Solving City Digital Transformation Visibility Gaps with NETSCOUT

How packet-based monitoring is essential to ensure high-quality user experiences

Aerial view of a metropolitan city.

In cities worldwide, urbanization is accelerating the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives. Citizens now rely on an array of digital resources and services daily for paying bills, seeking economic and emergency assistance, and staying informed on health and safety risks. To ensure high-quality user experiences and service availability, cities depend on a team of skilled IT professionals to build and manage robust infrastructures capable of supporting complex applications and diverse network topologies. However growing dependence on digital services, without the ability to detect performance issues due to visibility gaps throughout their hosting environments, can complicate troubleshooting.

Interconnected Services for Smart(er) Cities

One of the key technical facets of digital transformation for cities is the development of interconnected, citywide, centralized hubs for accessing various city services. At the heart of this transformation is the integration of digital technology into most aspects of city operations. However, the integration of services across different city departments can be a significant technical challenge, requiring robust API architectures and data sharing protocols. The goal is to harness insights from digital technology to create value for city employees and residents. This includes leveraging data analytics, unified communications, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to drive innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. These insights often inform urban planning, resource and service allocation, and policy decisions.

In smart cities, and those aspiring to be smart, IoT can create an even more pervasive matrix of interconnected infrastructure that improves services and quality of life. According to a recent report, the global smart cities market is projected to grow from $121 billion in annual revenue in 2023 to $301 billion by 2032, driven largely by the digitalization of infrastructure and the expanding popularity of 5G. IoT technologies, such as smart streetlights, environmental sensors, autonomous vehicles, including robotaxis, and others, collect data that can be uploaded to the cloud, analyzed, and acted upon, often in real time. This data can fuel further improvements in urban environments via digital transformation. For example, edge cloud–centric smart traffic management systems can use IoT data to alleviate traffic congestion.

The Cloud as an Experience, Not Just a Destination

Cities require robust, scalable infrastructure to support their digital transformation initiatives. Crucial to cities’ digital transformation success is the role of cloud migrations—transferring data, applications, and IT resources from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based platforms. The scalability and flexibility offered by cloud platforms are vital. Unlike traditional on-premises infrastructure, which can be challenging to scale efficiently, cloud services allow cities to seamlessly adjust their resources to scale with demand.

Scalability is particularly crucial for services that experience fluctuations in usage based on seasonal or event-driven variations. For instance, during a natural disaster, cloud infrastructure can be instantly scaled up to accommodate the surge in data and service requests to support public safety alerts. Cloud platforms support this by providing development and testing environments that can be provisioned and de-provisioned quickly. Additionally, cloud platforms offer tools and services that aid cities in achieving and maintaining compliance with relevant regulations, such as data protection laws and accessibility standards.

Because data stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, unified-communications-and-collaboration (UC&C) and unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) systems, which support remote work and remote sites, can enhance collaboration between city departments and be a strategic information asset in times of need. During a public health emergency, for example, cities can swiftly deploy new digital services to the cloud to disseminate critical information, collect data, and manage public health resources.

Navigating Digital Transformation Visibility Gaps to Ensure Reliability and Performance

City IT organizations face several technical challenges when it comes to delivering reliable digital services, which often result from visibility gaps (aka blind spots) as services span on-premises infrastructure, cloud environments, and edge locations. Rapid issue detection and resolution are critical to maintaining service quality but become more challenging in complex environments.

Monitoring transactions and user experiences across multiple components within distributed services carries inherent risks due to their distributed nature, one of which is the potential to create application dependencies that are difficult to identify if workloads are split between environments. As modern IT environments embrace virtualization to maximize resource efficiency and scalability, these complexities are amplified. Even the transient nature of microservices and containers can complicate monitoring and troubleshooting.

NETSCOUT’s nGenius Enterprise Performance Management provides a depth of visibility that is indispensable for city IT organizations seeking a comprehensive understanding of service interactions, performance, and throughput at the packet level. By continuously monitoring network and application performance, nGeniusONE can identify disruptions, degradations, performance and user experience problems, and deviations from baseline behavior in a single pane of glass. It does this in both legacy environments and digitally transformed environments, so you can implement migrations with greater success.

That ensures employees and residents can depend on their preferred essential services when they are most needed, reinforcing the pivotal role of city IT organizations in providing seamless digital experiences.

Read this case study to see how one large U.S. city, recognized as a global innovation leader, enhances user experiences and optimizes data centers and cloud performance using NETSCOUT.