The city of Santander boasts 20,000 fixed and mobile sensors throughout the city – on buses, in parks, waste bins and in buildings. These sensors capture bus locations, humidity in the air and soil, pollution etc. They tell bus riders when their bus will arrive; they tell city park workers when to water the gardens. They also dim lights when there is no one on the street at night, and turn them on when cars or pedestrians pass. They create a complex internet of things and a rich source of data. Together with the platform enabling the aggregation, analysis and visualization of these data, they (will) provide a valuable tool at the disposal of city leaders, enterprises, developers and citizens. Today Smart Santander is a living lab (with an application pending to be part of the European Network of Living Labs).
Having launched in September 2010 with €6 million budget (primarily from the EU) and 15 partners, the project is now in its 3rd and final phase. With its sensor network, the city demonstrates the benefits of the Internet of Things across several initiatives:
Urban mobility: Sensors on buses and in taxis make it easier for citizens and tourists to find transportation; parking sensors help drivers find available places more quickly.
Water management: Sensors embedded in urban gardens detect soil humidity and enable more efficient watering; the broader water initiative envisions smart water meters in homes and buildings, and use of the sensors by Aqualia, the city’s water company.
I was lucky enough to spend some time in Kerala working with Indian classical musicians many years ago. I first arrived during the monsoon season, and along with the world-class thunderstorms that I watched from a thin rubber bath mat on the roof, I could see the jungles getting greener and the people happier. For thousands of years, monsoons have had significant economic, emotional, and cultural importance in India. Rain determines whether there will be food to eat, and monsoon season typically used to signal the long-awaited return home of soldiers to their wives. Classical music in India, unlike its Western counterpart, is always very attuned to time, place, and mood. Rāgas, the name given to Indian classical forms, have rules to help guide improvisations in the moment and the monsoon season has inspired the Malhar group of ragas, a formulation specifically attuned to the emotions, environment, and context of the monsoon season.
Marketing and advertising, like Indian music, has always been contextual. As far back as 1867, billboards were being rented by marketers in dense urban areas outside train stations, and even earlier, direct mail took demographics into account to determine which regions and people to deliver flyers to. The truth is, though, that targeting brush strokes were broad, with flesh and bone staff doing a much better job of understanding a moment, a customer’s intent, and what the best thing to say would be.
A little while ago I bumped into a journalist friend at a trade conference. We chatted about the event to try and identify hot topics and trends from our discussions and supplier meetings, and both sat there deflated when the stories that came to the surface were the same old ones of fear-mongering around APT and “cyber” threats.
“CISOs have a habit of missing the boat,” I said, thinking of how virtualization, social media, and consumerization had all crept into wide-scale adoption before many security teams had managed to turn their attention to them, “so, what topic should we be looking ahead to that CISOs are not talking about?” This question was much more interesting and we came to realize that the elephant that is currently pushing its way into the room is the Internet of Things (IoT).
My friend pointed out that he had raised this topic with several CISOs and was surprised at their lack of appreciation for the potential change that the IoT could bring to industry, consumers, and the Security & Risk (S&R) role — as the digital and physical world entwine, for example, we can envisage huge safety risks that the CISO would be best placed to address. We also decided that the stakes were surprisingly high, as the IoT has the potential to revolutionize technology innovation to such an extent that the eCommerce and social media bubbles will appear both sluggish and trivial by comparison.