NEC @ MWC14: “Smart cities” hold the key to enhancing citizens’ lives and cutting costs

nec-logo-largeWritten by Jean-Matthias Bohli, Senior Researcher at NEC Laboratories Europe

By 2030, 5 billion people — around 60% of the world’s population — will live in cities, compared with 3.6 billion today, turbocharging the world’s economic growth.

City leaders in developing nations must cope with urbanisation on an unprecedented scale, while those in developed ones wrestle with aging infrastructures and populations as well as stretched budgets. All are fighting to secure or maintain the competitiveness of their cities, the livelihoods and safety of their citizens while minimising our impact on the environment.

Smart city solutions hold the key to offering citizens a better quality of life by cutting wastage, boosting productivity and reducing costs. Through intelligently-connected infrastructure,buildings, cars and people – combined with real-time data analytics and response solutions – cities can plan and deliver services more cost-effectively. These insights can also help citizens to use services more efficiently, from reducing car emissions to lowering energy bills.

Smart cities solutions span many different sectors, including transportation; public safety and security; energy (smart grid and smart metering) and water and waste management. NEC is contributing to many smart city initiatives across Europe – and on a global basis – with its M2M (Machine to Machine) sensors, big data analytics engine and data visualisation solutions for city operation centres.

For example, NEC has been developing smart traffic solutions from a research idea into mass-market-ready components for over a decade through the Car2Car Communication Consortium and many national and European projects. This will enable cars to alert drivers about vehicles ahead of them at blind intersections, emergency braking situations or an approaching traffic jam. Cities will be able to schedule traffic lights according to demand, informing drivers about the optimal safe speed to get through a green light and the real-time availability of parking spaces.

At the same time, we’re working on the EU-backed Smart Santander project, providing the operation centre technologies that are used to visualise data in an easy-to-understand format from 20,000 sensors and cameras that are being used to manage traffic congestion, parking and public transport, street lighting, refuse collection services, pollution and park irrigation systems. Santander is already saving around 25% on its electricity bills by switching off street lighting when ambient light levels are high and saving 20% on its refuse service costs with just-in-time collections when the bins are reaching capacity. It expects to reduce emissions from traffic congestion by up to 30%.

Another key strand of research involves a multi-year partnership between NEC and Imperial College in the UK on water pipe leak detection. Demand for water is expected to increase by 40% by 2030 according to the European Environment Agency. Yet according to many estimates as between 20% and 40% of water is wasted due to leaks. NEC’s piezoelectric sensors – integrated into pipes, pumps and the soil – can detect minute vibrations enabling repairs to be carried out quickly. They use an improved ceramic material, developed by NEC, and a new magnification mechanisation that enables the conversion of the waveforms into electrical signals. The sensors can even detect a single drop of water landing on a sheet of glass.

Security and trust will be critical to the success of these smart city solutions and their acceptance by the citizens. It is essential to conduct ongoing R&D to bring solutions to market that ensure they operate securely and the data and information involved is protected. Innovations are needed to reduce the risk of data theft that can lead to identity fraud and financial damage and potential disruption to operation of public infrastructure by malicious and highly determined hackers who are always looking for new ways to exploit IT systems. For these reasons, NEC is heavily involved in SMARTIE (SMArter ciTIEs data management), an EU project that aims to create a secure platform that protects M2M sensors and devices and the processing and storage infrastructure, to ultimately protect the integrity and privacy of smart city data.

NEC is working on new remote attestation mechanisms as part of this project to protect low cost M2M devices without the need of a bulky and expensive TPM (Trusted Platform Module) which carries a high communication overhead both in terms of the volume of data transmitted and number of interaction rounds. The focus is on developing inexpensive, compact hardware anchors or taking a purely software-based approach to attestation. A second focus is on the processing of encrypted data to realise smart services while protecting data integrity and privacy. The SMARTIE solutions will be tested in smart traffic, smart public transport and smart energy demonstrators in the cities Frankfurt/Oder in Germany, Novi Sad in Serbia and Murcia in Spain.

