Category: smart city

In the near future, ubiquitous computing will be everywhere, enormous small networked devices, commonly called as smart objects are embedded inside our daily environments, in our cars, houses, our clothes, shoes or even our body. These smart objects reshape our living environment, making it ubiquitously accessible than ever. What is more, by combining these smart objects with personal mobile/web applications, people can access to their environment in more ease, either remote monitor or remote control, more advanced smart applications can also bind the distributed sensors and actuators with user’s preference to make smart environment automated in response to the contextual changes.

Remote monitoring and control based on the device level gives us many benefits such as environment awareness and robot automation. But apart from this, there exists another great benefit derived from the device level – the enormous, continues and real time data streams which can be seen more valuable and exploited for the society as a whole. For example, my health data could be delivered to 3rd party (your personal doctor or hospital), they have the capability and knowledge to analysis your data, read data as health pattern and used to infer my health problem accurately. It gives people more easy and fast analytics on data, but more importantly collaboration between entities, like patients and doctors, household and Electricity Company.

All these sound great, but thinking that in the future, everyone has to manage tens of hundreds of smart devices, a headache problem? Yes, let alone there are more serious issues on the management of bindings between smart device and various applications, meaning user must be also aware of if there are 3rd party applications abusing my device data for benefits without accessing my permission – privacy issue or maliciously control my device remotely. It is not only concerned to network security/privacy problem in virtual reality, but far more stretched to the security and safety of our life in the physical world. So before this vision is truly coming to us, we need to make the worst assumptions and place the management of devices, security and privacy on the top list.

The main purpose of the webinos is to solve the interoperability and deployment issues of web-based application among various platforms. So for a web developer, they can make a web based application making use of web standard API and deploy them ubiquitously in PC, mobile, web, vehicle, embedded system platforms. What is more, the web based application could have the app data being synchronized, shared among the platforms; and different user can get collaborate in more explicit way under the secure framework. While on the user’s perspective, it makes easier to manage his devices and multiple level control on the application and 3rd party access. All these features are provided under the implementation of PZP and PZH.

As we know, PZP can represent one person’s device, a middleware between device, context control and application.  PZH resides on the server, is a web service, managing all this person’s devices, their security, privacy on the data and connection. PZP are implemented on the device level and PZH are implemented on the cloud server level.

Looking back to the vision of IOT whether for the remote monitoring, automation, collaboration, all require devices talking to web or devices talking to each other securely, privately. Concerning the security and privacy, that is to say how are we going to split the keys and certificates into different levels of control and distribute the keys and certificates to others while maintaining easy management for us.

In our digital worlds, people’s identity is relying on the digital signature, certificate based on PKI – public key infrastructure. Therefore, device association with people, device communication, more complex interactions rely on this PKI again, but more webinos does is to maintain the interactions of these, and Webinos gives mechanism  and policy implemented in PZP and PZH to distribute the key and certificate to devices, exchange them with other people. That ensures people three things.

1. People have a personal central hub to manage their devices uniformly in multiple levels, in particular associating personal identity with device.

2. Data connection between device and cloud/ device and device is secure.

3. People with a web trust can also get access to the other people’s device with their permission.

So with certificate exchange between devices, home monitoring device can be added to personal zone – in other words, device management hub, hub helps me authenticate the device, encrypt the data and route the device data to required location, such as my mobile phone. This is the basic for remote monitoring and control.

More complex interactions happens between users, that one trusted user want to use the device of another use, they must exchange their certificate and use authentication token to get access to the control the that device.

For example, Hackers convert MIT building in giant Tetris video game, there is a large building with hundreds of offices; person in each office owns the access to the light control, so he can remotely control the light on/off. So imagine one application wants to display the animation on the building surface with hundreds of windows in the night, so this application needs to get the permission from the person in the office to control that guy’s office light. In the webinos perspective, each light is like the PZP, and each person in the office uses the PZH to manage the certificate of device and application. The application that uses building surface to display is considered as PZH, so this application PZH has to talked to all the PZH in the office, and getting the signed certificate and finally with these certificates, that application PZH can control all the window/office lights at the night.

