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Avoiding Common Challenges in IoT for Smart Cities

5 minute read

Smart cities through IoT are a unique way to streamline the way the world operates – from alleviating traffic congestion, meeting air quality goals, supporting law enforcement, streamlining public works, and much more. It starts with a connected device that builds toward a wide ecosystem of thousands or more devices to build intelligence. The smart cities market is positioned to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24.2 percent between 2022 and 2030.

The opportunity in technology to create purpose-built private networks, leverage eSIM for Massive IoT deployment, fine-tune artificial intelligence for autonomous action, and much more are key pillars to help advance digital cities. While a smart future is possible in the industry, some key challenges can create friction in the adoption of IoT.

KORE recently partnered with Kaleido Intelligence to share data collected from a global survey of more than 750 enterprises to understand the opportunities and challenges in IoT adoption broken down by top industries.

In the survey, Serving the Enterprise, respondents provided insight into top challenges associated with smart cities deployments. The top three challenges, according to the cellular IoT adopter respondents in the survey, are:

1. End-to-end security 

Garnering 65 percent of responses, the Kaleido Intelligence survey points toward end-to-end security as the primary concern among cellular IoT adopters in smart cities applications. Security has long since been a concern for IoT, and for several reasons. The sheer scale of IoT significantly broadens the attack surface. Hundreds or thousands of devices create hundreds or thousands of endpoints for attackers to gain access to the system. Secondly, IoT devices – particularly in smart cities – can be deployed in widespread, remote, often unattended locations. A lack of physical security can be a threat to these devices as they can be tampered with or stolen. The lower complexity of IoT devices means that security is not necessarily built into the devices and the lack of standardisation in IoT devices are other concerns, as well. Many IoT devices are deployed without password protection or a standard password (such as password) for the end user to initially gain entry but are later not updated.

2. Global coverage

A majority of Kaleido Intelligence survey respondents cited a lack of robust global coverage and global customer support for multi-country, multi-region deployments as a top challenge. Global connectivity challenges can come in several forms. First, the fragmented ecosystem previously mentioned where hundreds of operators around the globe makes global integration incredibly difficult. Some areas around the world have no cellular connectivity and as 5G matures and 2G and 3G are phased out, different areas have different network coverage so a unified approach to connectivity technologies is challenging. The complexity in creating connectivity solutions from one country to the next, all of which have multiple carriers and even available network technologies is compounded by the different regulatory requirements and roaming restrictions. Suppose a solution is in three different countries and using five or six different carriers. In that case, potentially, this creates a solution that has different billing, usage, and support systems per carrier, which can be complicated and burdensome.

3. Regulatory compliance and data privacy

Survey respondents also listed data privacy as a top concern because in smart cities solutions sensitive data can be collected, such as using street cameras for monitoring people. Smart cities solutions might introduce crime-prevention elements where data might need to be protected in the event of criminal activity is recorded. Any exposure to a person’s personal information in a smart cities application requires added data privacy, both to protect the person and the integrity of the network and overall solution, but it also might face requirements based on data privacy requirements.

What cellular IoT adopters expect in an IoT solution, as per the survey, are basic security features, such as SIM locking, location detection, and usage/cost overrun alerting, with 51 percent stating this as a need. Pushing the needle further, 45 percent of respondents want more advanced features, such as IP restrictions, traffic burst detection, or detection of unallocated/unconfigured ports or protocols. Even further, 10 percent of respondents indicated they want advanced security methods to classify device types in order to analyse anomalous behaviour and apply automated mitigation measures.

Partnering for Success

The many complexities of IoT can make it challenging to find success initially or with managing and scaling IoT. KORE’s mission is to simplify those complexities so that long-term success can be achieved with IoT in smart cities. Want to see the full results of the survey? Check out this webinar!

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