The irruption of the Smart City concept has become a growing force. Currently, it is an essential requirement for the well-being of a stabilized social infrastructure. Moreover, it is vital for Planet Earth's present and future health. By actuating upon these two fundamental indicators, smart city proposals need to drive through concrete KPIs (key performance indicators) in line with stakeholders and the seventeen pertaining United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (17UNs SDGs).
One of the key driving forces that have led to forming a well-thought city that can be defined as a Smart City is ICT development (Information and communications technologies). At present, the possibilities that this industry offers to plan, construct, and live in a Smart Sustainable City (SSC) are paramount — AI (Artificial Intelligence), Deep Learning, and decentralization (Blockchain). Having achieved this level of computational knowledge, which is on an on-growing basis, indicates reachable goals.
Implementing a social spectrum analysis is required to understand the stakeholders’ necessities and mindset to align the above goals. The aforementioned UN’s 17 SDGs and the elaborate United for Smart Sustainable City (U4SSC) key performance indicator are a backbone to these Smart City stakeholders' requirements. The latter revolves around three basics — KPIs focused on economy, environment, and society and culture dimensions, closely related to achieving the 17 SDGs.
To provide a clear overview of what a smart city requires, one of the first steps is to grasp the different stakeholders. We can find academia and research institutions, local and regional administrations, financial suppliers/investors, energy suppliers, ICT sector representatives, citizens, government, property developers, non-profit organizations, planners, policymakers, experts and scientists, political institutions, and media. Once these smart city actors are established, we must learn their KPIs, which is possible only by involving all these parties.
All the stakeholders do not have to be involved in planning, building, and living in the smart city. As such, we can divide them into internal and external stakeholders, where the first are: energy suppliers, ICT sector representatives, citizens, government, property developers, planners, policymakers, and experts and scientists. External stakeholders implicate academia and research institutions, non-profit organizations, political institutions, and media.
What these stakeholders input into the creation of the smart city, can be summarized by indicating that:
· Academia and research institutions are essential in planning and developing strategies.
· Local and regional administrations can contribute to smart city projects by managing the resources.
· Financial suppliers/investors are focused on obtaining funding and mainly consider the project's return on investment.
· Energy suppliers work on sustainable energy policy for smart cities, which plays a key role, i.e., UN SDGs.
· ICT sector representatives are crucial within the initiation and operational stage of smart cities, thus contributing to the development of a smart city.
· Through their experience in these urban spaces, citizens can report inefficiencies or place-based positive and negative views in initiating smart cities.
· Government is responsible for knowledge creation and capitalization, which is required to initiate the smart city concept.
· Property developers are interested in innovation and technological advancements in property development in smart cities.
· Non-profit organizations focus on the results that arise due to smart cities' implementation; therefore, significant project-to-project learning processes in each stage of smart cities are vital.
· Planners are crucial in initiating smart cities and are concerned with sustainable urban development, which is currently considered a key planning goal.
· Policymakers are interested in making policies that lead cities to be smart and primarily consider the critical process leading to better transparency and accountability.
· Experts and scientists are fundamental to the innovation processes in a smart city; thus, they are involved in the planning process of initiating smart cities.
· Political institutions provide the sharing of their experiences, leading to becoming an asset for present and future smart city projects and impacting the governance of a smart city.
· Media can influence a smart city project through the coverage of problems and the advantages generated, and as such, it can be positive or negative.
The information presented above creates a canvas of intertwined and conflicting interests that need to hold fast to the backbone of smart cities’ KPIs (SDGs and U4SSC).
Entering a more detailed explanation of the UN’s 17 SDGs complemented with the U4SSC KPIs provides a better understanding of the importance of KPIs when making a smart city happen. In short, the seventeen UN goals’ targets for 2030 aspire to achieve — No poverty, Zero hunger, Good health and well-being, Quality education, Gender equality, Clean water and sanitation, Affordable and clean energy, Decent work and economic growth, Industry innovation and infrastructure, Reduced inequalities, Sustainable cities and communities, Responsible consumption and production, Climate action, Life below water, Life on land, Peace, justice and strong institutions, Partnerships for the goals.
