How the IoT Can Build Safer Communities

23 Sep How the IoT Can Build Safer Communities

No one working in the IoT thinks security is a small problem for the industry, and it’s one that everyone has a vested interest in solving. But move up to the scales being dealt with by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the issues and stakes get quite a lot bigger.

Robert Griffin, Deputy Undersecretary, Science & Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security, is intimately involved in making sure that the national infrastructure is prepared for threats from all sides: natural disasters, disease outbreak, terrorism and IoT vulnerability, and he thinks that the IoT can be a solution for early detection of problems across several sectors, if it’s handled right.

In his session at IoT Security 2015, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront, September 22 and 23, he said the secret to building more secure communities is in working bottom up. “How do we build a secure system from the neighborhood up,” he asked. “Because, frankly, I don’t think it’ll work the other way.”

What he meant was, issuing governmental mandates doesn’t give stakeholders in communities ownership of their own security, and therefore security solutions. When they feel that ownership, they’re more likely to take part in mitigation efforts, many of which can come from IoT development.

A prime example comes from healthcare wearables and other monitors. “Wearable technology can give us indications of heath concerns,” he said. And this broad, even anonymized data across populations can yield valuable health insights. “If we can then share that data, it can let authorities identify outbreak trends across populations.”

And that can prevent illness events before they reach problem levels.

Similarly, collecting citizens’ data can inform inventory control at retail and in hospitals and pharmacies for which medications, services and products are most likely to be needed during coming events, he said. Community activity and purchasing monitors in supermarkets can lead to predictive action through knowledge about purchases like tissues and vitamin C that might indicate outbreak before official declaration.

He also said that social media can act as the heartbeat of the community, and in terms of the health and well-being of that community, “if that heartbeat changes, community leaders can take notice” of those changes and take action based on those broad trends from sensor data.

“This is the power of the IoT: to bring in information sources that are siloed right now,” Griffin said. “Street Smart Communities can lead to a street smart world.”

And he said that this kind of community altruism is good for the industry, too. “As you think about your IoT projects, you have a critical role in defending your neighborhoods,” he said. “There is a huge opportunity here. The trend globally is urbanization, and understanding what’s occurring in our cities is critical – and is also our collective responsibility to pull together and share to make our communities safer.”

 

Source: IoT Evolution World

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