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Going for a walk at a nearby park and want to know more about the environment that surrounds you?

Going for a walk at a nearby park and want to know more about the environment that surrounds you?

M-Sec was born in 2018. In its last year, the project is currently implementing pilots to test, validate and showcase the impact of the M-Sec solution. Know more about our Use Case 1

We have spoken with Arturo Medela, Head of the R&D Department at TST Sistemas, leader of M-Sec’s Use Case 1: Secured IoT devices to enrich strolls across smart city parks, to better understand how is this Use Case being implemented in the Spanish city of Santander, its main achievements and challenges, and how the M-Sec solution has been a decisive factor on the improvement of people’s lives in that specific environment.

Can you please briefly describe M-Sec’s Use Case 1?

The main idea behind this pilot consists of deploying IoT devices that measure variables significant to the well-being of the city’s inhabitants, such as noise or CO2 levels, and overcrowding of selected areas through the sketching of heat maps.

What is this Use Case trying to solve?

This information is relevant for the Municipality as well, since it is not covered as of today as part of the smart city deployments already existing and this data would help when analyzing the area and programming specific actions. Overall, the information provided by M-Sec will complement and enrich the one currently existing and will help the Municipality to extract valuable conclusions through the observation of diverse areas in the Las Llamas park, one of the city lungs.

Can you tell us in what ways the implementation of this Use Case is expected to improve people’s lives in a smart city such as Santander?

Users interested in taking part in the experience will find QR codes scattered throughout the pilot site (Las Llamas Park in Santander) for them to join the pilot and enrich their experience when strolling through the park or even helping them to take a decision on whether go to the park at a specific time or not. A web application will enable these users to access and rate the quality of the data submitted, providing another layer of validation. Such activity will be encouraged via a rewards system targeting the most active users on the site.

How is this Use Case being implemented by the M-Sec project?

The system relies in two different IoT devices developed within the project and deployed in the city of Santander (in the north coast of Spain). Some of them are the so called crowd counting devices, which are capable of detecting Wi-Fi and BT MAC addresses and offering a figure which is an estimation of the number of people in attendance in the surroundings of that specific spot at that moment in time. The first of these devices is located in one of the hot spots of the Las Llamas Park, just in the level below its restaurant.

The other devices installed are in charge of performing environmental monitoring duties through five different sensors, namely: temperature, humidity, CO2, VOC and noise. The locations considered imply covering, on the one hand, the child’s playground area and, on the other hand, a complete longitudinal section of the park, going from one side, closer to the University of Cantabria, to the other, just next to a residential area, covering as well the city motorway which separates this housing zone and the park itself.

In the search to complement the service offer, the system offers extended information about 9 specific points of the park where visitors receive specific data about what they can find there. To enable M-Sec pilot users to access this data, 9 QR codes have been distributed throughout the park. Reading these codes allows access to the web application that presents this information together with the data collected by the IoT devices, properly decrypted in the server. In the web app, which is ingrained in the M-Sec application layer, people can join the pilot through a simple registration process and thus have access to all the data offered.

Once registered, users may visit the specific sections allocated to those 9 places to visit or to the IoT devices scattered though the park, where they will be able to check the information and measurements registered and even deposit their satisfaction degree through a simple 5-star rating method that will help M-Sec partners in charge of Use Case 1 get to know how useful the service according to its participants.

What major challenges has your team faced during the pilot’s implementation? Have you been able to overcome the main challenges?

First and foremost, there is a more than probable chance that the sanitary conditions impulse national or regional governments to go back to a total lockdown scenario or the implementation of severe restrictions in terms of mobility. In the particular case of Use Case 1, it will facilitate access through the web app to the different menus and measurements. This way, potential interested users and stakeholders would have a means to retrieve information even though they are not able to be present at the Las Llamas Park where the experience takes place.

Another challenge goes directly related to the appearance of technical issues in the devices deployed as part of the pilot. The way to solve these situations will imply a process within the consortium to assure a quick reaction to solve potential failures and/or theft of deployed devices. The former will be solved thanks to periodic interaction among partners involved to polish integrations and act over potential issues. Both this and the latter will need the collaboration of the Santander Municipality to issue the proper permissions to let partners go to the park and conduct the required actions.

Finally, two additional challenges that are closely related refer to the low interest of the pilot in its non-presential version could raise and thus the recruitment of a low number of users. To mitigate this it is important to get feedback about what could be more attractive to end users and try to apply it and trigger alternative means of recruitment once there is no option to meet in the same physical room. Online meetings via different tools will be considered to mitigate this potential challenge and have on board the minimum number of participants to ensure that the results obtained are enough to properly evaluate the M-Sec solution.

Finally, can you please tell us about future developments regarding the implementation of this Use Case?

The next immediate steps in the Use Case 1 evolution imply sending the data collected by the IoT devices to the Eclipse sensiNact Platform through an MQTT connection. There, sensiNact users will be able to visualize the devices and the data and establish their very own analysis.

Afterwards, once data is collected, it will be sent to the server, proceeding to encrypt sensitive data using the M-Sec tool known as Crypto Companion Database (CCDB), which is a system that encrypts the data with an asymmetric public/private key pair. Data will only be accessed by the owner who has to be authenticated, and the authorised operators allowed by that owner. At the same time, a hash is generated from all the encrypted data and stored in the Quorum blockchain for data tamper proof.

Finally, and since all data collected from the sensors integrated in the IoT devices can be publically available because it doesn’t contain any personal data related to the end-user, it will be transferred to the M-Sec marketplace where stakeholders who may be interested on getting this kind of environmental and occupancy data can buy it using the so-called M-Sec Tokens, which is a cryptocurrency in the form of a smart contract running in on blockchain as discussed in other sections.

Regarding the scalability, the validation process should trigger the course of performing new deployments in other relevant areas not only of the city of Santander but also in smaller villages in the region and in relevant mid-size cities nearby (e.g. Gijón, León). In addition, and within M-Sec framework, partners in the consortium take into consideration the possibility to deploy a replication of Use Case 1 in Japanese cities, and foster the cross-border interaction and impact.

If you want to know more about M-Sec’s Use Case 1 and how you can replicate it in your own city and/or region, you can directly contact Arturo Medela, at amedela@tst-sistemas.es.

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