Smart City projects need to be decentralized due to the vulnerabilities centralized solutions have exposed. When dealing with Smart City projects, the IoT devices deployment scales into thousands or even millions of devices connected, that manage sensitive data. Decentralization offers a better solution to this huge data creation because it acts on one of the vital factors — security.

The immense data flow that IoT devices deployment is bringing, and will continue to inject into, in this case Smart Cities, needs to provide a network that assures the transmission of the information securely. Currently, cyberattacks are a constant, and they act upon public services, like transportation or energy. A problem that has to be solved, and centralized solutions are not providing it: malware, ransomware, distributed denial of service, and phishing, are a constant.

This less fortunate situation comes through due to the nature of centralized services that require the data creation to be sent to data centers (Cloud Service). The process of sending data from the location to data centers gives way to cybercriminals and cyberterrorists to target one single point to exploit.

A common trait between these attacks is that they exploit centralized infrastructure solutions, be it at index, data, service, or user level. The worst case is that it isn’t some lone “hacker” who does these active risks in a basement, we are talking about sophisticated and well-funded organizations with highly educated staff.

A common trait between these attacks is that they exploit centralized infrastructure solutions, be it at index, data, service, or user level. The worst case is that it isn’t some lone “hacker” who constitutes this active risk in a basement. Instead we are talking about sophisticated and well-funded organizations with highly educated staff.

Therefore, to believe that cyber-security in its current form of attacker/defender is going to work for a Smart City project is not rational. When any takeout of data flow or service will be directly and immensely disruptive to our economy, security and lives, it's to not take these risks seriously.

The decentralized solution for Smart City projects

So, how can a decentralized solution overcome the cyber-security vulnerabilities that come with centralized solutions?

Centralized solutions offer two options for IoT devices deployment:

· Cloud Services — A good solution for those who prioritize convenience.
· Self Hosted — A good solution for those who prioritize security.

The problem is that these both work within a centralized network, which means all data creation moves inside one main channel. A risk that threatens the whole infrastructure because once a cybercriminal or cyberterrorist accesses any part of the network, the possibility of taking the entire system down is a reality.

In contrast, decentralized networks can perform through a multitude of channels, giving the infrastructure the capacity to act upon malicious actions. For example, if one of the nodes connected to the network is infected with malware, a decentralized architecture is capable of alerting the whole network and isolating the malfunctioning node.

Looking at Smart Cities, the amount of connected devices is huge, as is, the data flow these generate. Therefore, within centralized solutions, bad actors have many options to target and takedown the whole city’s digital network, e.g., traffic light, parking, or door sensors. Once the cyberattack enters, one of these, it can run through the main net and infect all other devices and sensors.

Such a situation, can obviously create havoc within a city’s system, controlling traffic lights, parking lots, or building doors. This can be even worse if the attackers target administrative or public healthcare systems, i.e, government and hospitals. Decentralized architectures can eliminate these vulnerabilities, because they function with Service Manifest, that autonomously:

· Self Generates Service Manifests
· Self Controls Service Agreements
· Can be mutable or immutable (Smart Agreements)

Adding to the security of the decentralized Service Manifests, each one has its policies, devices, and logic. The data transmission validations go through all the nodes connected, and the data is immutably stored in a blockchain, which is accessed through one time use polymorphic encrypted keys.

The benefits of IoE Corp’s Eden System for Smart Cities

Internet of Everything Corp’s Eden System allows Smart Cities to become sustainable through our human-first technology, giving the city a voice. A voice that can be recognized by all stakeholders and offering data to information that is usable by them, and ignites a secure and private communication network.

At a more technical level, our programming language keeps costs and energy consumption to bare minimums, which contributes to lowering the carbon emission footprint. All this comes down to presenting breakthrough technology able to accelerate the IoT devices deployment inside sustainable grounds. In turn, IoT devices deployment will actuate on the patterns that cause the highest CO2 emissions in cities to reduce them.

Working within this decentralized structure, cyberattacks will become a thing of the past, giving way to a data flow that is able to work in real-time.

The above has presented the benefits' decentralization offers when talking about cybersecurity, now let’s dive into other advantages.

Decentralization works at the edge

We already pointed out that decentralized infrastructures are capable of providing Smart Cities with real-time data flow. This is possible because of edge computing, in essence a distributed computing platform, functioning locally. A system eliminating any downtime due to the movement of data from location to centralized server centers isn’t required. All the data flow stays at the location, being processed, analyzed (AI), and communicated where it is produced.

The security is achieved with the aforementioned blockchain and the polymorphic encrypted keys. Service Manifests inform, autonomously, how and where the data has to move, and with an AI analysis it is transformed form data to information. A refinement of the data that gives professionals and the system the possibility of actuating in real-time, as well as predicting future necessities.

