Globally, the internet of Things (IoT) consumer market is anticipated to reach almost $1.6 trillion by 2025 according to Statista. Homes and buildings are increasingly utilizing smart technology to protect people and valuables, reduce energy costs, improve health and hygiene, and save time. Examples include security cameras, expanded entertainment options, and automation/optimization of temperature and lighting.
Statista predicts that globally 70 percent of light-duty vehicles and trucks will be connected to the Internet by 2023. Connected vehicles communicate and share Internet access and data with other devices inside and outside of them. Some benefits include real-time traffic information and route optimization, use of apps to remotely lock or start vehicles, parking assistance, emergency service requests, interface with parking meters and electric vehicle charging docks along with entertainment options. Communication with other vehicles and road infrastructure will become critical as autonomous vehicles become a reality that will increase transportation possibilities for the disabled.
The use of smart technology in urban areas around the world is growing and presents many new opportunities and challenges. Potential benefits associated with smart cities include enhanced quality of life by improving operational efficiencies, reducing costs, increasing sustainability, and creating safer surroundings. Some examples include:
- Monitor and improve public safety, health, and transportation
- Monitor vehicle traffic and provide real-time traffic reports
- Reduce road congestion by utilizing traffic signals and road sensors that adjust and respond to real-time traffic
- Monitor pedestrian traffic
- Use of cameras to determine crowd density and investigate crimes
- Maximize utilization of municipal resources and services
- Automatically dim and brighten streets lights by detecting motion based on activity
- Improve air and water quality, lessen noise pollution, decrease energy consumption, and reduce refuse and odors
- Enable citizens to interact with smart cities using apps on smart phones and mobile devices.
- Parking sensors that provide real-time info on apps to locate available parking spaces
The greater the number of connected devices in a city, the bigger the risk that a data breach could potentially expose personal data. As smart cities become more prevalent, they create new opportunities for exploitation by cybercriminals. Privacy and security challenges as well as surveillance concerns are inherent factors. The data acquired can be used for optimization of resources, infrastructure planning, and enhanced public safety; however, smart cities also collect information about citizens. Facial recognition technology is a reality, and many United States cities are banning it. Currently, Portland, OR has the most restrictive laws in the country prohibiting private and government use.
A future filled with connected devices demands that the benefits be balanced with privacy and security concerns. Regulations and laws will need to be created or strengthened to further protect citizens. And it is inevitable that cybercriminals will quickly adapt to take advantage of the evolving threat landscape.