These seventeen goals have to be represented within smart cities because the sole purpose of a smart city is to develop a present and future where the driving force of social betterment comes through cities. To be able to implement cities as references for a conscious society aligned with eco-friendly movements striving to overcome carbon emission footprints and provide a more democratic view of societies, the U4SSC key performance indicators are foundational. By following these KPIs, cities can measure their performance in reaching the SDGs, and as we mentioned initially, ICT has become a game-changer and is a viable tool to attain the targets set.
Key performance indicators within the United for Sustainable Smart Cities are divided into core and advanced KPIs. Core indicators are set to be reached by all cities that want to become smart, and advanced indicators are set for higher levels of set targets. To understand these KPIs in practical terms, we summarize these 91 KPIs divided into three dimensions — economy, environment, and society and culture.
When forming a smart city, the economy has to be measured through various indicators that represent the smart city level. Another critical factor in which ICT is vital is collecting the data, acquiring it quickly, and being trusted by all (we will look at these options further down the road).
Core KPIs that act upon the economic performance of a smart city involves, among others:
· Household internet access. SDG indicator 17.8.1
· Fixed and wireless broadband subscriptions. SDG indicators 17.6.2 and 17.8.1.
· Wireless broadband coverage. SDG indicators 17.8.1, 9.C.1, and 5.B.1.
· Smart water meters. SDG targets 6.4 and 6.4.1.
· Smart electricity meters. SDG target 7.3.
· Dynamic public transit information. SDG target 11.2.
· Traffic monitoring. SDG target 11.2.
· R&D (Research and Development) expenditure. SDG Indicator 9.5.1.
· Patents. SDG Target 9. B.
· Public transport network. SDG Target 11.2
· Bicycle network. SDG Target 11.2.
Regarding the advanced KPIs within the economic dimension, we find:
· Public Wi-Fi. SDG Target 9. C.
· Electricity supply ICT monitoring. SDG Target 7.3.
· Open data. SDG Target 16.6, and 16.7.
· E-Government. SDG Target 16.6, and 16.7.
· Public sector e-procurement. SDG Target 16.6, and 16.7.
· Transportation mode share. SDG target 11.2.
· Travel time index. SDG target 11.2.
· Shared bicycles and vehicles. SDG target 11.2.
· Low-carbon emission passenger vehicles. SDG target 11.2.
· Public building sustainability. SDG Target 11.3, and SDG Target 7.3.
· Urban development and spatial planning. SDG Indicator 11.a.1, and SDG Target 11.3.
For planning a smart city and making it happen, the KPIs required as a backbone focusing on the environment is vital for planning a smart city and making it happen as the SDGs’ targets specify such actions. Here, inputting results within structured and well-designed technological networks becomes necessary to provide reliable and rapid results.
Core KPIs that act upon the environmental performance of a smart city involves:
· Air pollution. SDG Target 11.6, and SDG Indicator 11.6.2.
· GHG emissions. SDG Target 11.6, and SDG Indicator 13.2.1.
· EMF exposure. Target 16. B.
· Green areas. SDG Indicator 11.7.1.
· Renewable energy consumption. SDG Indicator 7.2.1.
· Electricity consumption. SDG Target 7.3.
· Residential thermal energy consumption. SDG Target 7.3.
· Public building energy consumption. SDG Target 7.3.
The advanced KPIs to prompt the environmental dimension:
· Noise exposure. SDG Target 11.6.
· Green area accessibility. SDG indicator 11.7.1.
· Protected natural areas. SDG Indicator 15.1.2, 15.B.1, and SDG Target 14.5.
· Recreational facilities. SDG Indicator 11.7.1.
· Residential Thermal Energy Consumption. SDG Target 7.3.
For society and to become a citizen of a well-established smart city, specific actuators have to be implemented. Implementing these factors also requires the actions to gather reliable results through a quick and safe path of a well-designed tech network.
Core KPIs that act upon society and cultural performance of a smart city involve:
· Cultural expenditure. SDG Target 11.4.
· Informal settlements. SDG Indicator 11.1.1.
