Urenio Watch Watch: Intelligent Cities / Smart Cities

SocialBlock_Decentralized user-centric data management applications in the context of smart cities

This paper proposes an architecture for decentralized user-centric data management applications for communications in smart cities. The solution proposed tackles some of the typical problems that affect centralized systems, related to the ownership, exploitation, management, and storage of data. A proof-of concept is presented, which demonstrates the feasibility of the proposal on an empirical basis. The proof-of-concept is implemented using Ethereum and IPFS as key tools.

Smart city projects include a wide array of communication systems and heterogeneous technologies operated by multiple entities that collect data from citizens in distinctive ways. These projects involve three main actors that may have conflicting interests regarding the ownership and exploitation of the generated data: public administrations, service providers and citizens. This paper proposes an architecture to create user-centric data management applications for communications in smart cities. Data is stored and managed in a decentralized way to reduce dependency on service providers and return control to the actors involved in the communications. A proof of concept of the proposed architecture is implemented, to demonstrate its feasibility, show concrete protocols, and discuss the proposal on an empirical basis.

The author has designed SocialBlock, an architecture for creating user-centric data management applications. The model proposed for the context of smart cities, could also be adapted to serve any social media network or communication platform.  Examples of data, are citizen complaint forms and emergency notification systems.

“The key to decentralized management is that it’s the generator of the data (very often the citizen) who controls them and can store them and decide who to disclose them to.” said García Font.

Furthermore, decentralization prevents the issues entailed in the current centralized data management model, like the risk of collapse and the vulnerability to theft.

The proposed application uses blockchain. Anyone wishing to send or receive information to or from a user, can request it through their profile. They then get cryptographic keys and the internet addresses where they can send the information securely and privately.  The new architecture envisages two types of communication: from one user to another and from one user to many.

This paper includes an assessment of the risks of this type of application and a working prototype that demonstrates the proposed protocols.

You can find the paper here.