The items listed in each category are not compulsory or complete. Some items can span across several categories. You have the freedom to include any item you feel important. When you provide solutions to each category, remember to explain their benefits to some of the following items: • Power utilization/storage • Cost (initial: e.g. of hardware, or ongoing: e.g. traffic costs) • Security/Privacy • Openness/Ease of use • Data ownership/Accessibility
Smart cities are faced with many adversities as they present complex environments that require a combination of many technological innovations in order to meet the needs of the society (Talari, Shafie-khah, Siano, Loia, Tommasetti & Catalão 2017). On top of the technological requirements, the environment needs to consider the socio-economic innovations needed to encourage the participants i.e. the people. In essence, this requirement can be facilitated by the technologies themselves where an openly connected system is needed. IoT as a technology facilitates the necessary innovations needed to meet the requirements set by the environment where the existing smart devices and gadgets are interconnected. Through this procedures, end-users are encouraged to use their conventional devices during the transition period.
At the heart of this report is the scenario presented by the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC), a technological council that aims to incorporate the benefits of Smart Cities into their future initiatives. Furthermore, as part of their innovation commitment, they have commissioned a smart parking application that will apply the principles of IoT i.e. sensors and actuators incorporated into devices (cars and parking stations) to guide users in their activities (Zanella, Bui, Castellani, Vangelista & Zorzi 2014). This report focuses on this scenario and provides feasible solutions for implementing the IoT technology which will further facilitate the course for SCC’s Smart Cities initiative. Now, as part of the report, two general solutions are given based on the components used to implement the IoT structure. In essence, the structure’s infrastructure, technology and storage solutions are considered. Furthermore, a comparison of the two solutions is given based on the immediate needs where a single campus is considered and the future prospects, where all SCC locations will be integrated.
Proposed IoT solutions
In creating a feasible solution for implementing the principles of IoT, technological experts must consider the advanced requirements for smart systems. For one, different and heterogeneous devices are set to be used which creates many challenges in identifying the solutions that will integrate their operations despite their varying operational standards. In the past, these varying requirements and standards have led to many differing solutions that in most cases have been incompatible (Madakam, Ramaswamy &Tripathi 2015). In light of this outcome, the solutions outlined below aim to bridge these gaps seen in IoT, more so as highlighted by SCC smart parking system.
For this solution, the basic and existing systems are integrated to offer extended system connectivity. As a start, a simple Local Area Network facilitated by both wired and wireless connection is used. To support this infrastructure, the LoRaWAN a low energy technology facilitates the connection of the devices. Finally, the parking system is supported by local servers based in the organisation’s data centres
Local Area Network (LAN) –SCC parking system as a simple Smart City application will require the connection of the various components that facilitate communication. These components will include, devices/objects such as vehicles and buildings, sensors to identify the elements e.g. RFID (radio frequency identification) and the supporting systems such as interfaces and data sources. At first, a LAN consisting of both wired (Ethernet) and wireless (WLAN) connection will be used. Furthermore, in the future, the same local connection will be extended to other locations owned by the organisation through WANs or through the internet (Sethi & Sarangi 2017).
A local connection has several benefits when used as the underlying infrastructure for Smart technologies. First, it’s safe as compared to other wide area connections since the resources of the organisation are closely monitored in the confined space. Secondly, there are minimal delays or latency periods when accessing data because it’s locally hosted. Finally, there are minimal data ownership issues (Internet Society 2015).
LoRaWAN– developed by the LoRa alliance, LoRaWAN outlines a low power networking specification that facilitates the seamless interconnection of devices across all industries. This specification or technology aids long distance communication through the wireless platform that is usually supported by radio frequencies. Consider the different sensors and actuators used by the Smart Cities, for instance, buildings having the smart parking application will have to be identified to facilitate their communication and control. LoRaWAN will enable their connection regardless of the specifications used (Augustin, Yi, Clausen, Townsley 2016).
Therefore, through this specification, SCC will achieve seamless connections an outcome that will increase the accessibility of information because the gadgets considered will operate in an open environment that is easy to use. Moreover, the cost of establishing the connection will be optimised as the organisation will be able to choose a variety of resources without being restricted by the manufacturers’ specifications (Adelantado, Vilajosana, Tuset-Peiro, Martinez, Melià-Seguí & Watteyne 2017).
Servers in the local data centres– with a local network in place, it will be easier for the organisation to link its in-house facilities with the parking system. Among these facilities will be the data storage provided by the locally hosted servers. Even though they have a higher maintenance cost, on-premise resources (e.g. data centres) have dependable security procedures as the organisation itself can physically monitor the devices used. Furthermore, data owned by the organisation is internally managed which maintains its confidentiality, availability and integrity. This outcome improves the resources privacy and policies of intellectual property (O’Connor 2017).
A virtualised solution that will implement IoT using adaptive and agile solutions. Smart Cities will require dynamic systems that will have the capability to adapt to changes. Therefore, as a possible advancement to the previous solution, the following structure is proposed where the internet will serve as the main infrastructure supported by an open networking platform. Finally, data processing and storage facilities are provided by distributed systems based on cloud solutions.
The internet –when adopting an IoT solution it is hard to conceive a better and greater connection solution other than the internet. For one, it already established having billions of devices connected world-wide an outcome that advances the connectivity of SCC’s smart parking system. Therefore, in the future, the organisation would have a seamless connection and interaction of its devices based on the IP technologies (the operational principles of the internet). Furthermore, based on the TCP/IP model different devices having different manufacturers specifications can be integrated which means a vehicle and an access bollard can operate within the same infrastructure (Alsaadi & Tubaishat 2015).