· Gender income equality. SDG indicator 8.5.1.
· Gini coefficient. SDG Target 10.2.
· Disaster-related economic losses. SDG indicator 1.5.2.
· Police service. SDG Target 3.d.
· Fire service. SDG Target 3.d.
· Violent crime rate. SDG Target 16.1, and SDG Indicator 16.3.1.
The advanced KPIs to reach society and culture dimension, the highest status:
· Electronic health records. SDG Target 3.D.
· In-patient hospital beds. SDG Target 3.8.
· Health insurance/Public health coverage. SDG Target 3.8.
· Cultural infrastructure. SDG Target 11.4.
· Housing expenditure. SDG Target: 11.1.
· Child care availability. SDG Target 4.2, 5.5, and SDG Target 10.4.
· Resilience plans. SDG Indicator 11.B.1.
· At-risk population. SDG Target 1.5, 11. B.
· Emergency service response time. SDG Target 3.D.
· Traffic fatalities. SDG Indicator 3.6.1.
· Local food production. SDG Target 2. C, and SDG Target 2.4.
The summary of the KPIs to achieve the 91 S4SSC aligned with the UN’s SDGs is mainly based on underdeveloped cities. Therefore, for smart city projects focused on developed cities, the SDGs and U4SSC are not as vital because these already exist. In such cases, the importance of the KPIs falls upon stakeholders and the deployment of decentralized infrastructures that empower stakeholders and provide a zero-trust and secure network.
Gaining this level of trust through decentralization inputs into IoT devices deployment, a sustainable, convenient, and affordable model that can seamlessly integrate SDGs into smart city projects. Subsequently, this thought-through model implies that a vital implementation of smart projects' key performance indicators is a decentralized internet. This infrastructure offers a well-designed edge computing platform where an ample variety of nodes can be added to provide on-site resources.
As presented, the actuators within a smart city must consider the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to plan and design the project. In addition, another layer in which an agreement has to be stamped and acknowledged by all parties involved. This situation may cause discrepancies and, thus, elongate the process even more, but this can be tackled with well-designed networks. Using decentralized networks through quantum-safe blockchains, AI algorithms, Deep Learning, and Digital Twins, smart city and nation KPIs accelerate the decision-making.
Therefore, ITC implementation and usage must be present throughout the whole process. Moreover, it is paramount that Internet Technology Communications work through truly decentralized infrastructures for security and trust. In conclusion, starting a smart city and nation project with Key Performance Indicators provides clear goals, easy communication, stakeholders’ input simplification, and sustainability rating per KPI. It lays the foundation for the whole outcome.
Having set clear KPIs from all stakeholders before starting to form the smart project, the use of IoE can be better implemented. This offers an easier path to initiate the complex process of the ITC smart tools aligned with stakeholders’ KPIs and gives a stable formula where all parties within the project can best perform. IoECorp understands the above as the best way to undergo such an important project as a smart city or smart nation.
In this sense, basing IoT devices deployment into a Smart City project through decentralized networks presents better sustainability, scalability, cost-efficiency, security, privacy, stability, flexibility, and resilience solutions. A perfect solution that acts on all stakeholders’ KPIs, thus, smoothening the path to making a Smart City project a reality.
IoECorp (Internet of Everything Corp) was born through the merger of Quisnet Inc., a Salt Lake City-based entity focused on bringing new technologies to market, and Quantum1Net, a Silicon Valley and European startup dedicated to developing the service infrastructure of the Internet of Everything. The Internet of Everything is the securely decentralized software layer that lives on top of IoT devices, clusters them into computation resources and data-lake storage, and provides localized D2I (data to information) refinement processing with AI capabilities.
As presented above, many stakeholders perceive the importance of KPIs in smart cities differently. For example, KPIs for citizens can come through the actioning of free and secure Wi-Fi throughout the city and a reliable supply inside their homes. Energy and utility companies’ KPIs are ROI-based. They, therefore, require services that can comply with citizen demands and at the same time give them sufficient revenue to be competitive within their industry.
