The Internet of Things: Are All Things Considered?

Nahum Gershon
March 13, 2019


When my kitchen sink was clogged last month, I grabbed the strainer out of the drain and placed it with my left hand above the trash can. I then banged it with the strainer upside down and this got rid of the dirt clogging the strainer. But suddenly, my Internet-connected watch tapped me on my wrist, and I got a message on my watch screen: “It looks like you have taken a hard fall”. I immediately canceled the alert and did not let my watch call emergency.

A few days later, I had a similar incidence on my way to the supermarket. As I was walking prepared to cross the exit of the parking lot, a car was driving towards the exit. I could see that the driver was looking to the left where the immediate car traffic was coming from but not to the right where I, the pedestrian, happened to be. The car proceeded to the exit almost running over me. As it stopped, I banged my left arm on the car to alert the driver about my presence. Again, my watch tapped me on my wrist displaying: “It looks like you have taken a hard fall”.

The Human Body is a System (Not a Point, Generally)

This has made me think... The watch has a sensor basically occupying a point in space. The body, on the other hand, is a system that occupies more than one point in space. In spite of that, some body parameters like heart rate could be determined by measuring it at one point on the body. However, when one would like to detect a fall, one must make sure that the whole body changed height suddenly.  This is not possible with certainty when only one sensor is attached to a point on the body (e.g., the left arm). More than one sensor - a few at least - distributed over the body are needed. In other words, more than one thing needs to be considered... Here, a thing is not just a sensor (like in the “Internet of Things”) but also things like the situation, geometry, and other facts of life.

An Array of Sensors Could Have Interrelated Components

Not only I have sensors on my body, I also have some cameras around my house. When a squirrel passes by, for example, I get a warning once the first camera detects it. Then, a few seconds later, I typically get a similar warning from the other camera. In this case, the squirrel could be considered, for the concept of detection, as a single point in space. But the camera array here is a system. It would be useful if the various cameras were able to compare notes with each other and determine that it is one squirrel (and not two) and send only one warning.

Other Things Beyond “Things”

In addition, it would be advantageous if the camera system would recognize things like objects or events that are really important to the owner, e.g., unknown humans walking by the house, not family members, squirrels or branches moving in the wind... This means that the Internet of Things is not just connecting objects to the internet but also considering other things important for systems and for people’s lives.

Smart and Not So Smart!

The frequent lack of concern to the users or to the intricacy of the system on hand goes beyond the internet-connected cameras or the Internet-connected watch. For example, in one of the previous consumer technology gatherings, I was exploring a so-called smart kitchen. The counter table top was sensitive to weight and when it senses that one has placed a kettle or a pot with content, it started to heat the location where the weight was sensed.  When I asked if, after the heating operation is finished and the kettle or the pot is removed, will the counter make the hot location visible? I was told no. So, how would you know where is the hot part of the surface so that you and your family will not get, for example, burning injuries once you and they touch it? This is an invitation to an accident for adults and children alike. For this, we could use another “S” word: shortsighted, simpleminded or somewhat stupid!

Considering the Needs of People & Communities and Common Sense

This lack of knowledge and/or concern of how people tend to conduct their lives and how communities work (and the lack of common sense) is not just limited to the kitchen. It could also include buildings, and even cities. The use of the word smart could be sometimes pretentious. How many people do you know, for example (present company excluded), who have a brain but are not smart?  Placing of a sensor does not make the object automatically smart! Similarly, connecting “things” does not automatically make the “things” smart.

This could remind us of a situation happened in the 1950s and the 1960s when urban planners were trying to design city environments composed of large areas with tall buildings sparingly distributed in a park-like environment. They thus preached to destroy older neighborhoods that were composed of buildings of a few stories high with a mix of residential and commercial entities. The famous Jane Jacobs who lived in the East Village in New York City at that time understood what makes a city livable and functional and wrote the now famous book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” (1961). She asserted that urban renewal practitioners did not respect the needs of city dwellers. Now, it is widely accepted that she was right.

