A Smart City Government Has A Rather Bigger Role To Play

History proves that cities have always been the centre of civilization. Be it social or economic, the innovation and the developments taking place in cities have always found its reverberations reaching other parts of the globe. Today, urbanisation is spreading around the world at a tremendous rate. More than half of the global population lives in cities and the number is still counting. A developed city like London has seen a population rise from 1 to 8.5 million in 140 years while even developing cities like Mumbai, Lagos, Sao Paulo, and Istanbul have seen a minimum 200,000 people flowing in each year in the recent decades. Lagos has witnessed a staggering 600,000 people moving in per year with a rate of 70 people per hour.

While meeting the demands of the advancing population, a city government has a major role to play. From providing employment opportunities, quality education to reducing traffic congestion, and lowering taxes and crime rates, a city government has a number of responsibilities to look after which can be accomplished through an expansive approach. For a city to create a better society, the local government needs to act vigorously to create and sustain a friendly environment to live, work and play. That is the key to developing a ‘smart city’ environment.

A smart city creates a digital, physical and social infrastructure with an integrative approach, while also maintains the quality of service understanding the needs of the citizens. In the process to achieve this goal, it eliminates the unnecessary exploitation of natural and man-made resources to make the entire city operation more efficient. Furthermore, it also enhances the access to services and makes the processes more transparent. Hence, to create such smart cities, city governments are better positioned, as they are flexible and have the opportunity to act quickly, targeting the individual communities and serving them immediately.

Coming to the gist of this article, today cities are extensively using technology for a variety of operations, revolutionising the urban life. Here are some key areas where city governments can engage more inclusively while ensuring that the approach is solution-driven and not tech-driven.

Potential Areas Of Improvement

Smart technology has the potential to make improvements and solve the concrete urban problems. Forbes Technology Council has come up with a list of areas that the smart cities need to focus on with their tech investments. Have a look at the list given below:

  • Transportation – Smart cities require to concentrate on people movement and enhance those efficiencies.
  • IoT Lighting Control System – Focus needs to be on smart lightings that reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and maintenance costs and provide a safe environment with smart sensing tech and real-time data.
  • Storm Drains – Water runoff is one of the key factors a city needs to focus on. Because it can directly impact local drinking water. Smart cities should attempt to deploy smart drainage systems and filtration that could substantially improve the living conditions.
  • Sustainable Energy – The rising demands and development in smart cities will lead to more consumption of energy. Hence, smart cities require to create sustainable sources of energy by using innovative ideas.
  • Universal High-Speed Internet – It can be seen that the major cities around the world have better internet speeds than the low-income areas. Governments can bridge this gap through law.
  • Affordability And Safety – Affordability and safety should be the key priorities for every city. Smart cities should focus on problems like homelessness that is today one of the key problems some of the U.S cities are suffering from.
  • Integration And Partnership With Tech Companies – Government leaders should collaborate with tech companies to receive the best recommendations and platforms that can facilitate cities to deploy technologies through the best possible approach.
  • Prioritising Areas Of Change – City governments should attempt to create the smart city environment considering the areas that need to be prioritised for integration and change as they move from the start to finish.
  • Data Security – Security is the most important aspect of smart cities. City governments need to ensure that the entire city data is secure and not vulnerable to breach.
  • Avoiding Silos – Government leaders should collaborate with tech companies that ensure prevention of silos.

Understanding The Power Of Smart City Data

Smart Solutions Adopted by City Government For Data Security Smart city data is the lifeblood of smart solutions and can do a lot more than we can possibly imagine. Data has the power to address the real needs of citizens. The intuitive design incorporated in data capturing systems, allows cities to understand the bigger picture of the city well and understand the city users needs more clearly while learning their behavioural patterns that are recurrent.

Let us take an example to understand the power of data. Smart city technology holds good for land use planning that is a vital function in every city. Land use planning can become much smarter as smart city technologies provide data that is accurate and in real-time. Data sets from planning departments, engineering and transportation could be combined into one single platform, which provides all the decision-makers with an equal access to the same data, significantly improving the land use planning. Uber has already set an example in this area. It recently launched a website called ‘Uber Movement’ that enables city leaders and urban planners to make informed decisions using the Uber’s data. An innovative way of using data for city planning.

