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Smart Cities

What does living in smart cities mean for privacy?

In the 2000s we are witnessing an exponential growth of the use of information technologies – smart cities or smart ports are becoming the norm. These are slowly pervading all aspects of modern life, including smart refrigerators, smart doorbells, smart plugs, smart bathrooms, etc. The revolution has also affected a larger societal section, with smart cities and smart ports also gaining traction in progress. We have already talked about certain smart technologies that affect port operations, such as Digital Twins, Drones and Smart Containers. Nevertheless, we haven’t yet asked the question: What does this spread of smart technologies mean for us as individuals?

This month, we have caught up with Brad Smith from Turn on VPN to talk about what these advancements mean for our privacy.

If you would like to know more about what VPNs are, check out the guide written by VPN Thrive.

Then, have a look at the article by Brad Smith, reproduced below: 

 

Written by: Brad Smith

Written by: Brad Smith

The idea behind a smart city is one where technology is extensively used to improve the quality of life of people living in an urban area and ease the provision of everyday services. This can mean sophisticated connectivity across the city, automated systems, highly available online resources and so much more.

However, this kind of setup also comes with a few challenges that aren’t normally so pronounced in a traditional city with privacy being the biggest one. How does living in a modern city affect people’s rights to privacy especially in places where privacy laws are not that strict?

Smart cities trends and their privacy implications

There are certainly many components that make a modern smart city in 2020, especially the ones that are built from the ground up. However, three of them do stand out in the way they affect your privacy as you go about your day to day life. Also, keep in mind that some of these technologies have been heavily deployed in traditional cities.

Increased citywide public surveillance and tracking

There is a lot of interest in using citywide public surveillance systems in smart cities across the world. These technologies have especially taken centerstage in the Middle East, China, and some European countries. Sophisticated public surveillance and tracking technologies are being deployed in smart cities to help the authorities in enforcement efforts and for other reasons.

However, such technologies, though useful in some places, do raise a lot of questions in the way they are deployed and how they are used especially with privacy and personal freedom in focus. Indeed, the debate around citywide surveillance has attracted some fair amount of controversy with some progressive governments even going as far as banning the use of these technologies in public.

Citywide connectivity and high-speed internet

The rolling out of 5G and other connectivity solutions in smart cities is integral to their development. A smart city without a stable, high-speed internet that is accessible to everyone is not a smart city. Today, even traditional cities that are trying to transition into modern cities have put a lot of resources into communication technologies such as 5G, public Wi-Fi, and other supporting infrastructure.

Government services moving to the cloud 

A smart city must have a big percentage of government services available via the internet. Indeed, most smart city projects today are geared towards moving entire government services to the cloud. This of course means an increase in data collection.

Increased popularity of smart ports

Another smart city trend is the invention of smart ports. A smart port is one that makes use of automation and innovative technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and Big Data to improve performance. The industry of container shipping and ports has been slow on the uptake in embracing change. Still, new systems, solutions, and technologies are emerging that will change the face of shipping in the future, ensuring the sector is more connected than ever before.

The smart port aims to generate transparent and efficient services that add value to the clients. An intelligent port features automated management of all entries and exits at the terminals, monitoring, and managing queues. The smart port removes the need for paperwork during container deliveries and collections, as well as automatic lighting.

In port cities like Montreal, emerging technologies provide useful real-time data for lorries to help them plan their trips and avoid traffic congestions, and lower carbon emissions.

This real-time data and smart sensors go a long way in monitoring crucial infrastructure, enabling the port operators to schedule predictive maintenance and reduce the need for yearly inspections. The data from the sensors, such as pile head sensors in the quays, allows the ports to track the eventual tear and tear and track the impact of cargo yet to be unloaded.

Privacy concerns over today’s smart cities

All of the technologies being deployed in smart cities today require the collection of data on a large scale. This, as expected, raises a lot of questions in terms of privacy going forward for people living in these so-called smart cities. How do you ensure that your right to privacy isn’t lost when everything’s made to collect your data?