Other benefits that come with a decentralized edge architecture is the installation process, that is simply added to the existing one. Providing an easy-to-use and seamless deployment, and also the possibility of adding more functionalities as the network grows. A cost-efficient process that uses all the nodes connected as power points and collectors of data, thus moving away from centralized server centers.

Being these digital architectures, based on decentralization, and working within well-designed edge computing platforms, each network can be curated to the specific needs of each Smart City project. In this sense, a decentralized Smart City architecture as our Eden System accelerates IoT devices deployment through the Internet of Everything, offering:

· Agile service creation and deployment: Only the addition to a normal container deployment is the Service Manifest generation.
· Continuous development, integration, and deployment: Provides for reliable and frequent depo build and deployment with quick and efficient rollbacks (due to depos immutability).
· Dev and Ops separation of concerns: Create service depo’s at build/release time rather than deployment time, thereby decoupling services from infrastructure.
· Observability not only cluster information and metrics: Also application health and other signals.
· Environmental consistency across development, testing, and production: Runs the same on a laptop as it does in the wild.
· Cloud and OS distribution’s portability: Runs on Linux, BSD, on-premises, on public clouds, and anywhere else.
· Service-centric management: Raises the level of abstraction from running an OS on virtual hardware to running a service on a Decentralized network.
· Loosely coupled, distributed, elastic, liberated micro-services: Applications are broken into smaller, independent pieces and can be deployed and managed dynamically — not a monolithic stack running on one big single-purpose machine.
· Resource isolation: Give a predictable service performance.
· Resource utilization: Produces high efficiency and density.

Decentralization creates trust for citizens

For a Smart City to thrive, there are other implications that need to be synchronized with the technology, and these are the city dwellers. It is vital for the inhabitants and visitors of the Smart City to interact with a decentralized architecture, doing so injects more and better data to information input. But to achieve this, citizens have to trust the digital infrastructure, and for this to happen, they need to know where and who receives the data, and why the sharing of the data.

Once more, centralized solutions (Cloud Services), do not offer this type of open source functionality, and as a result don’t offer the required trust a Smart City dweller requires. Truly decentralized infrastructures are an open source transparent option, deleting the middlemen and acting on a peer-to-peer basis. Therefore, the communication between citizens and public and private entities is built-on trust-zero technology, i.e., blockchain technology. Thus, administrative proposals ignite at an open source level, for all stakeholders to act on and provide the sufficient privacy and security for everyone to interact.

Through a simple application, city dwellers can also input information on a real-time basis that generates data to information, e.g., informing about misuse of space, traffic congestion, or criminality. Utilizing decentralized networks boost the capacity of the digital communications process, and results in the betterment of all.

Diving deeper, and looking at the concept of sharing that has risen in the past years, where sharing housing and transportation has become a normal service, creating a trusted digital network that deletes middlemen and is open source begs the question: ” Why not share data and even monetize it?”, and where better to do so, than in a Smart City? The benefits of decentralized infrastructures is still a work-in-progress, and many actors need to understand and accept these benefits.

Crunching IoT numbers

To be able to understand the scope that IoT devices deployment is having and will have, let’s look at some numbers. Before we do, it is important to remember that The United Nations estimates that 66% of the world population will live in cities by 2050, and that the rise in urban citizens went from 746 million in the 1950s to 3.9 billion in the 2010s.

The Internet of Things devices deployment in numbers indicates that in the 2020s, we will see a rise of just under a triple fold. The IoT devices deployment, in 2020 rose to 8.74 billion and by 2030, it will reach 25.4 billion.

Its use covers all types of industry verticals and consumer markets, and leading this deployment is the consumer segment, accounting to approximately 60 percent of all IoT connected devices in 2020. Major industry verticals with currently more than 100 million connected IoT devices are:

· Electricity.
· Gas.
· Steam & A/C.
· Water supply & waste management.
· Retail & wholesale.
· Transportation & storage.
· Government.

Other use cases with more than one billion IoT devices by 2030 will be:

-> Connected (autonomous) vehicles.
-> IT infrastructure.
-> Asset tracking & monitoring.
-> Smart grid.

This information about the IoT devices deployment is intertwined with Smart Cities, and the question is: “How can centralized solutions cope with these numbers and most importantly, how will they keep the data zettabytes safe?”

We at Internet of Everything Corp believe that the logical way to be able to accomplish such a magnitude of data flow and its security, is through decentralized human-first architecture. This is why we have built IoE Corp Eden System, a decentralized, autonomous, portable, secure, virtual infrastructure for managing clustered workloads over depos (decentralized pods) and services that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. We call this Informed Infrastructure.

Learn more about IoE Corp Smart City solutions or get in touch with our Smart City Experts. We are here to help the IoT devices deployment acceleration inside Smart City projects, where we create Informed Infrastructure through our Eden System. A groundbreaking technology that will seamlessly install into your city for all stakeholders to thrive and be part of a brighter future for all.

Talk to us to discover our range of solutions