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$19trn INTERNET OF THINGS: How Nigeria’s smart city, cashless policies can benefit - Science/Technology - NAIRAWAY

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$19trn INTERNET OF THINGS: How Nigeria’s smart city, cashless policies can benefit by nairaway(m) : 11:13 am On Jul 21, 2017



NIGERIA has been tinkering with the idea of smart city and cashless policies, in order to be among the first 20 nations of the world in the year 2020 and possibly compete favourably in the global marketplace. •The statistics presents the average spend per company on “Internet of Things” worldwide as of May 2015, by industry sector.

The average spending per company of the global insurance industry on “Internet of Things” amounted to 77.67 million U.S. dollars. While cashless policy reduces the amount of cash transactions by entrenching a card based transaction and virtual payment systems, Smart city ushers in an incomparably flickering city with clean environment, less crime, pollution and less strenuous public transport system. However, the major tailback to achieving these great and revolutionary ideas have always been how to tear down the old order. Changing to a 21st century way of living is only gaining slow momentum in Africa and appears to make the implementations of cashless policy and smart city look like rocket science Nonetheless, Managing Director, Vodacom Business Nigeria, Lanre Kolade, says the way out is for the country to quickly cash in on the potentials of the bourgeoning Internet of Things, IoT revolution.

Kolade at a recent event explained that by using IoT technology, a host of intelligently connected services become possible. Why smart cities Statistics provide that about 48 percent of Nigerians are living in urban areas with the potential of a geometric increase as urbanisation continues to happen. With the number of people living in urban areas around the world predicted to rise to 6.4 billion by 2050; Nigerian cities like Lagos, Abuja and Portharcourt to mention but a few, need to get smart He maintained that governments have a central role to play in making towns and cities run effectively but with constrained budgets and a growing population; issues such as traffic, pollution, and public safety are becoming more difficult to manage. For him, an IoT-enabled city can reroute traffic around congestion in real time, automatically schedule repairs for failed infrastructure like faulty street lights or bridges, and intelligently manage energy use and pollution right across the environment. So, authorities must adopt IoT technologies to improve sustainability, ease congestion, help citizens and attract new businesses to their towns and cities.

What is IoT IoT encompasses more than 14 billion devices connected to the internet, providing the technology foundation for unlimited interaction between people, businesses, machines and things. IoT consists of connections: Machine to Machine, M2M, which includes data sent and received from one machine to another; Machine to Person, M2P, which includes data sent and received from a machine to person and Person to Person, P2P, which is data sent and received from one person to another. Through intelligent network connections among people, processes, data, devices and other things, IoT improves business outcomes, which create unprecedented economic opportunities to enhance productivity, sustainability and experiences. With IoT solutions, refuse collectors will make fewer journeys and use less fuel, and authorities can cut the number of refuse trucks they run. IoT tracking devices can be installed on trains or buses to pinpoint their location in real time. If services are running late, IoT systems can automatically update signage at bus stops and train stations, or alert travellers via text message. This ensures users always get the information they need when planning their journeys. Besides keeping people informed, governments can use IoT data to schedule additional services, amend routes, resolve issues, and meet unexpected demand. With IoT technology, towns and cities in Nigeria can become Smart Cities, creating cleaner, safer and more effective environments for citizens. IoT market value The market potential of IoT is estimated to be worth $19 trillion in 2020. This is shared between private sector, estimated to have $14.4 trillion and public sector, estimated to have $4.6 trillion market share. Meanwhile the market value of M2M connections is estimated to worth $7.4 trillion, while M2P is worth $4.6 trillion and P2P, $7 trillion. This means there is an opportunity which countries like Nigeria can leverage on for its technology ecosystem.

According to Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Technologies, Africa stands to gain immensely by leapfrogging from her present deep slumber in the ICT ecosystem development to engaging the values of IoT, given the future requirements of 70 percent youths that makeup Nigeria and indeed, Africa Population. General Manager, Cisco System Nigeria, Kunle Oloruntimehin, also shares the same sentiment. He says that with the size of Nigeria’s IT market, leveraging on the opportunities and benefits of IoT will make the country more competitive and productive. Security challenges However, Internet of Things is a welcomed innovation but now that everything, from automated manufacturing or smart thermostats to hairbrushes, is connected to the internet, there are more cyber security threats than there have ever been. At the root of the problem, is that the devices span various manufacturers that the Internet of Things has become difficult to manage. Of course, experience of what happens when there is lack of visibility or exposure to vulnerabilities cannot be easily ignored.

IoT is now considered by many to be a transformative business operation rather than an IT or technology purchase. Vodafone’s 2016 IoT Barometer Report found that 48 percent of IoT adopters are using the technology to support large-scale business transformation, meaning that technology has merged with operations. While this means exciting innovation and collaboration, the security implication is too risky to ignore In 2016 Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, saw an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks per day, a 300 percent increase over 2015 In today’s fast, connected world, cyber attacks have become a fact of life. There are millions of attacks per day, and some are successful.

From the September hacking and releasing of dozens of testing records of athletes conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, to the massive October cyber attack that wiped out major websites such as Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, and Spotify for over 11 hours, the damages are enormous. While the release of athlete records resulted from the spear phishing of email accounts, the October cyber attack was the result of vulnerable connected things Hacking connected devices Many were surprised to find out that the cyber attack that shut down their social media for an entire day was the result of hacking connected devices, like printers, DVRs, and appliances. As the Harvard Business Review points out, in their report How Smart, Connected Products are Transforming Companies; “the job of ensuring IT security now cuts across all functions. Every smart connected device may be a point of network access or a target of hackers.”

This means that while connecting devices to the internet will bring massive amounts of data that had otherwise, laid dormant, organisations could also open themselves up to many security vulnerabilities. The Global State of Information Security Survey found that seven of every ten connected IoT devices lack security safeguards. Experts say that one glaring flaw in these devices is their weak authentication features. Recently, HP revealed some security defects in IoT products and found that eight out of 10 “things” connected still had the same default password given by the manufacturer. This is probably the easiest way, in which hackers can infiltrate systems considering that many manufacturer-default passwords are set up with weak authentication. Another source of vulnerability comes in product updates as connected devices need updates on a regular basis to remain safe against increasingly sophisticated cyber-threats.

If software and firmware patches meant to address vulnerabilities are not installed timely, the risk of cyber attacks increases. Internal device updates Despite this, almost all manufacturers these days refuse to offer remote or internal updates for their smart devices because it does not offer any economic advantage to them. The resultant effect is that in most cases enterprises are unaware of when their devices need updating. So, whether it is the security cameras of a hotel building or the fire alarms of a large sports stadium, if they are not updated, then they are not protected. Such is the case with emerging technology, and it only stands to become more confusing with tens of billions of devices set to be connected by 2020.


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