Rotterdam, a major port city in the Netherlands has demonstrated another good example of leveraging smart city technology. The municipality of Rotterdam is working on creating a 3D model that will help the city imbibe the real smartness. When fully developed, the model will be utilised for simulation goals, urban planning and design, city management, analysis, and city marketing. Of course, the 3D model will gather the city data and provide a smart solution customised to specific requirements. It will be able to solve questions like ‘how does the sound travel through the city of Rotterdam, ‘how far do the roots of trees reach’, ‘to what depth are underground containers positioned’, and much more. Using a simulation, potential implications for new construction plans will be easy to conceive. Going forward, the city of Rotterdam has future plans to upgrade the model and make it available for use by 2020. The advanced version will be able to provide information like real-time data on traffic, present water levels, and the filling capacity of garbage bins.

Currently, the 3D model is able to provide insights into planned projects and the consequences of the projects, helping the city government to make more comprehensive city planning choosing the better options.

The 3D model being developed by Rotterdam is a state-of-the-art technology that shows how the city data and the innovative ways of using and implementing its results can lead to far-reaching improvements.

Refrence : www.smartcity.press

Is The Future On Smart City Roads Safe With Connected Cars?

According to Gartner predictions, the number of connected vehicles on the road will reach a quarter billion by 2020. This will make a roadway for new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities. The next five years will witness a dramatic rise in the number of vehicles that will be equipped with automated capabilities. Out of this number, roughly 60-75% will be able to consume, create and share web-based data, ultimately showing the world the biggest and the smartest element of the Internet of Things – the connected vehicles.

But how is all this going to happen? Do you know that connected cars can do a lot more than just drive you safely to your destination? Connected cars are nothing but robots on wheels ready to communicate and listen to your commands. There is much more to know about these sophisticated smart vehicles. So before you own a connected car in future, it is important that you know all about its ins and outs so that you are as smart as your vehicle.

The Capabilities Of A Connected Car

Connected cars are tens or even hundreds of computers integrated into a single unit. We know that these sophisticated cars can talk to other cars, exchange data and alert drivers to potential collisions. But even more, they can talk and connect to every single sensor that is embedded along the route. These sensors could be the ones that are installed at bus stops, signboards, traffic signal and those which relay real-time traffic updates and rerouting alerts. Additionally, they can even talk to your home, office and all the smart devices that you own, serving as a digital assistant that collects information you require throughout the day.

However, to perform all the functions, connected vehicles need the cloud. Because they need massive amounts of data that can be gathered through the cloud. The modern automobiles are already enabled with speedy processing power. As about 100 million lines of software code are required to run a typical luxury vehicle. In case of connected cars the amount of data flowing to and fro from them will move at rocket speed and so they will demand cloud storage capabilities and scalability.

With the Cloud’s ability for building and developing apps and programs that are used by cars, it reveals that connected cars will be able to access your apps, devices, and preferences allowing the car to tailor your driving experience. For example, your car can check the current weather, your to-do-list from the calendar to enable you to plan your route for the day. If you are behind the schedule, it may reroute your way eliminating the traffic-prone areas.

The use of connected cars on roads will help smart cities to reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety. While driving connected cars will automatically transmit data including speed, position, and direction and send alerts to other cars if a crash is close at hand.

This vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication is already in its inception in the US Department of transportation that plans to enable V2V communication. In the meantime, smart cities are exploring ways to make the connected cars the centre of energy efficient traffic management systems.

Smart cities have begun to see what connected cars could bring to the future. The automobile industry is witnessing a revolutionary change of which the Cloud is one of the key technological forces driving the revolution.