Or imagine use raspberry pi to teach the children programming, a tutor can start a course, which automatically generate a certificate for the course. Each child has a raspberry pi with certificate in the memory. If the tutor wants to collaborate with child remotely, like passing the codes to child’s device and uses code to control the device for the demo purpose (to show how the code works with the device). This also requires the devices sharing the certificates and communicating trustfully and securely.

So for me, the key of webinos is on the security and privacy but not the deployment of web apps. Simply connecting devices together is not an issue already because of IP, the true issue is people don’t trust connecting their devices together and sharing their data because they felt not protected. I felt the issue of interoperability and deployment of web app could be solved with Mozilla OSor Phonegap, while backbone of webinos provides a high level control on how people work with their devices, data and collaborate with other.

To build a smart city platform, in the simple manager, the platform should have basic middleware control on what, when, how the data can be accessible, and additionally accessible by who – developer. This functionality is often seen in the many application scenarios in the auth2 way, that each developer can register for an application ID and get a secret key, with these the developer can get access to the resource of the platform, the for the platform manager,  they can monitor what resources the developer are using in their platform.

But a real sense of smart city platform, should more concentrate on the data rather management of developer. This can be explained in two perspectives.

One is the data not only points to the raw data but should have a semantic layer. In the semantic web, all the data are being connected; interoperable with different data vendor. With this in place, machine itself can understand the meaning of these data. And application can extract the context data from the data semantic layer that leads to the application more context awareness. Webinos tries to address the context data, but in limited manager, it doesn’t put the semantic web or ontology into the consideration, after all, semantic thing is not the problem it tries to solve.

The second perspective is real time data. The smart city platform is sitting between the data producers and data consumers. Data consumer is commonly referred as the developers who are using the data to make applications. Data producers can often be person or organizations who owns a few or a large number of devices, through the smart city platform, they are manage their devices and data securely. (Meaning even the device data are stored on the cloud/platform, the manager of platform still can’t see through the data due to user has the privacy key.) And in many circumstances, the input the platform is the real time device data, and the platform should route the data in real time to those developer who seen as the data consumers. To address this, one big challenge is the device authentication, web trust on device and user, which is to be addressed by webinos security and privacy framework. Another big thing is the real time data streaming of device data, is believed more efficient with protocol like MQTT. But webinos only supports XMPP, causing much latency in fact.

Ultimately, I don’t know on the interoperability and deployment of web application whether webinos could defeat Mozilla OS or Phonegap. But the security, privacy, policy are the core to be reused for solving the trust for device and data. The webinos security stuff could be implemented as software component under phonegap framework to achieve both security and interoperability.


Management of device and data

Speaking about the smart city platform, most of time we are referring to the open data or big data, using the cloud computing and data analytics to generate the great values out of large volumes of data.  It is true benefits to have government open data access in many areas in the world for the transparency. But when the data analytic really comes into the enterprise level or personal level, more concerns are on how to still hold on the control of the data in the cloud, and still maintaining the privacy and security protected, in particular in the most circumstances now, this data is coming from all various devices in all platforms.  Naturally, it is easier to manage the device data through management the devices, thinking when dragging the devices to the webinos ‘s PZH, personal zone hub, you can manage your own devices by issuing your signed certificate to the device, not only facilitate communications among all your devices through this web and moreover PZH encrypts all the data so yourself with privacy key can get access to.

Management of access control

Moreover, a smart city platform‘s role is not merely processing the big data only, but extended to a diverse hub or data distributor with big data analytics capability, connecting the data publisher with data consumer.  Anyone can be a data publisher, storing your health data, and then you decide who, which doctor can get access to your data, and analysis your data into useful information. When the data is already stored on the cloud – e.x. patient history record, resource access control is much easier done, but when it comes to some circumstance, the doctor needs the real data directly coming from your health device, techniquely it requires the doctor to show his certificate and when approved, the device can authorize the signed certificate to the doctor and thus build the communication.  This scenario is also ensured by the webinos to keep control the access of your personal resources not on the cloud, but to the level of devices. In the smart city platform perspective, that helps the data publisher to control the access of your resources to the device level.