Ways to protect your privacy

One way to stay private is to use tools like a VPN or encrypted messaging software. One of the major functions of VPNs is to encrypt your data and online traffic. This is especially important when you want to stay anonymous while connecting to public networks. With a messaging app that offers end-to-end encryption, you can also keep your conversations private.

There is no doubt that living in a smart city is more convenient and sustainable than in a traditional one. As you enjoy all the benefits that come with the advanced connectivity in these urban dwellings, don’t forget the importance of staying private.

The jobs of the Future

Talking about the jobs of the future has become fashionable. What will a white-collar professional look like? For many years now, researches have been predicting that new technologies, constantly evolving, will be incorporated into our daily lives to the extent that they will substantially change the way we work. Nevertheless, it is still not clear what, how and when these changes will take place.

The end of February saw the Mobile World Congress, which was held in Barcelona. Following the gathering we now know that networks with 5G technologies will be deployed quickly. The Port of Barcelona has set aside considerable investment in the network’s installation. From then on we can look forward to robots, automation processes, sensorisation, big data, IoT, drones and so on and so forth.

A news item from the Spanish online magazine El País Digital dated 25 February 2019 further underlined the issue: “Before the halfway point of the year is passed, the Ford and Nissan plants (with more than 10,000 workers between the two) will reveal what future awaits them. Doubts about the future of diesel and the risks about how the transition to electric cars will be dealt with and whether the Spanish industry will be able to climb on the bandwagon to produce them. “

Employees who know how to make cars with traditional internal combustion engines will now have produce electric cars. The electrical engineering skills for these new vehicles might be better found among employees of a washing machine factory rather than the workforce of current-day carmakers. We are living in a world of disruptive changes that demand a very high adaptability.

We are told that many of the current jobs will disappear and new ones will be created, but we do not know which ones, nor do we know the specific skills that will have to be acquired. Even if we had the advantage of foresight, it would not be easy to react either as surely, we do not yet have readily available teachers or experts prepared to train others in these subjects.

I, as the director, am fortunate because the Escola Europea has a magnificent vantage point to see and assess the situation in many training centres in Europe and across the Mediterranean shores. A significant number of students and teachers pass through our classrooms. We spend a lot of time together, and this gives us the opportunity to get to know each other and to talk a little about a myriad of topics.  I’ve seen that the majority is worried about the future, and about whether the students are well prepared for what faces them in the road ahead.

Our teachers are exceptional, but nevertheless they are aware that the problem is universal and affects everyone. They also are faced with the challenge of teaching skills that they themselves have not yet fully mastered. The VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) imposes itself.

According to the study by the Barcelona business school IESE “The Future of Occupation and Future Professional Skills” ( February 2019), what we can see is that the knowledge gap in technology and digitalization is following a continuous upward trend. “48% of companies detect deficiencies in vocational training graduates. Likewise, companies consider that the knowledge gap in areas such as big data, digital marketing, artificial intelligence or blockchain will be even bigger in five years, which increases the challenge of improving the education system”. Companies consider that they have to play a more active role in the definition of future professional competences and in the contents of training. They need, on the part of the education system, a more complete, holistic and practical training, with emphasis on the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed in the coming years. A more intense collaboration of the different actors is needed. 87% of the companies that participated in the study considered it important for them play a more active role in defining the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes that are in demand in the industry. They expressed their willingness to collaborate in the creation of training plans with the educational centres in this vital task.

The message is clear. The responsibility for training belongs not only to the educational institutions, but also to the companies themselves, and to the workers already active in the sector who should get their associations and professional networks involved.

We all owe recognition to those professionals who devote part of their time to training others. At the Escola we know this very well and are indebted to the individuals who come to lecture in our classrooms or carry out the practical workshops, and share their professional expertise and advice with us and our students. I ask you for the recognition and gratitude they deserve for the work they do.

If you are interested in this topic, it is worth spending some time on the report that the world economic forum produced in 2018 (https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2018).

We must think of strategies that will allow us to facilitate the transition into this new technology-dominant professional landscape. And we have to be prepared for the surprises that will inevitably come up. Personally, I strongly believe that we will have a much better world, albeit a drastically different one from what we have today.