As a foundational element, the internet would serve as a formidable infrastructure that would enhance the connectivity and usability of Smart systems. SCC can extend its smart car parking system across different areas without any form of limitation. Moreover, the said connection would enhance control which on top of facilitating security for the technology would lower the overall maintenance costs as a single management would be used to manage the infrastructure in multiple locations (Alsaadi & Tubaishat 2015).
Open connectivity– To meet the demands of smart technologies the existing networking infrastructure will have to adapt to the needs of a virtualised world where broad connections will be facilitated. Software-defined networking (SDN), a newly proposed networking architecture is facilitated by OpenFlow concepts, concepts that use open source principles to connect an array of devices. Moreover, SDN uses existing technologies to meet the users’ connections requirements. In essence, it diversifies the functionalities of networks by separating the control from the data resources (Caraguay, Peral, López & Villalba 2014). Through this operational principles, SCC can achieve extended connectivity through the openness of OpenFlow protocols.
In addition to this, control is enhanced as a centralised management is facilitated by the SDN controller, a critical element of SDN technology. This extended control enhances the management of data which improves the ownership outcomes as well as the accessibility to information. Moreover, it lowers the operational cost as multiple gadgets in the smart systems can be incorporated using a common technology (Caraguay, Peral, López & Villalba 2014).
Cloud computing– cloud computing represent a revolutionary technology that has transformed the delivery of services to consumers through convenient and ubiquitous connections. These connections are essentially facilitated by the internet which basically aligns the storage solution with the foundational infrastructure. SCC smart system will constantly produce and analyse data an outcome that will require a flexible storage resource to accommodate the enormous content produced. In-house facilities may offer the necessary resource however they tend to be expensive as compared to cloud solutions. Moreover, cloud resources are agile and flexible which increase the access of information across different locations owned by SCC. This functionality will increase information accessibility and availability. In addition to this, cloud computing will facilitate control as a wide range of tools and monitoring resources are made available by the technology. Finally, SCC will have minimal power requirements as the data servers (heavy power users) will be owned by a third party i.e. the service provider (Villari, Al-Anbuky, Celesti & Moessner 2016).
Comparison/contrast of the two solutions
A simple analysis of the two solutions reveals the similarities as well as the differences in achieving the IoT objectives. In the first solution, the IoT structure is based on a conventional architecture where a locally developed network in form of a LAN is used. Even though the proposed network will house wireless connections such as WLAN, the foundational elements remain to be the same where localised gadgets control the operation of the network (Lucero 2016). On the other hand, the infrastructure outlined for the second solution is agile in nature not only supported by the ubiquitous internet connection buts also facilitated by an agile networking technology i.e. the SDN and its OpenFlow standards.
Let’s highlight the supporting or existing technologies used to accomplish the IoT connection. LoRaWAN has the necessary operational resources where it operates at low power to connect devices wirelessly. The second solution goes an extra mile by offering an open connection supported by OpenFlow protocols which enhance the overall connections. Finally, the storage and processing systems, where based on the original foundational infrastructure the first solution uses an in-house data centre which has improved security and control outcomes, however, it's expensive and requires more resources, such as power. On the other hand, the second solution outlines a virtualised resource in form of cloud solutions which increases the agility and adaptability of the SCC parking system (Maan 2015).
Now, the table below provides a brief comparison of the two solutions
Components: LAN, LoRaWAN and Data centres (on-premise).
Components: Internet, OpenFlow and Cloud computing.
A rigid and conventional solution that achieves maximum connectivity.
An adaptive solution that implements an Agile IoT approach to meet the objective of maximum system connectivity.
Increased control as resources are closely monitored by the users i.e. SCC.
Control can be lost due to the pervasive nature of the solution. Moreover, it’s hard to track resources hosted in the cloud.
Optimal security based on the measure implemented by the management.
A solution faced with many security and privacy issues, however, with the emergence of IPsec they can be managed.
Expensive as the resources are owned and managed by the organisation.
Cost effective as multiple resources can be leased.
Easy to access but only in localised stations.
Increased access and availability, however, infrastructure resources can affect connectivity (delays due to bandwidth variations).
(Botta, Donato, Persico & Pescape 2014)
Despite the differences between the two solutions, a common objective is achieved in both instances, that of extended connectivity. Furthermore, each solution seems to capitalise on certain operational features or attributes, for instance, the first solution is rigid but, what it lacks in agility it makes up for in security, control and data ownership. On the other hand, the second solution increases the agility of the smart system developed but this outcome is met at the price of control and data ownership. Therefore, the best solution for the SCC’s Smart Cities initiative would be a compromised solution based on the features provided by the two solutions. This hybrid solution would basically capitalise on the benefits offered by the two solutions.
Therefore, as a start, the organisation should maximise on the available resources where the internet through a localised connection could be adopted. Secondly, the defining technologies should also be based on existing standards such as LoRaWAN but with the added capabilities of open networking standards. This outcome will increase the extent of the connections made by the proposed smart system. However, the open technologies adopted should have good authentication and encryption procedures for security purposes where again the objectives should be the data’s confidentiality, availability and integrity. Finally, data processing and storage should be based on a hybrid structure where the in-house data centres are supported by backup options in the form of cloud-based solutions. Through this holistic solution, the objectives of IoT and Smart Cities will be met while facilitating optimal functionalities.
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