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Smart city question over US$5 trillion posed in new ABI Research survey: Cheaper or smarter?

By Zenobia Hegde

Smart city technologies could save enterprises, governments and citizens globally over US$5 trillion (€4.21 trillion) annually by 2022 according to a new whitepaper by ABI Research. The new white paper analyses the scope for cost savings and efficiency as a driver for smart city deployments, smart technologies and the IoT.

According to the report, titled ‘Smart Cities and Cost Savings,’ the use and deployment of IoT and smart technologies will be pivotal to the future success of smart cities, but only if players collaborate to embrace a holistic approach.

With higher concentrations of people and enterprises in cities as a result of urbanisation, smart city and IoT technology, along with new sharing and service economy paradigms, will be key for cities to optimise the use of existing assets, maximise efficiencies, obtain economies of scale and ultimately create a more sustainable environment. Automation, artificial intelligence, along with sensors, data-sharing and analytics, will all be critical in helping cities save costs.

The report, commissioned by InterDigital, on behalf of its Smart Cities-focused business, Chordant™, in partnership with CA Technologies, considers the aggregated absolute cost-saving potential for the government, enterprises and citizens in a typical smart mega city of the future (i.e., in the next 5 years) with 10 million inhabitants. This is based on the yearly savings achievable for 75 of the world’s cities that have a total urban population of more than 5 million (source: World Atlas).

Key cost savings from the ABI Research report highlight that, in each such typical smart mega city of the future:

Governments: Could save as much as $4.95 billion (€4.17 billion) annually. Street lighting and smart buildings are two areas that could yield savings, with smart street lights expected to cut repair and maintenance costs by 30%.
Enterprises: A $14 billion (€11.80 billion) cost-saving opportunity exists for enterprises, in areas that include freight transportation by using more energy efficient transport options, such as drones, robots or driverless vans and trucks, and smart manufacturing plants.
Citizens: Savings of up to $26.69 billion (€22.50 billion) per year could be achieved in areas such as utilities, through the deployment of smart metres and micro-grids, and in education with the development of a hybrid education system (physical and online).

“While smart cities technologies offer multiple benefits, very significant direct cost savings represent a key incentive to embrace urban innovation for city governments, citizens and enterprises alike; this allows building stronger business cases with faster ROI, facilitating project approval and accelerating deployments,” said Dominique Bonte, VP Markets, ABI Research.

Dominique Bonte

The report references a B2B technology survey of 455 US-based companies across nine vertical markets conducted in March 2017 in which the companies ranked a list of 11 key benefits expected from implementing innovative technologies. “Reduction in operational costs” barely surpassed “faster and more efficient decision making” as the number one expected benefit, with a 5% margin.

“Smart cities are built upon the Internet of Things (IoT) allowing citizens to reimagine how they work, live and play,” said Rahim Bhatia, general manager, API Management, CA Technologies. “We’re excited to see […]

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CHTF 2017, Lighting Up the Smart City Dream

By IoT – Internet of Things

The Smart City Exhibition under the umbrella of the China Hi-Tech Fair, being held from November 16 to November 21, 2017, at Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center, features Smart City solutions, products, frontier technologies and innovative ideas in the sector. It aims to make news related to the sector available to everyone. The Smart City Pavilion flies the […]

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Launch of £5 million UK hardware security Institute at Queen’s University Belfast

By Zenobia Hegde

What:

A £5 million (€5.62 million) multi-university Research Institute to improve hardware security and reduce vulnerability to cyber threats will be launched at the Centre for Secure Information Technologies, Queen’s University.
Where:

Centre for Secure Information Technologies,
ECIT,

Queen’s University Belfast,
Northern Ireland Science Park,
Queen’s Road,
Queen’s Island,
Belfast,
BT3 9DT

When:

Wednesday 22 November
Key media opportunity 11am – 11.30am
Event runs from 9am – 3pm (full itinerary attached)

Media opportunities:

Media are welcome to attend the full event but there will be a key media opportunity between 11am – 11.30am.

From 11am – 11.10am there will be a photo opportunity and from 11.10am there will be media interviews with professor Máire O’Neill and Dr Mathias Wagner, chief security technologist, NXP.

Bids should be forwarded to Emma Gallagher in the Communications Office by Tuesday 21 November.

