IoT and How It Made Smart Cities Even More Interconnected
Thu, April 22, 2021

IoT and How It Made Smart Cities Even More Interconnected

Smart City 1.0 is composed of smart meters, intelligent lighting, sensor components, etc, explained David Howell of Silicon UK. / Photo by Vasin Leenanuruksa via 123rf

 

The next wave of modern urban infrastructure is just right around the corner, according to BlackBerry CTO Charles Eagan, a guest writer for IoT news platform IoT for All. As IoT becomes more prolific, we can expect to see local officials relying on this technology to improve our living, working, and traveling conditions. Road traffic and municipal services could be more “efficiently managed.” Noise levels and pollution would also be reduced thanks to IoT. 

We are also living in a world where autonomous vehicles communicate and interact with cloud services, and smart traffic signals and road sensors boost safety without human intervention. However, there are also risks associated with smart cities. The more interconnected a city, the more it is vulnerable to privacy and security issues. 

 

Examples of Smart Cities

Smart City 1.0 is composed of smart meters, intelligent lighting, sensor components, etc, explained David Howell of Silicon UK, a technology and business news website. These offered advanced control, but “little connectivity.” Smart City 2.0, on the other hand, significantly improves these systems to offer personalized services to people. Smart City 2.0 is already taking shape, said Deloitte, a multinational professional services network. 

A great example of Smart City 2.0 is Santander, Spain. The Spanish city has installed 20,000 sensors that are connected to the Pulse of the City app. It is used by citizens to provide feedback to the city developers and to access information. Using the data gathered from the citizens, the city can make adjustments to energy usage based on consumption. Residents also have access to real-time traffic information, enabling them to plan their journeys more efficiently.  

Another example would be Hull. It announced that it will be the UK’s first city to have an operating system. The platform, which was developed by Connexin and Cisco, utilizes IoT to create the CityOS. Councilor Daren Hale, who is the deputy leader of Hull City Council, stated that developing Hull as a smart city gives them the opportunity to collaborate with the public and private sector “to deliver real benefits to communities, businesses and visitors to Hull.” 

Founder and CEO of Connexin Furqan Alamgir commented that their platform will transform Hull into a “programmable city,” transitioning it from outdated siloed service driven technologies to a centralized platform to enhance service delivery and slash costs, as well as leveraging new technologies like IoT, AI, and machine learning. 

 

 

How IoT Makes Smart Cities Even Smarter

Smart cities gather volumes of data, using them to provide more efficient services to people. Hence, IoT becomes an essential foundation onto which these services are implemented. Let’s not forget that data needs to be analyzed. For instance, predictive analysis can aggregate large quantities of data to discern a pattern of usage among citizens and predict their behavior. This ensures that a city’s services are available on demand. 

How about for city dwellers? Citizens will not be troubled looking for a WiFi spot since the city itself will be a giant hotspot, delivering fast 5G connectivity “with very low latency.” It is possible “to do more with less” if digital intelligence is added to cities, as stated by McKinsey & Company, an American worldwide management consulting firm. Connected applications put transparent, real-time information into the users’ fingertips, prompting them to make better choices. These tools will also help boost social connectedness, reduce waste, save time, and prevent crime. Moreover, cities also become a more productive place to conduct business when they function efficiently. 

 

Smart cities gather volumes of data, using them to provide more efficient services to people. / Photo by Yanawut Suntornkij via 123rf

 

Making Security a Core Foundation of a Smart City

Smart cities must also keep security in mind. It becomes a critical aspect of a smart city when infrastructure services are connected and personal data is collected from citizens. GlobalPlatform Executive Director Kevin Gillick said that today’s connected objects do not just provide information, but they also use sensitive data to gather information and impact the physical world in critical ways. 

He added, “Implementations requiring the highest levels of assurance may require security certifications in line with relevant standards, whereas others may not.” It is important to note that the security level of each implementation highly depends on one’s risk analysis. To Gillick, “There is no one size fits all.” Even so, much work has been accomplished to help businesses implement trust in a “cost-effective and scalable way.” 

In an interview with James J. Nolan, Executive Vice President of Products at InterDigital, he said that IoT developers have resorted to a multi-faceted approach to uphold data security and provide secure IoT services. Developers formulated techniques to “preserve the integrity” of connected devices and sensors such as tamper-evidence checks via device monitoring and remote updates. 

There are also policies with regard to controlling user access to sensitive information. Other security measures may include the anonymization or filtering of personally identifiable information via IoT systems. While there are diverse ways to encrypt or safeguard data, there has to be a common framework of techniques and approaches to minimize the costs associated with data security in smart cities.  

Everything becomes more interconnected with IoT in smart cities. Smart cities can provide us with personalized services. Real-time information is also easily accessed thanks to IoT. However, city officials must ensure our data is protected from data breaches and cyberattacks. At the end of the day, security must go together with innovation.