The continuous population growth within urban areas has become one of the key factors driving the development of smart cities, and a fundamental approach to these is sustainability. Having an expected 60%+ population increase in urban spaces by 2050, forces policymakers to gather strongholds towards sustainable smart cities [link to Smart City Solutions].

To achieve these sustainability goals, smart cities need to overcome various issues that can be resumed in four foundational concerns: economic — healthy, dynamic and responsible economy, social — promoting social inclusion and quality of life, environmental — actioning ecological practices to protect its environment, and institutional — transparency governance and engaged residents.

Acting upon these four pillars to construct a well-thought-after smart city project cries for substantial changes within the technological approaches taken, and Internet of Everything Corp (IoECorp), through its Eden System, is performing them. IoECorp’s Eden is a decentralized, autonomous, portable, secure, virtual infrastructure for managing clustered workloads over depos (decentralized pods) and services that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation.

Resulting in a human-first smart city architectural network, servicing solutions to the economy, society, environment, and institutions. This, we are able to achieve by empowering citizens, institutions, and corporations inside a data-trusted walled garden at a decentralized level and within an immutable and quantum secure framework. Technological solutions that promote individual’s necessities on citizen, business, and institutional levels.

Igniting IoECorp’s Eden System on a smart city project begins a journey where stakeholders (citizens, businesses and governmental institutions, etc.) have their own voice. On top of this, they are able to communicate through secure tunnels that are built on private and secure frameworks, allowing for a trustworthy conversation that strives to reach sustainable goals. All within an easy-to-use, fast, and scalable tech-solution driven by the Internet of Everything working on the Edge and with data to information refinement [link to Data to information refinement].

Why IoE Corp’s Eden System?

We are not the first company to offer cities smart solutions to achieve economic, social, environmental, and institutional goals. The Smart City industry has been functioning for several years, and big corporations have planned technological solutions to implement in countries like the United States and Canada. These have failed, basically due to the centralized nature of the big corporations.

Centralized architectures create vulnerabilities that cannot be accepted in Smart City projects that have human lives at stake. We are talking about traffic management, healthcare, government administration, housing, or energy supplies, which all need to be at a real-time data level. Having centralized infrastructures, moving data from the location to server centers does not offer real-time data, and simultaneously opens the doors to cybercriminals and cyberterrorists. A situation that raises too many risks for a city to implement current centralized technologies.

Internet of Everything Corp has resolved these problems by creating a truly decentralized architecture, permitting data to stay in its location by implementing well-designed edge computing platforms. With these implementations, data is capable of running in real-time and even more important, analyzing data to transform it from data to information. A change that allows professionals to actuate when it is required, and inside our Eden System, assuring full security. This is what we call Informed Infrastructure.

In addition, moving into edge computing aids sustainability as server centers become less vital, therefore, carbon emission’s footprint reduction becomes a reality. Other fundamental aspects, such as cost-efficiency, are tackled by our Eden System because the cost in dollars and time to deploy and maintain a Smart system as a city, through centralized solutions can be insanely high.

Our Eden System clustered edge sustainable computing can be implemented to remove these barriers, which also affect other risks beyond cyber. Such as malfunctioning hardware, or malicious injection of data, and active risks of ransomware and other malware. We can help you get a clear understanding of how transitioning to Eden sustainable computing can help with a Smart City deployment’s costs.

Smart Cities sustainable digitalization

To better understand the complex implementation of digitalization into city infrastructure, we need to be aware of the huge data input that IoT devices will generate. At present, on average, we are producing 2,5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis, and IoT devices deployment is still far away from global coverage. Therefore, if we continue to build on top of centralized solutions, the issues that will arise can be environmental, economical and life-threatening.

Currently, the problems that centralized solutions have to face, briefly mentioned above, are security and privacy, physical devices' failure and real-time data to information assurance. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Security and privacy in Smart Cities

The information generated within digitalized cities is case-sensitive in many aspects, such as, traffic, healthcare, homes, or government. Being it so, the digitalization has to be bulletproof, assuring all stakeholders that their information is secure and private. Centralized solutions cannot provide to a Smart City certainty of data being secure or sensitive information not leaking, and this is a reality that derives from the necessity to move data to server centers.

This round-rip time (RRT) causes the incapacity to offer real-time data to information, and which we will see later on, opens the path for cybercriminals and cyberterrorists. The trigger that ignites cyberattacks lies in centralization itself, because it gives these bad actors the possibility to target one single point. Once this single point of entry is hacked, the potential for the whole network to breakdown or be kept in ransom is paramount. There are various ways for these organizations to enter the system, including DDoS attacks, ransomware, malware, and DNS spoofing.

DDoS attacks

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks is one of the most simple attacks, where an attacker just overloads the system with bogus requests so that valid requests disappear in the noise. Creating a block and resulting in the network being unable to function, this can be catastrophic if, for example, a traffic management Smart City system receives one. Blocking a whole network of traffic lights can result in chaos in a question of minutes.

There are examples of such DDoS attacks occurring to centralized cloud providers like AWS, taking down the system for entire days. Therefore, the security standards a Smart City requires to become a sustainable asset for the planet, cannot take the risk of being affected by such cyberattacks. Another clear example is the energy supply network running in a city. This can create life-threatening situations if the energy input is blocked during winter time.