Other stakeholders like academia, research institutions, and non-profit organizations focus on creating a sustainable city, i.e., reducing carbon emissions. A situation that may conflict with property developers and financial suppliers/investors who aspire to reach deadlines will result in the maximum revenue possible. Local and regional administrations and policymakers need to balance the sustainability goals and the business side of city development to reach a consensus throughout the city’s stakeholder spectrum.
These intertwined necessities are not an easy task to handle to form a Smart City adapted to the present and future KPIs needs. In this sense, IoE Corp’s Eden System can help deliver a genuinely decentralized IoE orchestration to accelerate the IoT devices deployment, resulting in servicing stakeholders. Because it has been demonstrated that IoT devices are an excellent asset for Smart Cities, providing them with information that helps reduce managing costs, keep lowering the carbon footprint, and open new revenue business paths, among other incredible breakthroughs.
Unfortunately, there is a negative side to this implementation of devices, sensors, wearables, machines, etc., hindering the process. This prominent factor slowing down the IoT global deployment comes through the current technological solutions that are centralized and thus, can not assure stakeholders’ KPIs for Smart Cities. The major issues that are arising within centralized solutions are:
- Privacy and security.
- Real-time data to information 24/7 based.
This ongoing problem has been a constant since the beginning of mainstream Internet usage, and with IoT devices deployment, it is predicted to worsen. The fundamental vulnerability within centralized solutions is the fact that there is a central point, giving cyber-criminals and cyberterrorists a route to access the network and bringing it down or extracting sensitive data. A situation that can cause hazardous problems when talking about Smart City infrastructure — traffic, energy & utilities, emergency, government, or citizens.
These cyberattacks can come through four main actions ignited by cybercriminal or cyberterrorist organizations:
· Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are among the most direct attacks. An attacker just overloads the system with bogus requests, so valid requests disappear in the noise.
· Malware — Can be anything from simple viruses to complex botnets created with specific goals, where the creator is stealing compute power and bandwidth from you to attack someone else.
· Ransomware — Is malware, but it is so different in its implementation that it is worth mentioning. The goal with these pieces of software is to encrypt your system so that it can only be unlocked with a key held in ransom for money.
· DNS spoofing — By spoofing DNS calls, valid requests and data dumps can be sent to bad destinations. The data can be extracted for extortion or to corrupt and re-inject into a running system creating a data echo noise loop.
Other essential factors that centralized solutions are faced with when attempting to activate a Smart City are:
· Hardware failures — Critical Systems relying on high rate data and data quality are growing; traffic routing systems for cities are good examples.
· Hardware delivering erroneous data — Sensors break, and when they do, they don’t go silent; they keep going, delivering garbage data, and if that data is not filtered out, it becomes noise in the system.
· Bad Hardware injection — Faked sensor data can be pumped into a system to create noise in critical systems.
· Cost inhibitors — Running services that need massive centralized computing is cost inhibiting. Large, complex AI can be extremely expensive to run.
The problem is evident regarding privacy; having centralized solutions implies that all data has to be moved to the center, creating multiple privacy issues because there is a lot of sensitive data transmitted through Smart City networks. Data that the people or companies making it don’t want to move to a data center. An example of this can come through a microcontroller implanted in the brain, warning patients about impending seizures. With this type of sensitive data, people might not be willing to transmit it to the cloud.
Real-time data to information 24/7 based is paramount for the correct functioning of a Smart City, and centralized solutions can’t assure this. This reality derives from the physical data centers that require the data to move from the location to the data center, resulting in various vulnerabilities. One of them we have already mentioned, the distance causes the potential for cyberattacks, and another problem there is from a city to the server center.
The latter issue can ignite latency, which means the time the data returns to the locations is not in real-time, and if this data comes from traffic management or energy suppliers, the damage can be costly. There are various factors affecting the latency response or round-trip time (RTT):
· The transmission medium relates to the technology used to send and receive; thus, optical fiber connections reach different speeds than copper connections. Likewise, Wi-Fi frequency has other capacities and results compared to satellite communication.
