Smart city, smarter security

Issue 8 2021 Government and Parastatal (Industry), Cyber Security

Henk Olivier.

The smart city is not a pipedream or a fancy idea, not anymore. Already, there are several sterling examples in Amsterdam, Singapore, Dubai and New York, among many others, each one changing the shape of service delivery, citizen experience and the use of technology. As McKinsey[1] describes it, the smart city is a digital solution for a more liveable future and technology is the key. However, this key comes with a caveat. It has to be secure.

The data that circulates the smart city is packed full of rich insights and personalised information. The systems that run the smart city are critical to ensuring services such as healthcare, life support and transport remain operational. Even the smart TV that connects to the Wi-Fi of the modern home is packed full of passwords and account details. And every one of these tidbits of information is immensely juicy for hackers. If anyone gets compromised, if any one person uses the same information across multiple accounts, then everything is put at risk.

This makes security one of the most crucial foundations for the development of any smart environment, whether this is a massive undertaking like a city, or a smart office. Any smart device or appliance can link to an Internet connection and will need to be consistently updated to ensure that it’s secure and patched with limited vulnerabilities. Many of the solutions on the market today have actually had this intelligence embedded – they are designed to notify the vendor if the device has any problems or unexpected vulnerabilities. This is becoming standard in the development of the smart environment, but still demands that users have multi-factor authentication and that systems are consistently updated and that personal information is relentlessly secured.

Another consideration is, of course, how the user interacts with the smart city and the level of access granted to the vendors, suppliers and system controllers. The vendors and manufacturers have already started to use the data to profile users to drive commercial buying experiences and machine learning is being used to push adverts, products or software promotions. This will only become more intrinsic and embedded into the smart city experience, so users need to look to security that protects their limits, information and lives.

There are advantages to the smart city. It does add layers of security to home automation and communication and it does streamline services and introduce much-needed efficiencies. It’s just really important that, in order to enjoy the benefits, users make sure that they practice robust security hygiene across all their accounts and limit access to their personal information. And that businesses and homes within the smart cities and environments put security at the centre of all investments and planning for this will be the deciding factor when it comes to the success of smart services, or their failure.

For more information contact Ozone IT Distribution, +27 10 591 5588,,


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Further reading:

Cybersecurity as the foundation
Axis Communications SA Government and Parastatal (Industry)
It’s time to move to a proactive stance in protecting assets, before cities implement billions of hackable, un-patched and non-upgradable devices to the world’s digital grid.

Mission-critical coverage for safe cities
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The network smart and safe cities all rely on must overcome complexities, including budgetary constraints, which are always a consideration when planning and implementing enhancements.

From smart cities to smart country
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Solution House has succeeded in not just enabling smart precinct management, but in combining these precincts into smart cities, and the smart cities into a ‘smart country’ model.

Smarter and safer with video analytics
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Professionals in charge of delivering smart and safe city programmes can now accelerate review of camera footage, more rapidly identify risks to public safety and infrastructure and easily derive valuable operational intelligence from video content.

Premium forensic analytics
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With the introduction of XProtect Rapid REVIEW, powered by BriefCam, Milestone’s customers will be able to accelerate investigations and find what they are looking for with speed and accuracy.

Intelligently adapting African cities for a better as well as a safer life
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Smart buildings and cities therefore require as much a security-centric approach as they do an environmentally sustainable one.

City surveillance in South Africa
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Smart cities and their smarter, more responsible eye in the sky; a look at the video surveillance landscape in South Africa.

The importance of staying up to date
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Africa’s cyber threat landscape is constantly evolving, with government’s facing a range of digital threats from espionage, critical infrastructure sabotage, organised crime and combat innovation.

Seeing without being seen
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Video surveillance should be as discreet as possible to protect the aesthetics around the legendary promenade in Cannes.

Object monitoring technology
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Powered by deep learning algorithms, the WizMind 5 Series can accurately detect six types of objects: luggage bag, backpack, box, shopping bag, bicycle and motorbike.