Before designing a human environment that relies on technology, it is important to first understand how people use it or would like to use it before installing the technology. It is necessary to understand and consider all things - sensors, habits, and humans and community expectations.

Technology is not above all! People and their needs and common sense are!

Further Readings

  1. Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-60047-7
  2. Anthony Flint, Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took On New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City (2011) Random House Trade Paperbacks.
  3. Nahum Gershon, "The Internet of Nothing and The Internet of Things”, IEEE Internet of Things, March 2018:
  4. Nahum Gershon, "Wearables, Humans, and Things as a Single Ecosystem!”, IEEE Internet of Things, November 2015:
  5. Nahum Gershon, "The Internet of Things (Everything!) and Health”, The IEEE Life Sciences eNewsletter, February 2016:



nahum gershonNahum Gershon focuses on social media, the Internet of Things, strategic planning, visualization, combining creative expressions with technology and real-time information delivery, presentation & interaction (including storytelling) in mobile, wearable as well as traditional devices including how they could improve both organizational environments and our personal lives. He like to play with ideas, words, and real devices. Nahum Gershon has served in many capacities at the IEEE over the years, in, and is a Senior Principal Scientist at the MITRE Corporation. Nahum is a well-known community organizer, mentor, and communicator and is quite socially oriented. He has a significant international & multicultural background (citizen of the world, speaking a number of languages) and is right and left brain enabled. He enjoys life!



Towards a Digital Single Market for Smarter Cities

Alex Gluhak and Andrea Gaglione
March 13, 2019


Over the last decade, the importance of making urban data openly available for city innovation has increased significantly. Many cities are starting to invest in appropriate data infrastructures to make urban data more widely available for internal use and more accessible to third parties.

Initial attempts of such open data initiatives have focused on static data sets and GIS information that come from internal city council databases and planning departments and have led to the emergence of open data stores in a variety of cities. By opening up real-time data from closed vertical legacy systems such as energy and transportation or the deployment of new IoT infrastructures in cities, a richer set of data can be made available for services that can react to real-world events and drive new efficiencies of public service delivery and/or improve significantly the user experience.

Digital front runner cities such as Barcelona, Singapore and Amsterdam have worked closely with larger vendors such as CISCO or IBM to establish integrated IoT data platforms. These platforms solve the data integration problem and allow to harmonise access to IoT data across different verticals making IoT data accessible to third parties via APIs. However, the market now offers nearly 500 different IoT platforms[1] from different vendors, many of these also applicable to cities.

The lack of commonly agreed and adopted smart city standards across vendors makes it difficult to build vendor agnostic solutions which lead to city vendor lock-in and make it more difficult for third party infrastructure and service providers to develop solutions that scale.

Challenge of Creating Integrated Urban Data Platforms

Scaling city platforms without vendor lock-in: the lack of usable standards and an interoperable vendor ecosystem for IoT-enabled smart city solutions makes it difficult for cities to commit to a specific solution, without creating significant dependencies on a single vendor. There is a latent fear of vendor lock-in that can affect further procurement choices for expansions and scaling of the underlying infrastructure, without significant system integration expenses. As a result, cities are often reluctant to make larger investment in smart infrastructure hampering the market uptake of these.

Increasing portability of IoT-enabled city services across city environments – avoiding city lock-in: current APIs for accessing streamed data from IoT infrastructures and other sources can vary greatly across cities, and so can the availability of specific data sources and underlying data formats. This makes it very challenging for many developers and providers of IoT-based smart city services to deploy and operate a service that has been initially developed for one city environment to another, significantly limiting the opportunities that come from economies of scale. We call this fear of “city lock-in”.

