Since the middle of the Twentieth Century, two of the biggest social shifts we’ve seen have been about communication at a distance and people coming physically closer together. Even while the internet has connected people across the globe at the speed of light and changed the way we live and work, our cities have grown remarkably, from 750 million to nearly three billion people between 1950 and 2018, and the UN projects that the urban population will grow to nearly 6.7 billion by 2050.
Importing the benefits of digital networks to help cities thrive, however, also means importing the challenges and risks which we’re now familiar with online. Collecting data and turning it into actionable insight underlies a lot of contemporary industrial innovation, from present-day realities like smart banking apps to incoming disruptions like autonomous vehicles. Often, though, this data is highly sensitive, and security vulnerabilities of the kind that we have seen affect many business institutions could have catastrophic consequences in the context of the smart city.