Through the stakeholder survey we interviewed 76 people coming from IT companies, cities, education and research centres, application developers and service providers as show in the pie chart below. It is worth mentioning that over 70% of the respondents were familiar to cloud computing and IoT concepts.
In the table below we see how the respondents have ranked, according to the perceived importance (from “very important” = 4 to “indifferent” = 1), a set of aims the ClouT team has identified for the smart city applications. The list of aims was chosen according to a set of objectives smart cities have and that ClouT supports in their fulfilment. It was interesting to see that the great majority – from a minimum of 81% to a maximum 93% – of the people who provided replies considered the aims proposed as “important” or “very important” .
As we can see “improve the quality of life” comes out to be considered, by survey participants, as the first aim for a smart city application followed closely by “support citizens concerns” showing how a lot of focus is at the moment given to citizens and their well being. Ranked in third place, but still very close to the first two, is “help save costs”. These three elements are very interesting for ClouT as they perfectly fit the project objectives. In fact, one of the concepts that lies behind the use of cloud technologies in the ClouT project in combination with IoT, is to enable cities to offer smarter services to its citizens which will improve their quality of life and at the same time lower costs municipalities have to deal with. Cost savings are intended both for those municipalities which have already adopted other technologies different from cloud and which prove to be more expensive and for small municipalities which gain the opportunity to offer smart services with lower costs.
Another interesting result comes out when we asked participants to rate how certain technologies and IT solutions would, in their opinion, support the future IoT. It was positively welcomed by the project team that interest was shown towards all the items identified with a percentage of “very useful” and “useful” which ranges from 75%, obtained by “Transform social network feeds as valuable data sources”, to a maximum of 94.4 % of respondents, obtained by “big data management”.
In the following chart we show the ranking obtained by weighing each reply given by respondents. At a first sight we can see how all the items are very close in the ranking. This makes us conclude that not much difference was perceived by respondents regarding the usefulness of each item proposed. This is a positive result for ClouT as the question was formulated taking into consideration the technologies and solutions ClouT aims to provide for smarter cities.
If we have a look at the ranking obtained, in the first places we find “easier access to city resources” followed closely by “big data management” and “composition and aggregation of different IoT resources”, as we can see in the following graph. This result is in line with ClouT main objectives and activities which include:
- the development of a platform and tools that support the easy use of data coming from different sensors together with the opportunity to integrate and aggregate it to produce new, not otherwise, available resources and
- the use of cloud technologies to meet the increasing needs of processing large amounts of data in quasi real time.
Finally, by looking at the replies given to the open answers we would like to mention the result related to the question on the main barriers that prevent Smart City Applications. The majority of respondents identified: the costs that need to be faced and the lack of knowledge on the value and usefulness of the applications both from the point of view of the citizens and the local administration.