Encouraging new IoT infrastructure investments and sharing of closed data in cities: proprietary IoT infrastructures and their tight coupling to specific services and IoT platforms makes it difficult to support IoT infrastructure reuse and achieve necessary economies of scale. The resulting siloed business models, e.g. one IoT deployment for one specific app, make it harder to achieve a viable return of investments.  In addition to IoT infrastructure, other companies and organisations such as telecom operators, utility companies or insurance firms hold a rich set of data sources that can augment existing open data sources to fuel further innovation and provide the basis to solve more complex challenges.

Finding secondary exploitations for IoT deployments and currently closed data sets would enable new business models and bring down the barrier for investment. However, licensing models for sharing such data are not yet properly understood and developed. Future-proof market mechanisms are needed that provide adequate trust and incentives, in order to extend the commercial viability of open data beyond traditional licencing models.

Establishing Common Foundations for IoT Data Sharing

Moving from proprietary smart city platforms to a scalable digital single market requires fostering consensus on a common reference architecture with common interfaces and information models. For the past years the supply side has been either focused on proprietary solutions or tried to battle it out as part of competing standards-based vendor ecosystem. The lack of progress on consensus has frustrated many cities and seriously slowed down further smart city investments.

Motivated by this market failure, a variety of cities in Europe have formed the Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiatives, which has now grown into an international smart city network that has the goal of creating and shaping the nascent global smart city data and services market. After a phase of rapid growth, OASC now connects 124 smart cities globally organised in national networks from 25 countries and regions. Its main goal is to establish the Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs) needed to create a smart city market. MIMs are simple and transparent mechanisms, ready to use in any city, regardless of size or capacity. By implementing MIMs, cities increase the speed and openness of innovation and development, whilst decreasing cost and inefficiency. In essence, MIMs allow cities to engage in global digital transformation.

Several pioneering OASC cities have joined forces with vendors under the umbrella of the SynchroniCity project[2] to propose a common reference architecture (see figure 1) including MIMs (highlighted in red) and pilot these in practice at scale.

Figure 1: Reference architecture for urban data platforms.

Figure 1: Reference architecture for urban data platforms.

Eight cities led the way which include Antwerp, Carouge, Eindhoven, Manchester, Milan, Porto, Helsinki and Santander the pilots have now been extended this year to include 12 further cities Edinburgh, Dublin, Herning, Tampere, Novi Sad, Bordeaux, Bilbao, Calatayud, La Nucia, Seongnam, Faro and Donegal. 16 pilot projects deliver the same service across at least 2 or more cities leading overall 49 service deployments.

In practice, the OASC MIMs are a set of common APIs to access data, context information to structure data. In addition, a reference architecture and a reference implementation complete the set of MIMs. OASC Council of Cities officially adopted the first three MIMs in January 2019, which are shown in the Table 1.



Proposed standards

Context Information Management

API providing access to real-time context information from  the different cities.

NGSI-LD, currently standardised in ETSI CIM working group[3].

Shared Data Models

Guidelines and catalogue of common data models in different verticals to enable interoperability for applications and systems among different cities

FIWARE data models[4], developed by the FIWARE foundation. To be further extended in partnership with TM Forum into so called Smart City Common Data Models.

Ecosystem Transaction Management


Functionalities such as catalogue management, ordering management, revenue management, Service Level Agreements (SLA), licence management etc.

FIWARE / TM Forum Business API Ecosystem[5] has been adapted and extended to develop the IoT data marketplace.

Table 1: Minimum Interoperability Mechanisms agreed by Open & Agile Smart Cities.

From Common Platforms to Common Marketplaces

Beyond harmonisation of access to IoT data sources, we have developed an IoT data marketplace as a new enabler to foster a trusted data ecosystem in cities, based on the MIM for transaction ecosystem management. The data marketplace acts as a one-stop-shop for city-generated data and offers opportunities for generating value to all parties in the smart city ecosystem. Data providers (i.e. organisations/municipalities that own IoT devices or data sets) can expose their data assets in the marketplace and generating revenue from trading them; data consumers (i.e. service providers that build data-driven applications) can browse the data catalogues in the marketplace and purchase data to build their applications; citizens and municipalities can eventually benefit from a huge range of innovative smart city services.

