Truly Smart Cities need Decentralized Data
Smart cities are an extremely popular concept in recent years. As cities grow and technology advances, cities around the world are adopting smart technologies such as smart traffic lights, street lights, and a multitude of sensors for weather, traffic, water and power, which are making them more efficient and environmentally friendly, and improve quality of life.
However, a truly smart city requires more than a sum of smart technologies implemented together. “A smart city is much more than an area of urban habitation with lots of hardware, transportation, communications, and other infrastructure in place. A city is a place where people of all ages and from all walks of life play, work, socialize, buy goods and services, educate themselves, raise families, and access arts, sports, entertainment and culture in its many forms and in close proximity to each other. Indeed, most of the good things that cities offer could not exist without the sufficient mass of people, concentrated buying power, and technology”.
The key is the concept of sharing, which is becoming increasingly popular. It started with apartments (via companies such as Airbnb) and it has expanded to rides, cars, bicycles, and –in some cases- even basketballs and handbags. Data, is the next logical step of sharing. Cities, due to the vast number of sensors and connected objects, can collect data in abundance, which creates lots of supply. Coupled with lots of demand created by companies and individuals who want to create or access new services, this ensures a perfect basis for sharing data, which can be monetized with the same logic that applies for one’s spare bedroom or spare handbag. At the same time, the tokenization of data and the use of technologies such as blockchain, which provide a protocol for trustless transactions, can ensure that data sharing operates smoothly
Data sharing of this sort can be extremely beneficial. It provides a bottom-up approach that encourages entrepreneurship and start-ups, and it provides data decentralization, which mitigates the risks involved in data centralization. Centralized data is vulnerable to sabotage, cyber attacks, and physical interference. With decentralized data, there is a capability gracefully survive and recover if any part of the network goes down. In short, a decentralized data infrastructure needs to be in place in order for smart cities to reach their potential and become truly smart.
The original article can be found on Nasdaq.