in Poland. The residents contact center in Wroclaw, video consultations for cardiac diagnosis at the Silesian Center for Heart Diseases, the School in the Cloud in Ząbki near Warsaw or assisting the deaf in Bolesławiec and Wrocław city offices – these are only a few examples of how technology can improve residents’ quality of life on a variety of levels.
According to a United Nations forecast, by 2050, urban areas will be home to 66 percent of the world’s population. Between 2010 and 2025, the 600 largest cities in the world will generate nearly two thirds of global GDP. This implies the need for constant modernization and new ways of enhancing living conditions in urban spaces.
The dynamic development of modern technology provides a myriad of new possibilities which can be implemented to meet the diverse needs of citizens and city leaders. At the same time, it is important to adjust the scale of the solutions in order to be able to achieve more with less. As a result, cities implementing “smart” solutions are able to compete more effectively on the global market, promote civic engagement, and foster economic, social and environmental sustainability.
In order to make cities smarter, the Internet and dedicated computer systems are increasingly used in key areas such as communications, energy, finance and civic services. In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 8 ZB of data in the world, three times more than in 2011. At the same time, we are witness to the constant growth in the popularity and importance of mobile devices (globally, device manufacturers have sold 11.6 percent more smartphones compared to 2014), which drives the need to accommodate growing network traffic (by the end of 2020, 3.7 billion subscribers around the world will be using fast LTE internet services).
This is why the security data stored online or in the cloud becomes critical. To counter threats, it is necessary to realize the need for organizational transformation, from changing user habits, through to basic processes such as software updates and finding trusted vendors who are able to provide the best security – e.g. through complete and integrated cloud platforms.
To properly implement the smart city strategy, Poland must adhere to the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy. This means that local governments have to look for trusted partners, who will be able to ensure the security and appropriate integration of their services. This is extremely important, especially when faced with increasing threats to digital city spaces. With secure IT solutions, cities will be able to pursue the interests and security of their citizens more efficiently and effectively. u