Existing IoT data marketplaces lack of tools to define data licence agreements and service level agreements (SLAs). Businesses need a clear basis to exploit data and create new digital services on top of it. Open data is good, but end users need confidence that data will be available and regularly updated, that the provider will not pull out of the agreement all of a sudden. To this end, our IoT data marketplace provides tools to define both standard open data licences and custom data licences as well as SLAs.

Furthermore, a security layer to control access to data complements the platform along with a trust layer. The latter allows for storing and tracking the agreements on a blockchain network to create audit trails to settle potential disputes which may arise between data providers and data consumers. The service helps build trust among the marketplace users and fosters a fair behavior in adherence to data licence agreements and SLAs.

The Figure 2 illustrates the high-level conceptual diagram of the IoT data marketplace, highlighting the main functionality of its main components. The core platform (marketplace API and portal) is based on the FIWARE / TM Forum Business API Ecosystem and is currently operational in Manchester (UK) and Santander (Spain), with deployment imminent in other SynchroniCity partner cities.

Figure 2: Concepts underlying the SynchroniCity IoT data marketplace.

Figure 2: Concepts underlying the SynchroniCity IoT data marketplace.


After more than a decade of Smart City experimentation, cities have finally realised that proprietary urban data platforms of existing vendors fail to provide sufficient opportunities for a rich ecosystem of smart city solution providers to emerge. A scalable market requires consensus on common interfaces, APIs and data models so that economies of scale can be quickly achieved. This year, 20 cities across Europe and other parts of the world have embarked on a journey to pilot what we believe could form the foundations of a future digital single market for IoT enabled smart city services. Now is the time to join in order to make this vision become a reality.









alex gluhakAlex Gluhak is Head of Technology (IoT) at the Digital Catapult, where he is responsible for interventions to help UK companies grow faster using emerging digital technologies. For more than 15 years Alex has actively contributed to the research of mobile computing and IoT technologies and how they can be applied to problems in the energy, water and smart city domain. He has worked for companies such as Intel Labs and Ericsson and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers at International conferences and journals about his work.


andrea gaglioneAndrea Gaglione is a Senior Technologist at Digital Catapult where he is responsible for initiating and developing innovation projects in the area of the Internet of Things (IoT). He has over 10 years’ experience in academia and industry, building sensor networks, cyber-physical systems, and IoT infrastructures. His current work focuses on fostering and driving business adoption of IoT and low-power wide-area networks, and establishing digital marketplaces for IoT-enabled smart cities.




2019-05-05 @ 12:56 PM by Spence, Robert

 Perhaps it was not your intention, but nowhere is the question of data ownership addressed nor whether there is place for the citizen to exercise GDPR rights regarding authorised public use of private data - a follow-on article would be appropriate.

What Role Can IoT Play in Tactile Internet?

Mithun Mukherjee and Qi Zhang
March 13, 2019


We are witnessing the unprecedented growth of mobile devices with seamless connectivity and high-speed mobile broadband Internet in almost every aspect of the digitalized world. In the coming years, we envision the next form of cyber-physical systems with an advanced and sophisticated tele-operation, termed as Tactile Internet.

Before we discuss what Tactile Internet is, let us look at the ongoing research efforts in today's communication and networking technologies. We are now familiar with ultra-reliable and low-latency, massive connectivity, and machine-type communications in 5G communication systems. Tactile Internet will take a step forward to perform nearly real-time tele-operation and manipulation of remote physical or virtual objects while delivering human and machine skills. Compared to the content-centric mobile broadband Internet services, Tactile Internet aims to provide audio-visual, and haptic interactions for real-time steering and control of these remote physical or virtual objects. Some of the promising examples of Tactile Internet ranges from remote surgery, remote automation, remote driving, to remote learning and education. In August 2014, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-Technology Watch Report already sketched the opportunities for emerging technology in business and societies with the emergence of Tactile Internet -- which is envisioned as the next wave of innovation.

