How cloud computing can unlock city innovation

Cities are generally slower to embrace emerging technologies to enable innovation than other sectors of the economy because these essential services don’t invite the kind of experimentation and risk-taking that is seen in the private sector.

The growing realization is that emerging technologies coupled with innovative processes can lower the cost of operations, deliver better community experiences, and automate and accelerate many services.

Cloud computing is beginning to deliver on the promise of positive change with “everything as a service” or XaaS.

XaaS cloud services include software applications, storage and identity management, development platforms, communication suites, artificial intelligence, and much more. XaaS provides flexibility, little or no maintenance, peace of mind with built-in disaster recovery, reduced capital expenses and implementation timelines, freed up staff, and better financial terms. Xaas is a core driver of digital transformation and is supporting smart city initiatives across the country.

On the flip side, XaaS means losing some level of control in an architecture in which vendor infrastructure is designed to deliver consistent experiences on the same scale to all users who receive the same services. Additionally, discontinuing services from one vendor to another can present difficulties in moving data smoothly. Lastly, cities are required to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, meaning that some data must be handled in certain ways.

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