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What makes smart city solutions work?

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Business intelligence (BI) and analytics are central to smart city initiatives. These solutions are what puts the “smart” in smart cities and cities need to have an independent assessment of which vendors can provide the best solution for their needs.
To support this effort, IDC Government Insights has announced the availability of a new report, “IDC MarketScape: Wordlwide Smart Cities Business Analytics Software 2015 Vendor Assessment”. The scope of this report is limited to business intelligence and analytic tools and performance management and analytic applications. Vendors featured include IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, SAS, and Tableau.
The new report brings to light two important factors about vendors in this space:
* This is the short list of global Smart City business analytics software vendors. The vendors studied for this IDC MarketScape are among the few business analytics vendors that have specific offerings geared towards Smart Cities and that are addressing the most important characteristics for smart cities.
* There is a tight field of leaders. There is contention in the Leaders category based primarily on capabilities.
According to Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, research director for IDC’s global Smart Cities practice: “The vendors studied for this IDC MarketScape are among the few business analytics vendors that have specific offerings geared towards Smart Cities and are addressing the most important characteristics for smart cities. This report will help city decision-makers understand their options more fully.”
Those important characteristics include:
* Ease and speed of analysis/ self-service;
* Strength of analytics;
* Flexible delivery models;
* Ability to share data; and
* Innovation and/ or Co-innovation,
According to IDC, the amount of data that is created each year is expected to grow from 4.4 zettabytes in 2013 to 44 zettabytes Рor 44 trillion gigabytes Рin just five years, a growth of 40% per year. (Source:  EMC Digital Universe Study, research and analysis by IDC, May 2014) Much of this growth is driven by connected devices and, more specifically, mobile connected devices (RFID, smart cards, body cams, GPS).
Government organisations will need to analyse data created from government systems as well as from outside government. Social media, information from mobile apps and smartphones will become more and more useful to cities as they work on managing traffic, crime, events etc.
This data growth has implications on what it will mean to be truly “smart”. Software will be needed more than ever to cull through data and turn it in to useful and actionable information. From the IDC Government Insights Smart City MaturityScape Benchmark survey, only one-third of state and local organizations agree that their data is currently “actionable”, reinforcing the point that analytics tools are key to making use of data which is a cornerstone of delivering good citizen services and improving operational efficiency.
IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys and the input of a review board of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions within the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behaviour and capability.