Tactile Internet is More than Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency communications (uRLLC)

It is important to mention that the Tactile Internet is not analogous to ultra-reliable low-latency communications (uRLLC), obviously, uRLLC is one of the underlying network domain communication infrastructures to support the reliable and near to real-time tele-operated services required by Tactile Internet. That is, to say, compared to uRLLC, Tactile Internet has a much broader outlook -- haptic-to-human interfaces, tactile controller, tele-operated robots, and a closed-loop control system are also part of Tactile Internet.

The Main Domains in Tactile Internet Architecture

The overall architecture of TI consists of three domains: a) master domain, b) controlled domain, and c) network domain. The master domain, in general, consists of human and/or machines operators. For the human operator, there is a human-to-system interface to convert human input to haptic input and also provide tactile (touch, surface texture, and friction) as well as kinaesthetic (position, velocity, force, and torque) feedback to the human. The controlled domain mainly consists of remotely operated robots-actuators, and sensors (that provide data to the master domain). This bi-directional haptic interaction is transmitted over the reliable and low-delay networks, either wireless or wired. These three domains generally form a close-loop with haptic feedback and control commands.

Figure 1: Overall Tactile Internet architecture (Master domain, network domain, and controlled domain).

Figure 1: Overall Tactile Internet architecture (Master domain, network domain, and controlled domain). 

Novel Development in Cross-Technology is Essential for the Tactile Internet

Although the realization of Tactile Internet is in its infant stage, many disruptive technologies are yet to be advanced. It is, indeed, nearly impossible to meet such carrier-grade latency, reliability, and availability for the Tactile Internet with ultra-low latency tele-operation. Even with fully-optical fiber communications, we cannot go beyond 150 km away with 1 millisecond delay, although ignoring other delays involved in data collection, processing, and analyzing. Therefore, it remains an open question to address these challenges for investigating advances in cross-technology in Tactile Internet- the novel development not only from the networking technologies, but also from the hardware for haptic interfaces.

IoT and Tactile Internet

Due to the massive connected IoT devices, a huge resource pool of advanced sensing and lightweight data transportation combined with a smart way of data collection and management is being created. However, it is difficult to obtain straightforward benefits from IoT in Tactile Internet. The main reason is that most of the IoT applications are delay-tolerant, therefore, a tradeoff is often made between latency and capacity (number of connected devices). However, Tactile Internet cannot relax the end-to-end latency at any circumstance. Another important factor is that the sensor data in many IoT application is error and loss tolerant. However, carrier-grade reliability and availability in the tele-operator services cannot tolerate any data loss, even 1 packet out of 105.

It is clear that Quality-of-Service (QoS) in Tactile Internet is very different from IoT.

One basic similarity between IoT and Tactile Internet is that due to the nature of haptic devices -- being a low-power and resource-constrained like IoT end-devices -- it remains a challenging task how the local data processing and network management can be executed in Tactile Internet.

Edge intelligence for Tactile Internet

In fact, we could envision that the context-aware computation in IoT will become an integral of the Tactile Internet architecture design. The main reason is that, a significant amount of “intelligence” must be given to the domains of Tactile Internet. The collected data from the IoT infrastructure enable to develop this intelligence -- refers to “edge intelligence”. This is one of the viable ways to provide carrier-grade reliability and real-time operations for Tactile Internet -- by analyzing a large amount of historical data, thereafter, learning the dynamics of the remote environment and predicting the human command in advance in Tactile Internet.

Thus, one fundamental question arises: “How could we leverage the enormous ambient Intelligence in IoT ecosystem to facilitate the development of Tactile Internet without any dragging the carrier-grade reliability, latency, availability of Tactile Internet to the IoT domain?