App distribution

At last, owning to the security of device communication and data privacy done in the webinos work, we could have a decent secure communication on the web level. Using the communications, we can distribute the data, but of course making app distributions a reality. So smart city platform could also guarantee from webinos, is a delivery of web based apps in browser based environment.

Helping the data consumers to manage the devices uniformly, keeping the data secure and also helping different collaborators to share and play with their resources securely is two major things in keep the webinos as an important platform and can be regarded as the backbone for building smart city platform.

What is missing?

When dealing with data consumers of smart city, data analytics plays an important role, however when it comes to deal with data publishers, data communication is important, especially in the future, millions of data streams are not coming from people’s hand, but from the ubiquitous devices. Smart city platform needs to connect it with millions of sensors and devices in the internet of things in secure manager.

Interoperability of wireless sensor network

Yes, webinos has make its way to be across platforms in cars, TV, mobile, which is either based in Windows or Linux. Also you can see webinos has been deployed in the raspberry-pi, we can ideally assume webinos comes to the internet of things, smart devices, robots can running webinos, streaming their data to the data platform. For example, using raspberry-pi as the gateway in smart city infrastructure and deploy the webinos PZP as the high level middleware, owning to the communications between PZP and PZH, the manager can manage all the gateways uniformly, securely and can grant the data access to other stakeholders who needs the data.

But there still exists the gaps. Just recently, Google has worked on a wireless sensor network its Google I/O 2013, in which 500 sensor platforms and thousands of sensors were deployed in the conference building, these sensor platforms are generating 4000 data streams in real time, telling people about the environment data. The network is an example of the “internet of things”, where physical objects are digitally interconnected and communicate without human intervention. It reminds me, one most important part of internet of things is the wireless sensor network, consists of many resources constrained platforms with limited memory and battery. Like the big data, the wireless sensor network would be the most important city infrastructure in every area (home automation, car parking) and can’t be ignored by anyone. IPV6 and low6pan has made a stride making wireless sensor network interoperable in IP standards, where means in the future, every sensor can be visited through IP. In fact, in the early webinos project, porting webinos on the arduino has exposed to a challenge, since current version of webinos is implemented in node.js and deployed in the browser or Linux. That requirement has restricted the webinos into the wireless sensor network due to the operating system. For the wireless sensor networks, tiny.os is an open source wireless sensor network operating system platform, popular in academic and industry.  Since webinos is only a specification, porting the webinos in the tinyos, meaning webinos ‘s enabled feature like security and privacy can be maintained in the next important platform in the smart city. By then, with secure communication built in webinos, smart city platform can be marketplaces for the wireless sensor network applications, where you can have the wireless sensor platform, deploy any high level application software upon it.

COAP and MQTT support on PZH

Also for wireless sensor networks with low data rate and bandwidth, http styled – coap based UDP and publish/subscribe styled MQTT – described as machine-to-machine (M2M)/Internet of Things connectivity protocol, are coming into place to play with WSN, building the PZH with new ability to talk with these devices in these protocols enables its role in the internet of things. by which sensors, control systems, embedded systems and mobile devices can publish and subscribe low-level, technically-orientated data

ZIGBEE standard and web standard

Also regarding the wireless sensor network, ZIGBEE is an application standard addressing different applications, for example home automation, in which it defines the command and protocol for the interoperability of communications. And webinos is addressing the web standard. When combining with wireless sensor network, not only has to address the software interoperability by using tinyos, standard interoperability between ZIGBEE and web standard is also needed to be addressed, so webinos as a middleware, the web interface is still defined by web standard to get access to sensor and actuator, while implementation of ZIGBEE lies on the

Hooking into hardware Security

webinos is trying to address the web security between device and cloud, device and device, still security is based on web level, depending on the secure the private key. If the private key is secure, then your personal communication is secure. The problem is raised to devices (such as unmanned devices served as city infrastructure) which are not maintained by people, physical hacking the device by reverse engineering the device , tamping into the ROM of device, hackers can get access to the key and then can manipulate the device communication and data. Many chip solution provider are looking into to securing the hardware security on the chip level. For example, ARM is building a trustzone into the chip level, including the secure storage of private key. Therefore, to secure a communication as a whole, web level combined with chip level is to be maintained in depth.