Attachments:

Event itinerary

Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher at Queen’s Communications Office on Tel: (028) 9097 5384 or email emma.gallagher@qub.ac.uk

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Global study reveals IoT adoption is at 69% despite security concerns

By Zenobia Hegde

Cradlepoint announced the release of a new Cradlepoint Business Intelligence Report, “The State of IoT 2017-2018”, which reveals the current IT practices, perceptions and future plans surrounding global Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. The findings of the underlying study revealed that even though over 69% of organisations have adopted, or plan to adopt, IoT solutions within the next year, 40% of companies have serious concerns around cybersecurity.

Conducted by Spiceworks, the study surveyed 400 IT professionals in the U.S., Canada and the UK at companies with at least 500 employees across 22 industries. Respondents are all involved with IoT strategies and decisions at their organisations.

While cybersecurity remains the top concern (40%), it is a desire for increased physical security that is the top driver for IoT adoption (32%), followed by improved operational processes (23%), reduced operational costs (21%) and simplified management (20%). Approximately 71% of respondents who already use IoT technologies say they’re using it for building security, often through security cameras.

Recent botnet attacks have infected millions of IoT devices. However, despite the growing security threat associated with IoT, the research shows that about half of the organisations surveyed are deploying IoT solutions on their existing enterprise network and 57% prefer to manage their own IoT device security.

“Following the spread of IoT botnets like Reaper and Mirai, which infected millions of internet-connected security cameras, routers, and digital video recorders, it’s evident that insecure IoT devices, even connected security devices, are putting organisations more at risk,” said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks.

“Before deploying network-connected devices that create more entry points for hackers to exploit, organisations should vet the security of all IoT devices they plan to introduce and ensure their company can adequately protect these devices from potential threats.”

“Our new ‘State of IoT’ report highlights a looming issue within commercial IoT deployments – cross-contamination. Companies that deploy IoT devices on their existing enterprise networks are significantly expanding their attack surface and creating new vulnerabilities to IoT-specific threats that traditional security tools are not equipped to handle,” said Ken Hosac, vice president of IoT business development at Cradlepoint.

“The good news, however, is that companies can leverage software-defined perimeter technology to spin-up virtual overlay networks, without trained specialists, that isolate IoT devices from existing networks—and other IoT devices, control access and shield them from being Internet-addressable.”

Additional resources can be found here.

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UK government finds Artificial Intelligence is nothing to do with Boris and invests in tech sector

By Jeremy Cowan

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May announced today a new £20 million (€22.3 million) fund to help public services use UK expertise in innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence. Who knows, says Jeremy Cowan, it may even take Mrs May’s mind off her Brexit woes, her vulnerable minority government, or whatever her Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson is mis-speaking now.

Earlier, the Prime Minister met leading digital entrepreneurs and innovators from across the UK, as she announced a series of measures to support the “continued growth and success” of the country’s tech sector. There was plenty of talk of being world class and of the Government’s “enduring commitment” to this vital industry.

The PM and Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a new package of support which includes:

Doubling to 2,000 the number of visas available to the brightest and best talent from around the world, including in digital technology.
An investment of £21 million (€23.4 million) to expand Tech City UK into a nationwide network called Tech Nation, designed to accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector across the country.
A new £20 million fund to help public services take advantage of UK expertise in technologies like Artificial Intelligence.
The launch of a £20 million training programme which will challenge thousands of young people aged 14 to 18 to test their skills against simulated online cyber threats.

Mrs May said: “It is absolutely right that this dynamic sector, which makes such an immense contribution to our economic life and to our society, has the full backing of Government. Technology is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, and we will continue to invest in the best new innovations and ideas, in the brightest and best talent, and in revolutionary digital infrastructure.

“And as we prepare to leave the European Union, I am clear that Britain will remain open for business,” she added.

Open all hours

The new funding for Tech Nation will see the organisation expand its hub model to more cities around the country, including Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Birmingham. Building on the work of existing regional clusters, Tech Nation will support 40,000 entrepreneurs and up to 4,000 start-up companies.

The new ‘GovTech’ challenge fund will encourage UK firms to use technology to solve challenges facing the public sector, while a dedicated new team will act as a front door into Whitehall to connect tech companies to the right parts of Government.