  1. G. P. Fettweis, ``The tactile Internet: Applications and challenges,'' IEEE Vehi. Technol. Mag., vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 64--70, Mar. 2014.
  2. IEEE P1918 Tactile Internet Emerging Technologies Subcommittee,” accessed Feb. 15, 2018. [Online]. Available:
  3. M. Simsek, A. Aijaz, M. Dohler, J. Sachs, and G. Fettweis, ``5G-enabled Tactile Internet,'' IEEE J. Select. Areas Commun., vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 460--473, Mar. 2016.
  4. S. M. A. Oteafy and H. S. Hassanein, "Leveraging Tactile Internet Cognizance and Operation via IoT and Edge Technologies," in Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 364--375, Feb. 2019.


mithun mukherjeeMithun Mukherjee is an assistant professor with the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Petrochemical Equipment Fault Diagnosis, Guangdong University of Petrochemical Technology, Maoming, China. His research interests include fog computing, Tactile Internet, and ultra-reliable low-latency communications. He has (co)authored more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed international transactions/journals and conferences. Dr. Mukherjee was a recipient of the 2016 EAI WICON, the 2017 IEEE SigTelCom, the 2018 IEEE Systems Journal, and the 2018 IEEE ANTS Best Paper Award. He has been an associate editor for the IEEE Access and a guest editor for IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, ACM/Springer Mobile Networks and Applications, and Sensors. He is a regular reviewer for many prestigious journals and conferences and serves as the TPC member for various conferences. He completed his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology Patna, Patna, India, in 2015. He is a member of IEEE.


qi zhangQi Zhang received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in telecommunications from Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark, in 2005 and 2008, respectively. She is an Associate Professor with the Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, Denmark. Besides her academic experiences, she has various industrial experiences. Her research interests include Tactile Internet, IoT, URLLC, Mobile Edge Computing, Massive machine type communication, Non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) and compressed sensing. She is serving as an Editor for EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking. She was a Co-Chair of the Co-operative and Cognitive Mobile Networks (CoCoNet) Workshop in the ICC conference 2010-2015 and was a TPC Co-Chair of BodyNets 2015.



The Silent Tech Epidemic

Rebecca Hammons and Joel Myers
March 13, 2019


Over the past 30 years, through the Internet and the all-embracing impact of social networks, we have participated in a “connectivity” revolution. We are truly globalised. Yet we are unaware of the serious consequences that this radical change is having on our lives, redefining who we are and how we value ourselves as human beings.

The United Nations predicts that 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050 [1]. Economic considerations are often key to such decisions. However, more densely populated cities do not necessarily result in greater opportunities to build meaningful relationships.

One of the paradoxes of cities is that even if you are surrounded by people there can be a no lonelier place. A 2013 survey by ComRes found that in London 52% of people are lonely [2]. In Tokyo, the largest megacity on the planet, friends are hard to come by, so you can find one at rent-a-friend agencies. In the US, a troubling 2018 survey from the health care provider Cigna [3], which charts social isolation using a common measure known as the U.C.L.A. Loneliness Scale, concluded that almost 50% of Americans sometimes or “always” feel alone. And an incredible 13% say that zero people know them well. The survey also demonstrates that loneliness is worse in each successive generation. Vivek Murthy, ex Surgeon General of the US, wrote “during my years caring for patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness” [4].

Today loneliness isn’t just a social issue. It’s a legitimate public health threat. Urban living raises the risk of depression by 40% [5]. In 2010, Brigham Young University published a shocking study which concluded that weak virtual social connections can reduce a person’s life expectancy by 15 years [6]. That’s like smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The smart city approach can provide us with solutions to urban issues, “where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business” [7]. Yet, the current smart cities approach focuses on “efficient” services, ignoring and possibly even amplifying the critical issues of social well-being in cities.

Smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT) will increase the level of automation of services and simultaneously shift many of our activities into a more isolated sphere. Consider the ability to use a smartphone application to order your groceries and have them delivered. Quite convenient yet also void of human interaction, especially once autonomous, connected vehicles are providing the delivery service. While devices are more connected, people are becoming less connected with each other. Although no panacea exists for achieving happiness, scientific research and common sense tell us that happiness is achieved through “real-life” relationships and sharing with others [8].

Face-to-face connections build trust and understanding in a transparent relationship where belonging, sharing, empathy and a feeling of “real” existence result through all 5 of our senses. Human communication skills are essential to creating and maintaining relationships, and the quality of one’s relationships has a direct impact on the ability to succeed both personally and professionally. Our emphasis on IoT as a device-centered experience, from smartphones to robotics to artificial intelligence devices, fails to account for how real people benefit in building relationships. Instead, of interacting with the people around us, near or far, there is a tendency to use technology to interact. Two thirds of teenagers report that the Internet has decreased their desire for face-to-face communications with their friends [9].

Today, a large part of our identity is defined by our digital twin, our social networking profile, which can be designed to show our best face, not necessarily who we really are. The value we give ourselves as human beings is fast-becoming superficial, based on how many “followers” we have notched up, the number of people who have read our blog, or “liked” our latest photo.

It’s imperative that we plan for an Internet of People (IoP) that provides products and services to enhance the ability of urban dwellers to connect with others, sharing interests. As we have built a global community, we have neglected to keep an eye on the needs of the local community. As we build Smart Cities, we need to consider the main asset of any city and that is its people. As we traverse an urban environment to shop, live and work, we concurrently miss opportunities to interact with others; we have become more fearsome and apathetic in building relationships. Technology hasn’t supported the Internet of People to date, only the Internet of Things. And that needs to change by creating new tools to put balance back into how we build and maintain relationships.

Here is a recent example of how we might approach meeting such needs. HoozAround™ is an innovative mobile application genre that is intended for use in urban environments for a multitude of purposes in building and maintaining interpersonal and business relationships ( This smartphone application is driven by user profiles (social or business), personal preferences and interests, and uses wireless technology to continually scan the environment within a 70-metre radius to identify potential ‘matches’ to others who have shared interests. Upon a match, the only option is to engage in physical interaction to expand the face-to-face relationship. This approach enables one to take advantage of the limitless opportunities to connect with others in an urban context - opportunities that are currently missed.

Starting in 2019, a project called The Internet of People Cities Initiative is being launched on a global-scale, using the HoozAround™ technology, to develop strong face-to-face networking within cities. An innovative smart city approach to bringing about social well-being. It is being piloted in collaboration with the IEEE and selected smart cities in Europe, Africa and the US. These cities are engaging in the initiative in order to enhance human connectedness to benefit the local population and visitors as follows:

  • Within social communities. The initiative will address the loneliness issue in urban populations; for immigration it will establish a network for them to acclimate within the community, helping them integrate into society.
  • Within business. The initiative will provide face-to-face B2B networking for local business people, creating a new stream of commercial opportunities; business visitors can also join this network on arrival in the city, giving them the opportunity to connect with each other and local businesses.
  • Within campus. Improved interaction amongst college students, especially international students, who often arrive without a local support group; such a tool can help students assimilate based on common interests.

We have all seen the disruption that has been caused by smartphone technology through innovation, economic opportunity, and interpersonal communication impacts. While the technology space will continue to transform the way we live and work, especially through the smart cities initiatives and Internet of Things, we will watch the HoozAround™ technology and Internet of People Cities Initiative pilots carefully to see if we can begin to achieve more balance in how we meet the Internet of People requirements to maintain our sense of humanness within our global society.