 

Eduard Rodés Director Escola Europea – Intermodal Transport

 

How Smart Start-Ups Are Changing Maritime

The role of smart start-ups in driving the development of the maritime sector should not be understated, especially with regard to intelligent applications powered by the Internet of Things (IoT).

As highlighted by a recent competition to form the world’s first digital shipping company, launched by IoT specialist Loginno, there is a demand for companies who can bring new solutions to the table.

The Start-Up Space

Of the multitude of start-ups vying for opportunities within the space of IoT and Big Data, many are part of projects designed to leverage their potential for industry-shifting innovation.

These initiatives are often supported by major companies, and in February 2019 satellite communications provider Inmarsat revealed its partnership with two start-up programmes focused on IoT and the optimization of data.

The need for “fresh perspectives”, as argued by Inmarsat’s Senior Director of Digital Incubation Ali Grey, can be served best by new businesses currently breaking into the sector and shaking its very foundation.

IoT is widely viewed as a key pivot for the industry and target for those wishing to instigate serious change; ABI Research has predicted that IoT applications will be able to track over 500 million different assets by 2023, highlighting its potential.

Solutions for Ports

If IoT is tipped to make waves across the global economy, what kind of impact is this movement likely to have on ports, and what role will be played by start-up organizations?

Maciej Kranz of Cisco Systems describes digitization, and especially IoT, as “powerful enablers that forward-thinking port operators are using in order to improve efficiencies”: the benefits of implementing IoT applications to support cargo-handling processes are various.

One of the areas in which IoT can be leveraged most usefully is the management of port traffic, as the data collected from ships, containers and other vehicles entering and exiting ports can produce a holistic overview of cargo movement that provides a transparent and visible basis for optimization.

IoT is also a technology which complements other advanced systems used by port and terminal operators, functioning alongside automated equipment and TOS systems to allow more effective communication between machines and humans, or even machines and other machines.

Although major companies will often be enlisted to oversee the implementation of advanced technologies, which have to be integrated into port operations without causing serious disruption, start-ups will play an important part in delivering new solutions.

Speaking about the position occupied by start-ups at Smart Ports and Supply Chain Technologies 2018, former Managing Director of Port XL Mare Straetmans emphasized the necessity for collaboration between corporations and emerging businesses.

The Future of IoT Innovation

While start-ups are important components of the rapidly growing IoT ecosystem, development is also being driven by academic bodies and government groups exploring its applications for a broad range of industries, including container shipping.

Autonomous shipping, which is quickly transforming from a futuristic fantasy into a reality, is a good example of the technical platform provided by IoT solutions.

A joint-venture involving the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute and Aalto Universityis seeking to deploy IoT-powered sensor technology as means of ensuring the safe navigation of autonomous vessels, an innovation which is already being trialled.

However, educational bodies and public institutions are also choosing to collaborate with start-ups on groundbreaking projects like this, with solution provider Fleetrange contributing to this initiative by developing techniques for autonomous navigation.

It is evident then that the insight provided by these young, energetic and, above all else, innovative companies, as well as their ability to cut through the noise of the industry, is fostering an environment that is adapting to evolving demands and becoming increasingly modern. It seems likely that success will follow.

Source: Port Technology

The Dawning of 5G

As the digitization of industry and the global economy continues, a necessity for reliable, faster and more secure networks to connect businesses and the global supply chain continues to grow.

It is no surprise then that major companies and service providers, such as IBM and Vodafone, are forming joint-venture initiatives to test and develop a 5G ecosystem which, according to President of Mobile Networks with Nokia, Tommi Uitto, can generate new potential for automated operations and artificial intelligence.

While the worldwide implications of 5G technology are myriad, with leading companies Nokia and China Mobile seeking to create a more open and interoperable form of architecture for high-speed networks, its application to the ports and terminals sector could be game-changing.

As Dr. Yvo Saanen, Founder of simulation specialists TBA Group explains above, there is a need to connect a port’s assets, machines and people to systems, thereby increasing the safety and efficiency of cargo-handling operations.

