Cities are where people live!
This was the opening statement made by Francisco Jariego, Director of Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), during the Smart City Expo & World Congress hosted in Barcelona, 2014. Citizen’s needs are the ones paving the road to deploy the future Smart Cities, with infrastructure fitted to adapt to its citizen needs, configurable to enrich the set of services it can provide, as pointed out David Johera, Commercial Director of Wonderware, cities should be envisioned as a resource, changeable to adapt and react to its present landscape and citizen requirements, for example to adapt the garbage collection schedule on a given area, manage its water irrigation network to avoid wasting water, build mobility ecosystems and route traffic efficiently: improve the city quality life.
But Cities have also the obligation to become smarter in order to be efficient, as pointed by Michael Jansen from Cityzenith, a city needs to share its own resources and information, and effectively use the collected data and transform it into useful and comprehensive information, easily shareable between government entities and even with its citizens, to improve the strategies and decisions towards enforcing policies that enrich the City itself.
In any case targeting citizen needs also means dealing with citizen’s concerns, such as privacy and security. Nowadays, with the increasing number of smart-phones and people-driven applications, not all information sources are hardware: people, inadvertently or willingly, are sensors too. IoT is not new to the industrial world; not so many years ago the lack of standards was a problem on how to integrate networks and services safely and securely. Now, even with the market driving the standardization efforts, the problem is still there, augmented by the proliferation of IoT applications, products and platforms, which has brought into our houses connected toothbrushes, air quality sensors, smart wearables and smart appliances … and Cities now investing in ubiquitously collecting data from our surroundings. This opens more questions on the privacy and security of the data users, willingly or inadvertently, share while platforms and services are fragmented into isolated silos, governed by its own standards.
Still lot of work to do, so, but fortunately the RERUM project is progressing specifically in the privacy and security part, towards to an open and standard-based middleware that will cover this need very soon … stay tuned.