Connected Cars Can Lie, Disrupting The Entire Traffic Management System

How Connected Cars Can Disrupt Traffic Management System?The Michigan Traffic Laboratory at the University of Michigan and the RobustNet Research Group are working on ensuring that the connected cars of tomorrow are secure and protected from vulnerabilities. Until now their research has shown that connected cars are comparatively easy to trick. A single car that is transmitting false data could lead to massive traffic jams and several cars crash shutting down the entire traffic system. The major concern is that, during the research, it was found that the weakness is not in the inherent communication technology but in the algorithms used to manage the traffic flow.

Algorithms are used to feed in a variety of inputs such as how many vehicles are present in a particular location around an intersection which helps in reducing the collective delay at traffic junctions.

One of the traffic control algorithm nicknamed ‘I-SIG’ assumes the inputs it receives are honest which is not a safe assumption. The hardware and software in the connected cars can be altered by the car’s diagnostic ports or the wireless system. For example, if an attacker wants to compromise the I-SIG system he could do it simply by hacking his own car. He could drive to a target intersection and park nearby.

The research shows that when the attacker parks the car he could tap into two weaknesses in the algorithm that controls the traffic lights. He could extend the time of the green and red lights in a particular lane.

In the first vulnerability, the research found that the attacker could make the car to transmit false data that her car will be joining the line of traffic late. With this, the algorithm will extend the green light for that car (that is not passing) and correspondingly extend the red light for other lanes making the cars to wait longer than needed.

Secondly, the I-SIG algorithm is developed with the fact that all cars are unable to communicate. Hence, the second weakness lies in the fact that the algorithm assumes the real-time location and speed of non-communicating vehicles by analysing the driving patterns of the connected vehicles. So, if a connected car reports that it is waiting a long distance back from an intersection, the algorithm will infer there is a long line of non-communicating cars ahead of it. Ultimately it will adjust the traffic lights according to the false data it has gathered.

Impact Of The False Data And Algorithmic Assumptions

The weaknesses highlighted by the research could be used by people who just want to commute faster. It could be used by criminals who might seek to adjust the traffic lights to ease their way from the crime scene or an approaching police vehicle.

This could also result in financial or political threats where a group of attackers shut down the key intersections in a city and force a ransom payment.

Therefore to prevent such dangerous situations transportation sector and the cybersecurity field need to collaborate to ensure that efforts are made to protect the safety and the security of the traffic management system including the connected cars.

According to the research, algorithms like the I-SIG system should validate the data they receive from the connected cars prior to using it. For this, road sensors could be used across the smart cities to actually double-check the truthfulness of the data.

The initial phase of this research on the security issues in the smart transportation of the future aims at finding out more about the weaknesses and the ways to protect the entire traffic management systems of which road infrastructure, drivers, and cars are the crucial elements.

The connected cars pave the way to a host of opportunities for new products and services and enhanced business efficiency. But before proceeding, organisations and individuals need to consider the privacy and security risks that are involved.

We are positive that new security standards and safety practices will emerge in the automobiles industry in the years to come. But that may take years to come alive before they find their way into connected vehicles.

Refrence : www.smartcity.press

Making smart cities cyber-secure

A smart city must also be a safe city, with a good disaster response system. V Rishi Kumar reports With the implementation of the Smart Cities Mission moving forward in a phased manner and technology forming the backbone of smart cities’ architecture and governance, one of the major challenges identified for the future is cyber security.

“There cannot be a smart city before it being a safe city, with a good disaster-response system,” says Claudio Simao, Chief Technology Officer, Hexagon AG, a Sweden-based leading solutions provider for smart cities. His observation sums up the importance of making the upcoming 100 Smart Cities under the National Mission secure physically and in the cyber world.

Threatening landscape?

In fact, integrated technologies assist in efficient delivery of services and there is optimism about their constructive impact on our cities.

However, the more technology you use, the higher the threat of it being compromised. Cyber attacks, which earlier targeted data centres, are now directed towards numerous systems and devices spread across a smart city. A single intrusion may leave the entire smart city network compromised.

Hence, connected IoT (internet of things) devices need to be protected, including software, hardware and data. Smart cities would need to be geared towards insulating huge networks that are bound to become the nerves of the city.