  1. The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects, Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA),
  2. Report: Campaign to End Loneliness, COMRES, UK, 2013,
  3. Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index, 2018,
  4. Work and the Loneliness Epidemic (Harvard Business Review), September 28, 2017
  5. The Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health,
  6. Perspectives on Psychological Science, Brigham Young University, 2010
  7. The European Commission, What are smart cities?,
  8. Jenny Santi, The Giving Way to Happiness: Stories & Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving, 2015
  9. The Impact of the Internet on Teenagers’ Face-to-Face Communications, Nuhu Diraso Gapsiso, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria



rebecca hammonsRebecca Hammons has extensive technology industry experience in establishing and leading software quality assurance, product development lifecycle services, and project management teams. Strengths include technical leadership, process improvement and automation, predictive analytics for software, and strategic planning. Dr. Hammons has worked for Ontario Systems, Apple, Raytheon, Tivoli Systems and Wang, in addition to several niche software firms. She is a Certified Quality Manager and Certified Software Quality Engineer with the American Society for Quality (ASQ) and a Certified Scrum Master and Certified Scrum Product Owner with Scrum Alliance. Dr. Hammons received her Ed.D. and M.A. from Ball State University and her B.A. from Michigan State University. Her current technology industry research interests include Slow Tech, Burnout Theory, Internet of Things/Smart Cities (UX and Elders), and Gold-Collar Workers. Dr. Hammons thrives on leading organizational change initiatives and coaching individuals and teams to reach their full potential.


joel myersJoel Myers is a leading technologist specializing in the creation and development of innovation technology solutions in the communications and management of services in Cultural Heritage – Tourism, and Business, Social and Campus Networking for Smart Cities. Over the past 25 years, he has worked with an important portfolio of government agencies (at national and local levels) developing and managing the world’s first commercial video-guide service for a historic site, at the Colosseum and Roman Forum. He has also worked with museums and art libraries, such as digital photo-archiving of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); The Frick Art Reference Library (New York); and the Courtauld Institute (London). Worked also with cultural monuments and historic cities, developing 3D modelling with international universities, such as UCLA and the Polytechnic of Milan, for projects such as “3D Ancient Rome” in partnership with Google Inc., California (the first historic city to be viewable on Google Earth – visited by 72 million users worldwide in the first week of launching in 2008); with the Government of Qatar; and with the Super-intendency of Pompeii. His company is currently pioneering a cutting-edge “People-Centric” approach to Smart Cities called The Internet of People Cities Initiative, that is a global drive to bring people truly “together” within a city, face-to-face, using smartphone technologies as a facilitator. A founding group of city members on a worldwide scale is currently being developed to both pilot and lead initiative within Europe, the US, India and Asia. The work carried out by Joel Myers has been published in international newspapers and journals such as the BBC, New York Times, Hong Times, the Hindu Times, Wired, and Forbes Magazine.




2019-03-30 @ 4:44 PM by Manning, Kelly

Connectable and not updated is the worst possible situation.

I think that connectivity should be regulated as either modular or requiring some sort of physical intervention to enable and that there should always be an option to disable connectivity, without it being turned back on withou physical intervention.
The only wireless access in my home is the digital power meter installed by BC Hydro. I have used wired internet at home since the 1990s. When I got paid to carry a work phone I had to get corporate services to have Bell disable roaming. Cell service at my home is so poor that the work phones kept roaming to the USA San Juan Islands, contrary to conditions in our contract with our client specifying that no work related voice or data communication could pass through the USA.
Being able to modify software may have some advantages with major appliances, but I will never understand the appeal of connected light bulbs, toasters, or coffee makers. It also poses the risk of the device being hacked and rendered non functional. A hacked clothes washer could destroy itself, let alone a hacked car.

In an episode of "Fais pas ci, fais pas ça" the "Cool Dad" keeps shouting variations on Macchiato at the supposedly smart coffee maker, until his wife screams at him to shut up and just press the button.

I have 2 obsolete analog CRT TVs with fixed function tuning and video that I need to "recycle".  Newer technology such as Software Defined Radios and updateable Digitial Control could avoid having to retire an entire national inventory of technology such as analog TV, but those are very rare situations. It is getting to the point where I am having trouble finding Linux versions capable of keeping my old 32 intel devices operational.