· Local area network (LAN) traffic — This communications system can be prone to bottleneck situations, making it impossible to reach the larger Internet. An excellent example of this is when many users are using streaming video services simultaneously, causing RTT to be inhibited, regardless of the external network’s excess capacity and normal functioning.
· Server-response time is accounted for by the amount of time it takes a server to process and respond to a request, which is a potential bottleneck in network latency. One of the clearest examples is when a server is overwhelmed with requests, such as during a DDoS attack.
· Node count and congestion — Activating a connection through centralized solutions means it may be routed or “hop” through several intermediate nodes. The greater the node “hopping,” the slower it will be. Another hindering factor is network congestion from other network traffic, slowing down the connection and increasing RTT.
· Physical distance — The distance between a start and endpoint is a limiting factor in network connectivity that can only be reduced by moving content closer to the requesting users. Connections that are reasonably close to the server centers (approx. 100 miles (ca. 161 km)) have a response time of around 10-15 milliseconds, but if the distance is far (over 2,000 miles (ca. 3,219 km)), the response time can be fivefold.
As a result of these issues, derived from centralized solutions and using the example mentioned above of a microcontroller implanted in the brain which warns patients about impending seizures, making predictions locally would allow the device to work everywhere, irrespective of cloud connectivity. It also permits quicker alerts with local predictions than if all the sensor readings had to be transmitted to the cloud.
Continuing with the microcontroller, another benefit of moving from data centers to local connections is energy consumption. The energy required for executing an instruction might be much lower than that required to transmit a byte. Therefore, battery life is extended significantly, avoiding repeated brain surgery and the possibility of brain tissue damage due to excess heat dissipation from the communicating radio.
This problem can occur in other aspects of Smart City KPIs, such as traffic management, where video footage can produce bottlenecks due to bandwidth. This situation can result in standard traffic intersection data competing with accident traffic intersection data and not reaching first responders in real-time. This can mean the loss of lives due to the late arrival of an ambulance.
These are some of the issues that we at IoE Corp have seen, and thus, we based Eden System on a decentralized model. Based on scalable device clustering, where it is easy to add new devices as nodes. Making it possible for any device to contribute computing resources over an intelligent mesh network so that computing can happen where it is needed and close to where it will be used.
We developed quantum-safe tunnels using polymorphic encryption keys in terms of security and privacy. We use a blockchain with consensus to verify the data moved between the nodes over the tunnels, thus creating trusted data walled gardens.
Finally, the orchestration of computing and storage is done via service manifests that describe services rules, policies, and logic. An autonomous knowledge-based AI manages the underlying orchestration mechanics using network consensus over the blockchain as a deciding mechanism. The orchestration dynamically updates the cluster topography to fit the current workload.
Applying our technology to Smart City projects delivers stakeholders with a digital infrastructure capable of performing on the different KPIs. All through a sustainable human-first approach to seamlessly be added to the current network, making it cost-efficient and scalable. In summary, some benefits include:
- Agile service creation and deployment.
- Continuous development, integration, and deployment.
- Dev and Ops separation of concerns.
- Holistic observability approach.
- Environmental consistency across development, testing, and production
- Distribution portability for Cloud and OS.
- Service-centric management.
- Loosely coupled, distributed, elastic, liberated micro-services.
- Resource isolation predicts service performance.
- Resource utilization gives high efficiency and density.
Eden System is not a traditional, all-inclusive PaaS (Platform as a Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) system. Instead, Eden System is a secure-walled garden solution that operates at the service level rather than the hardware level; it provides features common to PaaS and IaaS offerings, such as deployment, scaling, and load balancing.
However, Eden System is not monolithic, and thus the default solutions are optional and pluggable. Eden System provides the building blocks for building and deploying a service but preserves user choice and flexibility where it is essential.
For more information about our Smart City approach, the three basic KPIs are economy, environment, and society and culture. Follow us to read the second part of this trilogy, “How to make a Smart City happen — Using KPIs to Scope.” You can also contact us and talk to our expert Smart City team to help you tailor our IoE Eden System to your specific present Smart City project needs.
You can also contact us and talk to our expert Smart City team, to help you tailor our IoE Eden System to your specific present Smart City project needs.