Following months of lobbying by industry bodies and alternative broadband providers frustrated at Openreach‘s slow and patchy broadband roll-out, the government reports that “a new £2 million (€2.23 million) pilot voucher scheme” is also being launched in six areas. This is part of the administration’s pledge to bring “the UK’s fastest and most reliable broadband to homes and businesses across the country”. Local companies will be among those offered vouchers by broadband suppliers to pay for what are described as “gold-standard full-fibre gigabit connections”.

And there are just days left for students to apply for a new apprenticeship and university bursary worth £4,000 (€4,460) a year, being offered by the National Cyber […]

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First Global Review of smart cities published

By Zenobia Hegde

Future Cities Catapult have released its first global review of smart city strategies at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. The report looks at 21 smart city strategies from around the world including New York, Berlin, Sao Paulo and Manchester.

The global market for smart cities is shifting, with Asia’s smart city market expected to grow from $50 billion (€42.64 billion) to $220 billion (€187.63 billion) by 2020. By 2050, the UN projects an extra 2.5 billion people will live in cities, with 90% of this growth coming from Asia and Africa. The report argues that understanding how smart cities are being developed from a global perspective is crucial to empowering both cities and industry to deliver the smarter cities that prosperity and sustainability require.

This Global Review charts the evolution in smart city strategies from technology-driven towards citizen-centred. It highlights the challenges in creating collaborative citizen-led strategies that can cope with a new wave of digital disruption as evidenced by apps such as Uber and Airbnb.

Produced with the support of Arup, the review provides city leaders with an analysis of what leading cities are doing to create smart city strategies that are suited to their needs, and how they are structuring themselves to deliver these strategies within difficult, complex environments.

Based on the research, the review makes the following five recommendations for city governments:

Establish strong leadership to develop skills and capacity within local government to initiate and deliver at-scale smart city projects
Embed your smart city strategy within existing statutory frameworks in order to ensure the strategy’s implementation and funding
When creating your smart city strategy, consider a collaborative approach, coupled with strong political support, to ensure that you harness your citizens’ and businesses’ capabilities and respond to their needs
Tap into core city funding by regularly scanning your existing city assets and budgets in order to leverage these for smart city projects
Create a plan for private sector engagement and long-term collaboration, as well as a designated person or team for communicating with businesses and investors.

Steve Turner

Jarmo Eskelinen, chief technology and innovation officer at Future Cities Catapult, reinforced the need for city leaders to learn from each other. He says: “At Future Cities Catapult we believe that creating positive transformation on the ground requires strategies for dealing with the reality of cities. We created this report to give city leaders a head start on how they can learn from the experience of those cities that have been developing smart city strategies for years, and those that have only just started.”

Steve Turner, Smart Cities lead at Arup, emphasises the role that this learning will have in creating better performing, more competitive cities: “City authorities are at the core of digital transformation. Their ability to be the fulcrum between articulating citizen need and engaging technology providers, will be key in determining overall city competitiveness. This research will help authorities around the world to create strategies that enable them to fulfil this critical role.”

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Widespread mismanagement of privileged accounts and access revealed in One Identity global survey

By Zenobia Hedge

One Identity, a proven leader in helping organisations get identity and access management (IAM) right, released new global research that exposes widespread poor practices when it comes to managing privileged accounts.

Dimensional Research recently surveyed 913 IT security professionals on challenges, habits and trends related to managing access to corporate data. Among the most eye-opening research findings are that nine in 10 (88%) respondents admit to facing challenges when it comes to managing privileged passwords, and one in five (18%) still use a paper-based logbook to manage privileged accounts.

These findings are significant considering that privileged accounts grant virtually unlimited access to nearly every component of a company’s IT infrastructure, essentially handing over the keys to a company’s most critical and sensitive systems and data.

The survey also exposed three key areas where distressingly inferior practices for privileged account management occur, including:

Management platforms and tools: In addition to 18% of respondents admitting to using paper-based logs, a surprising 36% are using equally inadequate spreadsheets for tracking privileged accounts. The survey also found that two-thirds (67%) of companies are relying on two or more tools to manage these accounts — indicating widespread inconsistency in privileged access management (PAM).
Monitoring and visibility: The majority of IT security professionals (57%) admit to only monitoring some privileged accounts, or not monitoring privileged access at all. Even worse, 21% of respondents confessed they are unable to monitor or record activity performed with admin credentials, while 32% said they cannot consistently identify individuals who perform admin activities.
Password management and change: An overwhelming 86% of organisations are not consistently changing the password on their admin accounts after each use. Further, 40% of IT security professionals don’t take the basic best practice of changing a default admin password. By not adhering to these best practices, privileged accounts are vulnerable to open the door to data exfiltration or worse, if compromised.