Amsterdam Smart City (video).

air quality egg





在tram上我们聊天,提到火锅大家一起吃,sharing food,但patrick说这样的方式在荷兰也有,不过不一样的是大家不会sharing。如果你夹的肉被别人拿的话,你会很奇怪,生气。另一个有意思的事情是 新的工作方式,有人成为 open space technology,而实际上是你到了一个co working的地方,大家分成小组为了一个目的工作,而你既然参与其中,就需要出力,如果你觉得无聊可以加入到另一个小组。这种方式常常和传统的开会方式来做比较,传统的开会一般都是一个人说,底下的人听,只有一个人在出力,而OPT的理念就是每个人都要积极的参与其中。









这次的workshop是完全来实战的,比上次来说,人多了一倍,还是惯例,大家坐着围成一圈,然后轮流介绍自己的background,有学化学的PHD,研究空气污染的科学家,有做硬件,软件,web的人,有个年纪最大是沃达丰在amsterdam的innovation manager,有两个从马德里过来的同样在做air quality open sensor network来学习取经,还有两个从巴黎来的一个是designer,有3个安特卫普来hackerspace的人,还有专门研究hacker culture的社会学家,来观察我们的活动,随时录音,摄像…真是很多人,不过今天的主题还是在去做东西,因此可能有一半的人并没有能直接参与到hacking。


不过从硬件来说,还是相当好的,有50个nanode,不少的mintymode,还有各种CO,CO2,NO2,NO,humidity,temperature,light sensor,不足的是nanode虽然不少,可FDDI线却基本没有,所以不部分的nanode都无法使用。

IMAG2099 IMAG2098

LPG GAS sensor

剩下的一些hardware guy分成3个小组,然后开始工作测试那些传感器,humidity,temperature,light传感器都很容易连接,那些air 传感器却有想象不出的问题。比如说一些air 传感器需要很多的power,我们连接的digital CO2 sensor在电脑断电的时候,完全不能使用,而在产品设计的时候,如何power这些传感器变成了一个很大的问题,太阳能板,电源不能完全解决维护的问题,花费很高。而有些air sensor需要一直不断供电,只有供电24或者48小时后,这些传感器的reading才能准确,万一断电了重新power,传感器的数据不会很快变的准确。而我使用的mintymode, RF wireless board,看上去只要plug in, out在nanode,load the library就能直接使用,但花了两个小时我也没有得到一个看起来有用的数据,整个下午没有一点progress。IMAG2096







快结束 Krisof在wiki上写一些总结


而实际上,sensor测试的一些工作应该在workshop之前就需要做好,然后大家坐在一起,能很快连接sensor,读数据,然后连接web,我们浪费太多的时间在一些应该提前就做好的事情上。很多sensor测试应该很多人很早就做过,但我们重新做一遍不过是reinvent the wheel。而对于一些nanode,wireless,组织者不应该只是把硬件准备好,同时也需要把各种的小demo提供给我们,避免了我们卡在一些不必要的问题上。今天来了不少其他不是技术领域的人,本来也应该来参与到简单nanode的使用,却因为没有fddi线。最后是,到底项目应该以哪种方式继续下去,我们虽然参与其中,但时间却非常短暂的一天,我们刚刚好弄通这些sensor,那些硬件却要被回收回去,参与的人在一起工作还好,但一分散开来,就很难组织在一起,如同一盘散沙。pachube是靠着hobbyist 成长起来,但大部分的hobbyist 做东西纯粹是hobby fun,要转化成真正的commercial还是很大的困难,为了这次workshop pachube付出很多,但今天的效果却不如人意,本来它想靠着hobbyist群体智慧来做出一个好project,但要困难是如何组织好这群hobbyist,通过网络或者一天的小workshop是完全不足的,要不然你就硬件给想出力的人,让他们在家继续参与,要不然就让真正专业的人来做主力这个项目,hobbyist来做辅助,提供新的想法。否则没有好的组织,很难做好project,最终又会变成一个hobby fun。