It is clear that the raft of new smart city technologies coming onto the market have huge potential to address a wide range of social, environmental and economic governmental goals. Cities can play a role in leading and facilitating collaboration between industry, academia and citizens to deliver smart city solutions. They should look for ways to attract capital and create organisational structures which have the authority and capacity to deliver innovative programmes.

Large scale trials of whole systems should be implemented with a focus on business models and deployment, rather than just the technology. Those city administrators that take these steps will reap the greatest benefits from innovative smart city technologies over a relatively short time-frame and long into the future.

Jean-Matthias Bohli, Senior Researcher at NEC Laboratories Europe

Jens-Matthias Bohli is a Senior Researcher at NEC Laboratories Europe and a specialist in cryptography, computer networks, cyber security and computational methods. He holds a PhD in Computing from Kahlsruhe University and has previously worked as a lecturer at the University of Sussex.

 

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A staggering one-in-three women, experience physical, sexual abuse

Eurozone retail sales fall shows recession

Member States and Commission to work together to boost artificial intelligence “made in Europe”

The 28 EU leaders don’t touch the thorny issues

Future Forces Forum: Prague will be hosting the most important project in the field of Defence and Security

This start-up has developed a way for businesses to quickly compost food waste

EU seems to fail its moderate migration promises postponing them for end 2015

Globalization is changing. Here’s how your business can adapt

11 innovations protecting life below water – and above it

6 ways to future-proof universities

In 2019, ‘reasons for hope’ in a world still on ‘red alert’: UN chief Guterres

How to make your business thrive by doing good

North Korean families facing deep ‘hunger crisis’ after worst harvest in 10 years, UN food assessment shows

A day in the life of a Rohingya refugee

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

It will take a lot more than free menstrual pads to end period poverty

Rule of law: MEPs travel to Malta to meet with government, NGOs and journalists

Does research make sense any more? The dire need for new ways to measure success

In Rome you can swap plastic bottles for metro tickets

Latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) briefing from the World Health Organisation – key takeaways

Why good cybersecurity in business is everyone’s responsibility

Google’s hot summer never ends: EC to launch ANOTHER antitrust inquiry against the American giant

Supply chains have been upended. Here’s how to make them more resilient

One Day in Beijing

European Youth Forum celebrates 20 years of fighting for youth rights

Few countries are pricing carbon high enough to meet climate targets

How to save the world’s forests with carbon credits

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

Reject passivity and embrace ‘responsibility for our future,’ Lithuania’s President tells UN Assembly

Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

A day in the life of a Venezuelan migrant in Boa Vista, Brazil

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

Destroying nuclear waste to create clean energy? It can be done

The European Union and the United States reach an agreement on imports of hormone-free beef

Preparing for developing countries the ‘Greek cure’

Iran: BBC and other broadcast journalists harassed; families threatened – UN experts

Mountains matter, especially if you’re young, UN declares

Coronavirus: Commission holds first meeting of EU COVID-19 national scientific advice platform

The European Parliament floating over the South China Sea

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

European Border and Coast Guard: Council adopts revised regulation

UN urges ‘restraint’ in Bangladesh’s post-presidential election violence

10 reasons why today’s cyber leaders are tomorrow’s world leaders

For video game addiction, now read official ‘gaming disorder’: World Health Organization

Around 23 million boys have married before reaching 15; ‘we can end this violation’ says UNICEF chief

Humanitarian aid: EU allocates €54.5 million to Africa’s Great Lakes region

Ending use of chemical weapons in Syria: ‘still work to be done’, says UN disarmament chief

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

These are India’s cleanest cities

COVID-19 vaccine campaigns: how far are the anti-vaccine movements going online? How can pro-vaxxers be part of their change?

EU-US trade agreement talks to be affected by American bugs

Health challenges need predictable healthcare investment policies. Japan’s example shows why

These airports are now opening their doors to non-fliers

3 pressing urban problems Indian cities must solve in the post-COVID recovery

Electronic cigarettes: is it really a safe alternative to smoking?

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

Cape Town almost ran out of water. Here’s how it averted the crisis

The world’s supercomputers joined forces against COVID-19 – why such collaborations are critical for tackling future emergencies

More Stings?

Comments

  1. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    Environmental safety equipment townsville

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s