The ability of 5G to optimize operations and “transmit data safely within milliseconds” is already being trialled as part of the Wireless for Verticals (WIVE) research project, one of many initiatives demonstrating the technology’s value as a catalyst for improved performance.

Faster and Smarter Networks

It would be easy to focus on the speed of 5G alone, especially when the development of this technology is likely to produce much shorter network response times for a wide variety of industries, including the logistics and port sectors.

However, as the University of Surrey’s world-leading 5G Innovation Centre underlines, the next evolution of connectivity is more significant than catering to the individual needs of everyday consumers: 5G is as much about “machine-to-machine” as it is “people-to-people”.

The flexibility of 5G networks, to “evolve, adapt and grow” is vital to the progress and implementation of this next technological phase which will allow applications to perform the “bandwidth-heavy” tasks demanded in the future.

Other benefits of 5G, as explored by key industry players like Nokia, include its prediction capabilities, security and reliability, positioning the technology as a crucial foundation for the development of machine learning tools.

Marc Rouanne, the ex-President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, once stated that “AI and machine learning will enable a myriad of new service opportunities”, in addition to reducing end user costs and minimizing the consumption of energy.

Revolutionizing Ports

Like a whole host of other industries seeking to ride the wave of digitization, businesses in the maritime sector, such as service providers, are hoping to leverage 5G to their collective benefit.

Kalmar, a provider of lifting solutions, is already trialling 5G applications and building a “technology road map” that will make the next stage of connectivity part of the “industrial standard of the future”.

Forecasting the revolutionary potential of 5G, Kalmar’s Director of Automation Research Pekka Yli-Paunu has predicted that “advances in connectivity give us the opportunity to develop the next generation of remote control that may utilise not only video, but audio and haptics as well”.

In addition to this, major ports are conducting their own 5G trials, testing its capability to drive advancement in other areas and provide a bedrock for smarter, more efficient operations.

The Port of Hamburg has already hailed the success of their project, with intermediate results indicating that “5G enables new types of mobile applications for the Hamburg Port Authority’s business”.

Looking ahead, Hamburg has isolated “5G network slicing” as an area that will have a particular impact on operations, laying the “foundation for new IoT applications” and “business models” that will boost the competitiveness of the entire port industry.

Unlocking the Potential

The cooperation of key players from multiple industrial and technological fields is currently forming an access point to 5G for businesses in all sectors.

Nokia has emphasized their work with “a lot of partners in the ports and terminals space, such as Konecranes, to enable the development of a connected ecosystem,” with the company “well positioned to understand the applications and savings made possible by mission-critical wireless technologies”.

According to Nokia’s statistics, ports and harbours make up a significant proportion of its vertical enterprise customers, all of which are currently deploying private LTE networks for their operational campus needs.

In the case of ports like HaminaKotka (located in Finland) the focus of “operational needs” once again shifts to connectivity, correlating to the intelligent machine Dr. Yvo Saanen imagines in his assessment of 5G.

Based on the sound situational awareness of container handling, warehouse logistics, and port security which machine-to-machine and machine-to-person connectivity offers, operations can be improved across multiple areas, from safety and efficiency to environmental performance and cost-effectiveness.

The extent of 5G’s potential impact on ports and terminals is still uncertain, but as operators and service providers search for smarter solutions, and ways to leverage automated technologies, the key word for the future is connectivity.

Source: Port Technology

The value of openness in transport data

The value of openness is best demonstrated by arguably the biggest technological revolution of modern times – the internet. Had the early technical pioneers at ARPANET and CERN who developed the technical protocols that make the internet – and the Worldwide Web that it underpins – kept them proprietary, the internet as we know it would not exist. Giles Bailey, CEO & Director of International Relations at TravelSpirit, James Gleave, Founder and Director of Transport Futures, and Beate Kubitz, COO of TravelSpirit, explain why transport companies now need to do the same, or risk cutting off channels to potentially industry-changing innovation.

Imagine that your access to the vast services and content of the internet was entirely dependent on which browser you used, and that each one required you to hand over your personal and financial information. This might mean that you could only access your email through Firefox, your bank through Chrome, Facebook and Twitter through Safari, etc. Following a link to an outside site would require you to download and register a new browser – one that, more often than not, does not work in most geographic locations. Under these conditions, whole swathes of the open internet as we know it would be unavailable, unfindable and unusable.