John Milburn

“When an organisation doesn’t implement the very basic processes for security and management around privileged accounts, they are exposing themselves to significant risk. Over and over again, breaches from hacked privileged accounts have resulted in astronomical mitigation costs, as well as data theft and tarnished brands,” said John Milburn, president and general manager of One Identity.

“These survey results indicate that there are an alarmingly high percentage of companies that don’t have proper procedures in place. It is crucial for organisations to implement best practices regarding privileged access management without creating new roadblocks for work to get done.”

Avoiding primitive management

A recent Forrester Report states that eight out of 10 breaches that occur involve privileged credentials, highlighting just how much of a target privileged accounts are for hackers. Cybercriminals know that gaining access to privileged accounts is the easiest and fastest way to obtain a company’s critical data and systems, which is why organisations can no longer rely on old practices, such as paper records or Excel logbooks, to manage these priority accounts.

One Identity understands that when it comes to managing and monitoring these privileged accounts, continuously controlling access and governing credentials […]

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ETSI creates City Digital Profile group on smart cities

By Zenobia Hedge

ETSI is pleased to announce the creation of a new Industry Specification Group “City Digital Profile” (ISG CDP) that will help accelerate the delivery of integrated citizen services and provide a technology road map for city leaders who will benefit from standardised solutions from their suppliers.

In providing this technology framework and clear roadmap for technology investment and deployment, market confidence levels in the city infrastructure investments should increase and in addition this will cities the possibility to replicate those solutions across domains, between cities and on a large scale. Smart services are intended to improve the overall quality of living in the city and make them attractive to citizens, investors, business, innovators, visitors and tourists.

The City Digital Profile ISG will enable cities to procure smart solutions with confidence that those solutions will be extendable, configurable and interoperable with similar services from other cities and providers. City administrators will therefore deliver advanced services to their citizens, whilst respecting essential environmental factors, sustainability objectives and reducing the overall cost of deployment.

“I am excited that this group will enable city leaders and suppliers to work together to mass market replication of citizen centric systems that are innovative, agile and creative while also fully standards compliant, secure, resilient and cost effective,” says Paul Copping, convenor of the City Digital Profile ISG, and chief innovation officer at DG Cities Ltd in Greenwich, London.

Initial cross domain city applications will include:

Health and social care (disability entitlement; housing benefit and rent payment; housing condition, assisted living and vulnerability)
Building management and connected homes
Urban lighting
Water and waste management and energy
Transportation and mobility
Environmental issues such as pollution and resource optimisation

Other key issues such as citizen related data retention and privacy protection will also be considered, in co-operation with such groups as oneM2M, the ETSI founded partnership project and the ETSI Technical Committee Cyber.

The kick-off meeting of the ISG will take place on 20-21 November 2017 at ETSI headquarters where the group will elect its chair and vice chair and decide on the future work and priorities.

ETSI will also be a speaker at the Smart City Expo, in Barcelona from 14-16 November in Barcelona, as well as organising a dedicated session alongside the main event to present the ISG CDP concept.

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Arrow Electronics, Synaptics and NXP team to accelerate the development of Amazon Alexa-enabled smart home products

By Zenobia Hedge

Arrow Electronics, Synaptics Incorporated and NXP Semiconductors launched a variant of the Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Development Kit for Amazon AVS that is supported by a commercially available NXP system-on-chip (SoC) application processor.

This newly available development kit variant enables device makers to quickly and cost-effectively integrate the Amazon Alexa Voice Service (AVS) into a fully functioning prototype, and then take that work into design for manufacturing and production.

The Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Dev Kit for Amazon AVS includes Synaptics’ CX20921 Voice Input Processor with a dual microphone board and a wake-word engine tuned to “Alexa.” It is built on the pico-imx7d board, a purpose-built small-footprint hardware platform which features NXP’s i.MX7D dual-core applications processor optimised for the Internet of Things (IoT). The kit also includes: stereo microphones with an integrated processor, a microphone holder board, a micro USB cable, Type-A to Type-B cable, cable assembly and a +5V power supply.

