Thursday, December 7, 2017

Reality or utopia?

If we take into account the existing books and films, the smart city has always been considered a distant chimera. Although there are cases of dystopian cities, in which this "intelligence" of the city leads to a loss of liberties on the part of citizens, there are many other cases in which this intelligent city appears as an idealized reality, far from the current one, in which decentralized communication, the perfect administration of resources and the improvement of functionality is an unattainable fantasy. But, what if we are not that far from that utopia?

This progress in managing resources has already reached companies, and more are those that every day want to point to the trend of the implementation of an IoT strategy within their companies. When making this change, security is the main concern for companies, according to professionals in the IT sector. This data comes from a survey published this week by Vanson Bourne, commissioned by Wi-SUN Alliance, which interviewed 350 executives involved in the decision making of the IT department in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark who are already investing in less an IoT (Internet of Things) project. The purpose of the survey is to help understand the way in which this type of strategy is perceived in the market and help plan future operations. Wi-SUN is an international non-profit organization with the mission of promoting interoperable IoT communications based on open global standards in industrial IoT, with special concern for public services and smart cities.

One of the main reasons to start making changes in the strategy of companies and start having the IoT in mind, is the need to stay at the forefront and feel qualified to incorporate the latest technologies in companies. Despite the existence of motivations, 90% of respondents admit that the implementation of IoT in their companies is complicated. Within this percentage, almost half of them blame the implementation cost as the greatest difficulty when making the changes. This impediment is followed by the existence of other competing priorities and the need for an intimidatingly complex IT infrastructure to be able to carry out the IoT implementation within the company. Another obstacle that the respondents determine as definitive when not making the change is the financing problem.

One of the key findings of the survey is the difference by countries, American companies are ahead of the other three countries surveyed with fully implemented IoT strategies. Respectively and in order of development of this type of strategies are the United Kingdom with 47%, Sweden with 44% and 24% in Denmark. But the study is not only focused on companies and their strategies. At the time of drawing conclusions about the implementation of IoT strategies in smart cities or public services, a large majority positions security as the main reason when carrying out this. A clear result of the survey is the most important characteristic when considering the establishment of these changes.

These two characteristics fit well with the description of the network design proposed by Wi-SUN. "Wi-Sun is based on the communications layer," says Phil Beecher, president of Wi-SUN Alliance, "We are offering what we could for a large-scale outdoor IoT wireless mesh that looks like the Internet. and reliability of a decentralized communication network, therefore, any application that runs on UDP or TCP can run on Wi-SUN." That, of course, is only part of a large-scale IoT network. "In a smart city," he continues, "we provide wireless communication between street lights, or from street lights to traffic signals." Although it seems, Phil Beecher, does not refer to a usual Wi-fi network because the Wi-fi range is too limited. Wi-SUN uses stronger radio communications capable of covering up to several kilometers.

Organizations such as Wi-SUN bring us closer to this utopia, which after the data from this survey and the opinion of an expert on the subject such as Phil Beecher, does not seem so far away. The companies are seeing more and more necessary the change in their tactics and, it seems that the cities will be the next to begin this change.


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