This is the sort of ‘closed future’ that the TravelSpirit Foundation seeks to combat by championing a vision for MaaS that is universal and accessible to all people, regardless of their location or destination.

We are advocating an ‘Open Internet of Mobility’, a framework that does not seek to define the solution to be used but, like the internet, defines a common ruleset and governance structure to challenge the drift into the closed ecosystems that we have today. This way, regardless of the technologies deployed – such as blockchain and the Internet of Things – the ecosystem is able to support interoperability, be trustworthy for its participants, and reduce costs and network latency for providers.

Data is critical

Data is increasingly driving innovation in transport, including MaaS. When paper tickets were purchased, operators could collect data showing revenue and approximate usage, but this only represented an approximate picture of network travel.

This scenario is now changing rapidly, with the initiative taken by non-transport actors to take big data feeds and analyse them. On the roads, for example, a number of organisations take data and provide precise network status overviews. For instance, Google is able to determine traffic speed and density from mobile phone positions along routes. In dense urban areas, transport planners such as CityMapper have an overview of transport generated by combining their own user data (collected when people request and navigate public transport routes) with transport operator service feeds to gain city-wide pictures of capacity and demand.

Now, a variety of innovative mobility operators are using big data to provide services. They often use the extraordinarily detailed location data available from mobile phone operating systems in conjunction with their customer requests, to provide services and also predict overall demand and shape services over the longer term. For instance, location data in hailing an Uber is essential to the service provision for both customer and driver – plus map and traffic data enables price and journey length prediction and navigation. Whilst Uber has probably the highest profile – and the most controversy regarding the amount of data it collects on customers – it is not the only innovator that depends on data and data analysis in order to provide a service. From on-demand bus services to bike-share schemes, user data is combined with usage data, mapping and traffic tools to provide and shape services. The details of terms and conditions and privacy policies frame how these datasets are limited to service offerings, or potentially enabled for marketing and wider commercial partnerships.

The emergence of these new transport operators, as well as wider trends in services across society, makes the development of more personalised services through apps and improved data feeds inevitable.

It’s about collaboration

Many of these new technologies and business models are clearly already in place. An example of this is the ‘Contactless Transit Framework’ from the UK Cards Association, which contains three models for enabling the development of contactless payment systems on public transport networks across the UK. The system is being adopted by all major public transport operators by 2025.

However, with few exceptions, no culture of collaboration currently exists to allow MaaS and other new mobility services to be delivered systemically. The message from many transport operators (private and public) to customers is that the best value can be gained from travelling primarily on their services and buying from them directly. Few inform customers about alternative service options provided by other operators and modes, or even if a customer has made the best decision by purchasing from them directly. Furthermore, most operators make no attempt to link a range of services to provide the best overall journey for the traveller. For example, research by the Office of Rail and Road in 2015 identified that one in five rail customers purchased the wrong ticket due to a lack of information on the tickets available for their journey.

Open data is showing the way

Open data has already shown that there is potentially significant public and private benefit for mobility providers. The demand for transport data is most ably demonstrated by transport datasets being the top four most downloaded datasets from the UK Government’s data website since it began service in 2012. The UK is known for its innovation and excellence in openness, with the ‘Open Data Barometer’ ranking the UK’s public transport data as among the most open in the world.

Within major cities across the UK, particularly those with smart city capabilities or aspirations, excellent work has been undertaken to make publicly-owned transport data, such as car park locations, open as standard. However, practice is far from uniform or sufficiently thorough, with many local authorities not publishing any transport data at all. Local authorities should be accelerating the publication of transport datasets.

The delivery of transport apps, powered by open data provided by Transport for London, has also demonstrated significant impacts of open data. Doing so leads to a virtuous circle of benefits, which Deloitte has estimated to be around £130 million per annum through wider job creation, saved journey time, and savings for Transport for London itself. After all, why develop a bespoke solution when open source can help you do it?

Read the full article on the Intelligent Transport website.