The development kit features a reference client built using the AVS Device SDK (software development kit), enabling commercial device makers to get to market faster with Alexa-enabled products.

The Synaptics AudioSmart 2-Mic Dev Kit for Amazon AVS with NXP SoC is available exclusively from arrow.com for $375(€322.21). To learn more, or to purchase the kit, click here.

“This new Synaptics development kit with an NXP SoC for the Amazon Alexa Voice Service can add intelligent voice control to connected products with a microphone and speaker, enabling developers and engineers to rapidly create Alexa-enabled proof of concepts and prototypes,” said Murdoch Fitzgerald, vice president of semiconductor marketing at Arrow. “Arrow is excited to team with Synaptics and NXP to bring this new kit to the developer community and help accelerate the innovation of new smart home products.”

“Voice as a human interface is rapidly expanding in smart homes and the broader IoT landscape due to the broad global expansion of voice services like Amazon Alexa,” said Saleel Awsare, vice president and general manager, Audio and Imaging Business, Synaptics. “When voice services are combined with Synaptics’ AudioSmart far-field voice DSPs, new voice-enabled human interface devices can accelerate into numerous IoT applications whether consumer, enterprise, or commercial.”

microphone board

“Industry leaders are developing and investing to meet the growing demand of the voice-controlled future smart home,” said Martyn Humphries, vice president and general manager, Media IoT and i.MX Applications Processors at NXP. “Collaborating with leaders like Amazon and the companies it works with is essential in delivering the key tools and support needed to meet the demands of this prospering market.

The new evaluation kit moves beyond the scope of a processing board with unique integrated features designed for the AVS developer community. This enables more flexibility in designs while shortening development time to market so customers can move from prototype to production as quick as possible.”

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GSMA mobile IoT initiative helping operators target european connected energy market worth US$26 bn

By Zenobia Hedge

The GSMA announced that mobile operators deploying new Mobile IoT networks will be able to benefit from the European connected energy market estimated to be worth US$26 billion(€21.99 billion) by 2026. Data shared by analyst house Machina Research highlights the huge growth opportunity in the emerging connected energy market that could connect approximately 158 million new smart meters on LPWA networks across Europe. The total number of connections in Europe could be further increased if the 60 million cellular connections are also included with LPWA.

“The Internet of Things is fundamentally disrupting the smart utility market by providing ubiquitous connectivity and real-time, actionable data. Mobile IoT networks will take this further by offering energy providers a cost-effective solution to connect millions of smart meters,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer, GSMA.

“There is a real sense of momentum behind the roll-out of Mobile IoT networks with multiple global launches, however, there is still a huge runway for growth. We encourage operators to act now to capitalise on this clear market opportunity and further accelerate the development of the IoT.”

The current connected energy market, which includes applications related to the generation and transportation of energy, microgeneration, smart grid and distribution monitoring and smart metering, is worth an estimated US$11.7 billion(€9.90 billion). The European connected energy market represents approximately 21% of all global revenues, with APAC claiming 54% and the Americas 21%.

The European Commission recently published a proposal indicating that approximately 200 million electricity smart meters and 45 million gas meters will be rolled out by 2020. The Commission also estimates that by 2020, approximately 72% of Europeans customers will have a smart meter for electricity and about 40% for gas.

“In the coming years we will see an important change in the way natural gas networks operate. The need for more efficient operations, improved safety and better quality of service will be paramount and we can do this through the roll-out of smart gas metering systems. We are moving towards the digitalisation of gas networks, a transformation from “pipe-centric” systems to “data-centric” systems.

To make this happen, reliable communication means are a must and the arrival of NB-IoT and LTE-M represents an acceleration of this evolution. These new technologies offer everything necessary, such as long battery life, penetration and data security, as well as licensed spectrum,” commented Gianfranco De Feo, executive director, Shanghai Fiorentini Ltd.

Mobile IoT networks supporting growth of connected energy

Mobile IoT networks are designed to support mass-market IoT applications across a wide variety of use cases including connected energy solutions such as water and gas metering, smart grids, electricity and energy monitoring. They support IoT applications that are low-cost, use low data rates, require long battery lives and often operate in remote and hard to reach locations making them ideal for the connected energy sector.

Mobile networks are already supporting the smart electric metering market, but now other sectors such as water and gas metering are turning their attention to the benefits of adopting NB-IoT and LTE-M networks due to low power and better […]

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