微微得到的感动是,生活的价值不是靠物质上堆积而成,通过一辆的自行车,也能找到那种简简单单的快乐,汽车作为一种身份象征的含义也没有那么强烈,相反更像是一个代步的工具。同样这也反映了西方,欧洲社会在生活理念上与中国的差异,人们的衣食住行,时刻会联系着环保,绿色,低碳,可持续化。从垃圾的回收,到绿色能源的使用,到出行,这些东西已经植入了人们的脑海里,自行车是荷兰的一个标志,而在柏林,哥本哈根也有越来越多的人在以亲身行动支持这些环保的倡议。中国一直在努力,但要从政府主导到真正实现民间自发的运动,还需要很长的一段时间。什么是智能城市,智能的目的不是纯粹为了smart,而是为了未来的sustainability,从一个角度来说,一个拥有更多smart people的city才有希望会变的smart and sustainable,需要人们更多的去意识到城市的问题和挑战,需要更加 open,participate,share,总结来说, smart city == user generated/shared city 。

中国,工作的白领不会用自行车,在选择私人小汽车和public transport时,经济条件允许的情况下会买小汽车,很多是为了一个出行的便捷,还有其他的原因么?突然想起“urban computing”一书中,回答how people use these devices to mitigate contingency in everyday life,通过ipod和mobile phone的例子来解释

the iPod enables you to personalize the experience of the contemporary city with your own music collection.They also provide gradients of privacy in public places, affording the listener certain exceptions to conventions for social interaction within the public domain. Donning a pair of earbuds grants a certain amount of social license, enabling one to move through the city without necessarily getting too involved, and absolving one from some responsibility to respond to what’s happening around them

In Japan, the mobile phone (or keitai) has been described by Kenichi Fujimoto as a personal “territory machine” capable of transforming any space—a subway train seat, a grocery store aisle, a street corner—into one’s own room and personal paradise. Mobile phones there are used less often for voice communications than for asynchronic exchanges of text and images between close circles of friends or associates—exchanges which interject new forms of privacy within otherwise public domains.

在public places,公共汽车,地铁,大厅,人们越来越愿意通过听音乐,看手机的方式的来告诉他人一个潜台词,this is my own space, don’t disturb me.同理,当人买私人汽车,其中一个理由便是不必和其他人分享public transport,在自己的小汽车里有private space。这时候,我们就面临一个问题是,在城市空间和资源越来越拥挤的时候,我们是否会愿意去share一部分资源呢,达到资源的有效利用,减少资源的浪费,sharing很显然在很多方面,是一个很低碳的生活方式,然而不同的人对sharing有不同的态度,一部分上源于每个人都想有自己的private space, stuff, time;或者是 if I want to share my things, how can I control it;

而让people愿意去share,首先是让人们在public space 或者是 physical community 里愿意去 participate,在如今新媒体web,mobile的介入下,用户更倾心于在虚拟的环境网络, user group,forum中交流,得到认同。而现实环境中,即使public space里我们也会通过mobile,ipod来表明不想被打扰-creating a virtual private space,你也许会天天见到你的邻居,却完全不了解你的邻居。而要participate的基础是understanding和trust,放弃一些private things。这一切,一环扣一环,而都是我们这个社会缺少的。

to understand & trust –> to participate –> to share. 这个问题很复杂。

但是在阿姆斯特丹,你能看到的是,人们愿意放弃相对私有的空间,从汽车里出来骑着自行车,你能看到的是,路上骑着自行车人脸上的面孔,表情,而不是一个个铁壳硬生生的在你面前驶过。至少对我来说,participation is in the city。

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