The capture of Big Data is what drives IoT. Using hardware to physically collect the data variables that generate actionable insight, smart technologies rely on wireless communications from the infrastructure of smart systems, to the cloud networks that extrapolate the data they receive. With masses of data collected on a daily basis, security is inevitably a growing consideration for the design, development and delivery of smart systems.

Now in a third wave of development, the evolution of ‘smart city’ moves away from the physical attributes that can be applied to city infrastructure and towards the provision of data protection and privacy. Of course, intellectual security is a vital consideration throughout the entire product development cycle, however understanding the best way to protect such data is where the impetus lies.

As technology progresses, so does data vulnerability. New platforms are constantly being developed and, in turn, the protocols that aid them are working harder to accommodate. Privacy, security and safety are the three main factors threatening the changing landscape of IoT, all of which have their own broad and potentially crippling effects. 

There have already been a number of very real and frightening security threats on IoT systems. From cyber-attacks on residential control hubs, to attempted hacks into cars that threaten the safety of drivers, IoT systems present complex security challenges for the organisations that are both developing and using them. So how is this overcome?

Data encryption, authentication and standardised platforms hold the answer. There are already global standards in place for a number of industry domains, including street lighting. The TALQ consortium aims to ensure interoperability between street lighting networks and central management systems, regardless of the vendor. This means a level playing field is established where coding in a common language throughout the consortium enables innovation and accessibility.

It is this balance between the interoperability and visibility of the data that is being transferred that holds the key. Networks such as LoRaWAN™ use frequency channels to safely communicate data in a system that uses several layers of encryption, this protects assets such as critical infrastructure, confidential personal data and critical functions.

When developing smart city solutions, all the above needs to be considered with the interests of the citizen at the core; this is the true meaning of a safe and smart city

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