Malware

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. The use of this technique is focused on:

· Stealing or making money.
· Espionage.
· Create disruption.
· Bypass access controls.
· Harm computers, devices, or networks.
· Activism, AKA hacktivism.

· Gray market “business,” such as:

· Distributing unrequested advertisements and promotions.
· Offering fake software utilities.
· Enticing users into accessing chargeable content online.

Many of these scenarios are applicable to Smart City networks, and the consequences of a malware attack are obviously inadmissible.

Ransomware

Although it is a malware, it is so different in its implementation that it is worth its own mention. The goal with these pieces of software is to encrypt your system so that it can only be unlocked with a key that is held ransom for money. Again you come to the same conclusion, regarding Smart City networks, because having networks in Smart Cities ransom can imply that vital systems are locked, like healthcare, administrative, or public transportation.

The only viable way to end this type of attack, unfortunately, is by paying the ransom indicated by the cybercriminal organization, and these don’t come cheap:

· In 2020, the UCSF (University of California San Francisco) paid $1.14 million in bitcoin to free its systems.
· The currency exchange service, Travelex, in late-2019 paid a ransom of $2.3 million, after 2 weeks of trying to liberate their system.
· In mid-2021, the fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline had no other way of halting the attack but by paying $4.4 million.

DNS spoofing

By spoofing Domain Name System (DNS) calls, valid requests and data dumps can be sent to bad destinations, where the data can be extracted for extortion or to corrupt and re-inject to a running system, creating a data echo noise loop. This causes the name server to return an incorrect result record, e.g., an IP address, resulting in traffic being diverted to the attacker's computer.

The consequences of DNS spoofing can be better understood by looking at some examples of real attacks and their results:

· 2006, three local banks in Florida were victim to a DNS spoof attack, resulting in the collection of credit card numbers and PINs.
· In mid-2018, the American health insurance provider, Humana, was victim to a spoof attack, stealing complete medical records of Humana’s clients, including the details of their health claims, services received, and related expenses.
· 2015, DNS spoofing techniques redirected traffic from the official website of Malaysia Airlines, blocking access to the website and flight status checks for a few hours.

Physical devices' failure

The possibility of IoT devices failing due to various causes is a reality and with the amount of devices, machines, wearables, sensors, etc. being deployed, it is extremely difficult to control. Some examples of these problems are:

-> Hardware failures — Hardware failures — Critical Systems relying on high rate data and data quality is growing, traffic routing systems for cities are good examples of such systems. Having this data running on a 24/7 base opens the potential for hardware failure.
-> Hardware delivering erroneous data — Sensors break, and when they do so they don’t go silent, they keep going. Which generates garbage-data delivery, 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, with the goal to create noise in critical systems.
-> Cost inhibitors — Running services that need huge centralized computing is cost inhibiting, and the use of large complex AI can be extremely expensive to run.

Real-time data to information assurance

The obstacles that are hindering the assurance of real-time data to information come through the amount of data generated, and the way this information is processed. Centralized solutions have to solve two basic problems — latency and refinement of data.

What is latency?

Latency is a problem that derives from the distance between the server responder and the end-user requesting. This causes a delay known as round-trip time (RTT), a time that is counted in milliseconds, which is not a lot, but when talking about Smart Cities there are critical systems that need to have real-time data and can not afford to wait even milliseconds.

Other factors that have to be taken into account, and can affect, when calculating the RTT, are through what type of connection is the transmission made, e.g., fiber or copper, or Wi-Fi or Satellite. Local area network (LAN) traffic can create bottlenecks due to, for example, mass use of simultaneous video streaming.

The response time of the server is another potential bottleneck, due to a request overload that might occur because of a DDoS attack. The number of nodes and congestion are also critical to RTT, as is the aforementioned physical distance that can be five fold slower when the distance is over 2,000 miles (ca. 3,219 km).

Data to information refinement

Lastly, there is the issue of data to information refinement, and a good example is smart traffic. Smart traffic is based on a constant data flow from every intersection in a city so that data can be processed and in an ultimate scenario, the result is returned to control, for example the traffic lights. The problem arises because of generating huge amounts of data that needs bandwidth to be moved to a cloud provider's servers.

The intersection data will be arriving from thousands of intersections every ​​second, and then this data will have additional costs with the AI computing to extract the information from the AI. But as traffic, for the most part, of a 24-hour cycle, runs smoothly this is an extremely wasteful solution, not just from a cost perspective but from a sustainable computing point of view.

All these issues are directly related to sustainability and need to be addressed to keep on track with the sustainability goals. The IoE Corp solution is based on Data 2 Information (D2I) refinement happening in tiers, so an intersection does not just push any data it generates. Instead, that data is generated into useful information before it leaves the intersection, so that the data from an empty intersection is not competing for computing power with an intersection where there has been an accident.

Sustainable computing is not just a principle to lower pollution, sustainable computing is cost-effective, more efficient and stable than any cloud solution can ever be. These are some reasons why it is imperative for Smart Cities that want to be a sustainable asset for the planet, to take action and make use of the groundbreaking technologies that are at hand, like IoE Corp’s Eden System. You can start the transition, contacting our expert team that will provide you with a more detailed approach for your Smart City project, or read more through our Smart City Planning [link to Smart City Planning].

You can start the transition, contacting our expert team that will provide you with a more detailed approach for your Smart City project, or read more through our Smart City Planning.

Talk to us to discover our range of solutions