[IEEE Xplore] Readings on Smart Cities -- [Editorial] Vol. 1, Issue 7, August 2015

Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Cities

By Rosaldo J. F. Rossetti

Victor Larios, in his article to IEEE Talks IoT, says “cities are the centers of innovation and the people living in them want to be connected. Most cultures around the world are at a point where they cannot live without the Internet.” Not only people, but a huge amount of other things are now connected to the Internet, and such a network of connected things underlies the grounds upon which smart cities emerge. The Internet of Things (IoT) thus naturally becomes the nerve center giving life to smart cities and opens up a vast road of promising potentials for innovation. This issue of our Readings on Smart Cities is dedicated to IoT, exploring the concept and its inherent characteristics fostering urban smartification. We start with three articles from the IEEE Xplore digital library, which are followed by related work reported in White Papers produced within the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.

Zanella and colleagues [1] focus specifically on urban IoT systems, which are designed to support the Smart City vision. Authors rely on IoT’s inherent capacity to transparently and seamlessly integrate “a large number of different and heterogeneous end systems, while providing open access to selected subsets of data for the development of a plethora of digital services.” They present an elucidative discussion on aspects concerning the viable implementation of urban IoT, such as enabling technologies, protocols, and architectures. Their discussion is illustrated with the technical solutions and best-practice guidelines adopted in Padova’s Smart City project. Putting citizens as the central concern of the smartification process, Jin along with others [2] present a framework for the realisation of smart cities through IoT. Envisaging the benefits of a wealth of real-time information about the urban environment to support better decision-making, actions, and future planning, the framework encompasses the complete urban information system. Authors approach their solution design from the sensory level, network structure, data management, and cloud-based integration of services, detailing on the building blocks of a smart city IoT infrastructure. On the other hand, the group of co-authors led by Vlacheas [3] discusses the main issues that may prevent IoT from playing the crucial role of supporting the sustainable development of smart cities. Among other issues, authors identify the considerable number of heterogeneous objects of any IoT, the inherently unreliable nature of such objects, and the complexity associated with the huge quantities of usable objects in a smart city context. To tackle these problems, authors propose a cognitive management framework for IoT, capable of selecting objects by relevance and able to meet given application requirements, from the whole bunch of potential objects discovered to be available for use. A smart city scenario that horizontally connects several application domains, namely smart health, smart home, smart living, smart transportation, and public safety is used for illustration purposes.

Given its imperative role in the development of smart cities, IoT has also been studied within IEEE Smart Cities Initiative’s core cities, such as Guadalajara, Mexico. Aceves and Larios [4], from the University of Guadalajara (UDG), propose the development of geo-referenced IoT maps, so as to create a modular visual interface and open-data support platform. Graphical maps are expected to help analyse sensor readings, considerably enhancing decision-making processes within smart cities. Jiménez and Larios [5] present the initial design and specification of a sensor network and IoT infrastructure underlying the Living Lab project developed by UDG’s Smart Cities Innovation Center. One important goal of the project is the investigation of technological aspects supporting the implementation of an Intelligent Building Complex, addressing energy efficiency issues and leveraging on a communication interface with end users. The creation of open datasets with a vast amount of information stemming from a network of heterogeneous sensors is another expected contribution of the project. Also within the Living Lab plan of UDG’s Smart Cities Innovation Centre, Mora and Larios [6] share their vision for urban operating systems and discuss on related issues. Authors present the foundations of an Urban OS for smart cities leveraging on the concept of IoT.

The Internet of Things is a vital enabler of Smart Cities! As nodes of such a vast network get more and more intelligent, IoT becomes the backbone of smartification and the grounds of innovation. However, managing a plethora of heterogeneous connected devices is a laborious task that poses considerable challenges, demanding appropriate attention from industry, practitioners, and the scientific community alike.

Good readings!


IEEE Xplore References

1. A. Zanella, N. Bui, A. Castellani, L. Vangelista and M. Zorzi, "Internet of Things for Smart Cities," in IEEE Internet of Things Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 22-32, Feb. 2014.

2. J. Jin, J. Gubbi, S. Marusic and M. Palaniswami, "An Information Framework for Creating a Smart City Through Internet of Things," in IEEE Internet of Things Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 112-121, April 2014.

3. P. Vlacheas et al., "Enabling smart cities through a cognitive management framework for the internet of things," in IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 51, no. 6, pp. 102-111, June 2013.


IEEE Guadalajara GDL CCD White Papers (Publicly available)

4. Aceves, E.; Larios, V. M. “Data Visualization for Georeferenced IoT Open Data Flows for a GDL Smart City Pilot.” IEEE Guadalajara GDL CCD White Papers, 2015.

5. Jiménez, G. A.; Larios, V. M. “Study and Deployment of Sensor Networks and the Internet of Things in the GDL Smart City.” IEEE Guadalajara GDL CCD White Papers, 2015.

6. Mora, O. B.; Larios, V. M. “Urban Operating Systems for Sensor Network Management in Smart Cities.” IEEE Guadalajara GDL CCD White Papers, 2015.


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