Creating Smart Cities using data and IoT technology

October 1, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the use (and even necessity) of collecting data en masse – something that proponents of Smart Cities have been pushing for years. Of course, there are limits to the usefulness of simply collecting any and all kinds of data, and consequences to storing and managing such an amount of information. As Smart Cities continue to develop around the world, it is imperative to ensure that any data collected is relevant, useful, and secured.

This data collection in cities will be key to emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and other transportation, climate solutions and citizens’ safety. Without data on pedestrian and commuter habits, for example, technologies in these three categories cannot accurately account and prepare for the number of users in an updated transportation system, the amount of emissions or the potential actions pedestrians may take when walking down the street.

The possibilities for Smart Cities are endless, and are powered by the information we learn from cities today. However, without proper storage and management of this data, the entire endeavour may increase certain dangers rather than improve urban life.

For example, data collected about our current transportation and commuting habits is being used to shape the transport industry of tomorrow, including updated bus and train systems and connected and autonomous vehicles. This data collection is powered by machine-to-machine communication, where two IoT devices share data. Future technologies, like autonomous vehicles, will work similarly, with a centralised authority telling the vehicle when to start and stop. If these communications are intercepted or hijacked, the results will not only be costly and damaging, but potentially fatal.

As Smart Cities continue to develop and the technology of the future continues to emerge as a result, all parties involved must ensure that their methods, devices and communications are secure from inception to endpoint. Without this, the promise of Smart Cities may never reach its potential – and instead leave its citizens with simply a handful of data instead.

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