Says NSN Murty, PWC Partner, Smart Cities, “Technology forms the core of the Smart Cities Mission. If that is progressing well, we are on the right track. Sensitising our cities on how to use technology for effective governance is the first step to achieve the end goal.”

In a report brought out by PWC, in association with Data Security Council of India, Rama Vedashree, CEO of DSCI, notes, “While the Smart City initiative focusses on sustainable development of our cities and harnessing digital technologies for an integrated citizen-services delivery, it demands a strong focus on cyber security.”

“Globally, countries have deployed technologies and controls to avoid loss of data, network lock-down and stalling of critical services that can otherwise cripple a city’s functioning. We also need to take appropriate measures to create cyber-secure smart cities……” she adds.

The Indian Smart City technology architecture is based on four logical layers of sensors, communication, data and application layers. The technology across these four layers works in an integrated manner to deliver smart city services.

However, the ground analysis of a few smart cities suggests that the technology powering them is prone to vulnerabilities, which can lead to potential social, health, economic and reputational risks.

The potential for challenges, lack of granular guidelines and regulations and India-specific issues add to the complexity of the risk landscape for Indian smart cities.

Enhanced budget

The significance of the Smart Cities Mission can be judged from the fact that its allocation was doubled during Budget 2018-19 to Rs.2.04 lakh crore.

“All hundred cities have been declared and now we are beginning to see physical manifestation of the city strategy proposals on the ground. Cities took some time to adapt and understand the novel design of the mission given its governance structure, funding mechanisms and convergence with other urban missions,” Murty says.

However, while smart cities promise an improved quality of life for which they intend to utilise technology, the threat vulnerability of its use must be factored in. This has been recognised globally since there are examples of cities being brought to a halt because technology and data systems were compromised.

The Smart Cities Mission in India could also face such challenges throughout the mission process. The fact that there is no universally accepted definition of a ‘smart city’ is possibly what allows such cities around the world to set their own agenda while laying down the guidelines for their initiatives.

Smart cities, therefore, have the freedom to develop their own strategies based on local factors like demographics, geography, economy, and heritage, among others. This makes sense because what works in one city may not work for another — so what is perfect for Barcelona may not be effective in Varanasi.

Mission’s progress so far

Going back to how India has progressed so far in the implementation of smart cities, Murty feels we need to be conscious of the fact that the last nine out of 100 smart cities were declared in January 2018.

It is unrealistic to expect all smart cities to be at the same level.

“Cities like Bhopal, Nagpur, Surat, Vadodara, Pune have done extremely well in executing their projects.

The cities declared in later rounds need to leverage knowledge and learnings from these cities to hit the ground running.

Eighty-seven out of 100 cities have appointed project management consultants, so we can expect them to roll out projects very soon,” he says.

Pratap Padode, Founder Director, Smart Cities Council of India, points out that the Mission has completed three years and is work in progress. Currently, works worth Rs.8,000 crore have been completed and 1,200 projects costing Rs.50,000 crore tendered. Also, 98 projects worth Rs.6,000 crore are under implementation under public-private partnership mode. Credit rating has been completed for 412 cities, of which 155 cities have proven to be investment grade.

Currently, Padode says “Eleven Integrated Control and Command Centres are installed at Ahmedabad, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Nagpur and Pune, among others. Twenty-one cities have called for tenders for ICCC. CCTV installations are helping cities get cleaner due to monitoring and technology is being deployed in road construction, property tax management, water management and waste management.”

The last, he feels, is a big challenge, which is being sought to be addressed by ‘waste to energy’ plant proposals.

One pole, many uses

Sridhar Gadhi, CEO of Quantela Inc, a technology solutions provider who offers artificial intelligence-based solutions for over 40 cities globally, gives an example of smart infrastructure — a smart pole that combines the benefits of LED lighting, Wi-Fi connection, surveillance cameras and mobile connectivity.

He too flags the security aspects over all else. “It is the right time now to work on security aspects as protection of digital assets will become central to upcoming cities,” he emphasises.

And that is what is happening. From merely developing smart cities, the focus is shifting to cyber-secure cities with a robust framework.

Source:The Hindu