Cloud computing has emerged during the last years as a disruptive model, with the ability to transform IT organisations, helping them to become more responsive and agile than ever before. Due to its multiple and significant benefits, cloud computing can particularly help complex organisations such as cities run more efficiently, providing new opportunities and opening up new business models.
Cloud computing characteristics are particularly interesting in supporting the provision of Smart City applications provided to citizens by governmental authorities but the migration process is not always a smooth procedure. Several issues may arise when public sector organisations consider transitioning to cloud computing. Some prominent concerns are related to assuring control of ICT systems by public managers and quality of service, ownership and liability issues, security and privacy, trust in reliability and resilience of infrastructures and services, interoperability and standards, potential dependencies with vendors, regulation, risk management, governance and culture.
According the STORM CLOUDS methodology, the migration process for cities consists of a four stages process. These stages include actions regarding (a) the selection of applications / services to be migrated to the cloud, (b) addressing technical or procedural challenges, (c) migration to the preproduction cloud and (d) moving applications to the production cloud. During this procedure, the involvement of a number of stakeholders was essential not only as a methodological requirement but also due to the fact that stakeholders’ involvement would produce helpful feedback for the overall process to be closer to citizens and public employees.
The Thessaloniki case
In the case of Thessaloniki the whole migration process started with the user-driven dynamics for stakeholder/service selection. The municipality of Thessaloniki in the beginning organised general meetings with stakeholders and municipal services and later, training sessions and validation sessions with end users as well as dissemination activities. During these meetings the pilot partners distributed informative materials about the overall project and leaflets including the different candidates for migration. The municipality was particularly keen to select applications related to entrepreneurship and quality of life in the city. External stakeholders also selected applications for tourism promotion of the city.
Aiming to become an outstanding tourism destination, to support the local economy and to improve its citizen’s quality of life through leading technologies, City of Thessaloniki and selected stakeholders decided from the very beginning of the project to cloudify applications that are related to entrepreneurship and quality of life in the city of Thessaloniki.
The selected applications
Cloud-based Services Portfolio for Thessaloniki includes the following applications:
Improve My City: Enables the citizens to report non-emergency local problems such as potholes, illegal trash dumping, faulty street lights, etc., through web, Android and iOS applications.
Cloudfunding: Supports local communities to collect money for social and charitable purposes.
City Branding: Promotes the identity of the city using virtual tours while connects the commons with local shops and services providers.
Virtual Mall: Enables every commercial enterprise located in the city center to create its own virtual shop
Regarding the monitoring process, a four dimensional group of indicators was established incorporating supply, demand, dissemination and level of validation. Although four applications were selected to migrate to the cloud, only the Virtual City Mall was released early enough to complete the whole validation cycle, resulting in a complete dataset of monitoring indicator values.
Thessaloniki’s cloud services are online
Improve my city
This post is based on STORM CLOUDS’ documents (reports and deliverables) and the paper:
Panori A, González-Quel A, Tavares M, et al. 2016, Migration of applications to the Cloud: a user-driven approach. Jour-nal of Smart Cities, vol.2(1): 41–52.
For further reading
Kakderi C, Komninos N and Tsarchopoulos P, 2016, Smart cities and cloud computing: lessons from the STORM CLOUDS experiment. Journal of Smart Cities, vol.2(1): 4–13 62-344-1-pb
Panori A, González-Quel A, Tavares M, et al. 2016, Migration of applications to the Cloud: a user-driven approach. Jour-nal of Smart Cities, vol.2(1): 41–52 64-334-1-pb
Giannakoulias A, 2016, Cloud computing security: protecting cloud-based smart city applications. Journal of Smart Cities, vol.2(1): 66–77 60-338-1-pb