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Smart Citizen Need to trust the Internet of Things in Smart Cities

By Bettina Tratz-Ryan | November 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

Don’t you sometimes wish you had services that would be tailored to your specific needs for a very specific situation? Just think about how people live in communities and cities, with all their unique characteristics as parents, elderly, businesses, workers, children, people with disabilities, and so on. This diversity makes a city a unique place to be in, with social opportunity, economic prosperity and the right for a sustainable environment. Those objectives are key pillars in every smart city initiative. But how can we get from vision to execution?

In order to move from an interconnected digital community to contextualized and smart environment, communities and cities need to have knowledge and information about preferences and requirements of their citizens. The data and information can be collected and processed through a variety of devices, mobile and fixed sensors, practically the Internet of Things which will shape smart cities. That data provides valuable insights into patterns, preferences and the service requirements of people and businesses that directly or indirectly will use smart guidance models proposed by the semantic analysis of that data in the first place. And citizens and consumers also collect and socialize information that can complement or — in some cases — be even more valuable than information collected through infrastructure.  This begs the question on how to bestow the trust in a smart city system that is based on business intelligence analytics and what business model makes sense. The business model for safety and trust will be key for the IoT’s data management. It is not appropriate to utilize and exploit information on senior citizens and children for commercial models, but applying a guidance system in a shopping mall or airports would be. Therefore, the IoT will include a trust service broker model which applies a methodology of privacy, security, and policy to the new service environments. This would mean that the collected data will be managed in distributed trust zones through hubs and gateways that apply policy of data management to the individual user scenario.  The EyeHub pilot project defines smart and safe campuses through the  Internet of Things which is interestingly thought-provoking by applying a fully secured interactive platform into the university campus with a sophisticated user defined security application. The personalized security preferences are managed by a gatekeeper and through the hubs. Taking the concept of EyeHub further, sensitive data of senior citizens, or people with disability could be shared so that traffic signals, public service announcements and location services would be “translated” to the requirements of the seniors in real time. On the commercial side, logistics organizations, delivery services, transportation services between harbors, warehousing and trading centers can all use transit information domains, GIS or traffic patterns to determine efficient routing through urban centers for their specific goods and services.

The IoT will be the “glue” in mapping smart information and people together.  And while the industry has seen its potential in operations and infrastructure, the experience to manage contextual value that recognizes the unique characteristics of people remain a challenge for the execution of smart cities today.

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