Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD
As we inch closer to the creepiness, kookiness, and spookiness (with apologies to a certain family) at the end of this month, we’ve got a banger of a topic for you, in the form of the “IoT and Smart Cities.”
These two ideas, concepts, and technologies will shape the future as we know it, with every portable device, appliance, vehicle, and pretty much everything we interact with on a daily basis sharing data to create the most comprehensive global network anyone could’ve imagined.
This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of the smart city, which National Geographic sums up rather succinctly as “a city in which a suite of sensors…is deployed to collect electronic data from and about people and infrastructure so as to improve efficiency and quality of life.”
But with every widget, vehicle, and even our cities collecting information on us, data privacy is often an afterthought. That’s led many to sound the alarm before the IoT and smart city fully mature and everything is so inextricably linked and interconnected in organic fashion that it’s too late to do anything.
One of those critics is Mozilla, which just released a report highlighting how our increasingly high-tech vehicles – one of the principal flag-bearers for the IoT and smart cities – have a cavalier attitude on data privacy.
Our vehicles greedily lop up every conceivable piece of personal data through the devices connected to it – like our smartphones – but also how we interact with our cars.
And not only do these automakers collect the data, share it, and sell it, but the vast majority give you no control over it. For more, see my Final Thought at the end of this issue.
I’d also like to highlight a couple articles addressing the IoT and smart cities from a design perspective.
The first, from Silicon Labs, explains “How a Unified IOT Controller Can Simplify Smart Factory Installations.”
Silicon Labs’ Mikko Saarnivala mentions that the IoT can greatly benefit the industrial space, hence the Industrial Internet of Things (or IIoT) variant.
And because the numerous wireless communications protocols can overwhelm smart factories, a unified IoT Controller is called for.
“The requirement to add multiple gateways for sensors and actuators using various protocols creates a headache for factory planners already struggling to support wired installations,” Mikko says.
Meanwhile, Littelfuse’s Ryan Sheahen delves into how “Building Efficient, Safe, and Reliable Smart Cities Begins with Robust Heat Pump Design.”
Amongst other benefits, heat pumps are a great tool in our arsenal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
North American Editor, PSD