TO: Prof. Jason W. Ellis
FROM: Julia Shin
DATE: Sept. 17, 2019
SUBJECT: 500-Word Summary of Andrea Zanella’s et al “Internet of Things for Smart Cities”
Andrea Zanella et al discusses the implementation of IoT (Internet of Things) in order to develop a smart city in the article “Internet of Things for Smart Cities” from the IEEE Internet of Things Journal. The concept of the Smart City was created to be more efficient and to provide better services all while reducing costs. The IoT will be the key to turning this concept into a reality. There are, however, some concerns regarding the IoT that may pose as a threat. Despite this, the “Padova Smart City” project provides an example of a possible application of urban IoT network and could act as a catalyst for the whole process.
One major problem concerning the use of the IoT is its complexity. There are many layers involved in this whole network that must be considered in order to produce the best results. For instance, some key characteristics include its “capability of integrating different technologies with the existing communication infrastructure in order to support a progressive evolution of the IoT” as well as easy accessibility by both the citizens and the authorities (Zanella et al, 2014, p. 25). The different elements of the IoT system will be responsible for protecting these key characteristics.
There seemed to be a pattern of spotting issue with what is used today. For example, HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) is not suitable for constrained devices due to its limiting nature. CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) will combat the issues of HTTP and provide a more reliable service. A HTTP-CoAP intermediary will be the key in allowing transparent communication between the two protocols as well as devices that utilize HTTP. All of this effort, and more, is put into creating a unified system that will work with the devices that exist today while simultaneously working towards the goal.
In contrast to the intricate details that go into the IoT system, the goals are quite simple. The use of devices like sensors will play an important role to improve services such as smart lighting and monitoring energy consumption. These sensors will be responsible for collecting data that will be stored and processed by the backend servers. For instance, the smart lights will know when to provide light and how much in accordance to the time of day and weather conditions. In the case of the Padova Smart City project, the street lamps were equipped with photometer, temperature, humidity, and benzene sensors. After analyzing the data collected from these sensors over the course of a couple of days, it was observed that generally the light, temperature, and humidity measurements reached saturation levels during the day and dipped back down for the night. Benzene levels also typically decreased during the night as a result of less traffic.
Realizing the dream of creating a Smart City is no easy task; it is the combination of all these complex systems that make it work. However, the project that took place in Padova, Italy showcases the potential of implementing such a concept. The authors not only acknowledged a lot of the issues that critics may have, but also provided possible solutions. This shows that although the reality of a Smart City may not be perfect yet, it is still worth investing time into. For so long, advancements of technology have caused major environmental problems, but the use of the IoT systems may be what we are all looking for. The future for a Smart City truly looks bright.
Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 1(1), 22–32.