Smart city security spells opportunity for integrators

James Hill, electronic security sales manager,
NG Bailey

“The UK capital performed well in the rankings due to its adoption rate for smart technologies, from street lighting to traffic management. But hooking up a few streets to intelligent systems does not make a smart city. As with all ambitious city-wide initiatives, security has a major, early stage role to play.” says James Hill electronic security sales manager, NG Bailey’s IT Services division

Broadly speaking, this role splits into two kinds of work: ‘onsite’ and ‘offsite’. The latter refers to the job of securing connected systems in publicly available spaces such as streets, parks and squares, while the former focuses on connected systems that serve a single building or campus. This distinction matters for all sorts of reasons. Offsite work typically requires a greater degree of remote access control. City-wide traffic management data, for example, as collected from street-by-street IP-CCTV installations, needs to be collated and analysed at a central source before decisions can be made on how to reduce congestion by redirecting the traffic. Typically (but not always) offsite work covers a much wider area and, as a result, requires more resources and a longer period of time to implement before its benefits are felt. Commonly, the objectives for offsite are also grander and more ambitious than those for onsite; ‘reduce the amount of litter on our streets’ (by installing smart sensors in public bins that will alert refuse collectors when full) is a good example.


Onsite work, conversely, comes with a different set of parameters. The connected systems are, by definition, confined so the required deployment timescales are usually shorter. That’s a good job too, since the objectives for onsite work are mostly commercial, which inevitably means greater pressure to demonstrate Return on Investment (RoI) at the earliest opportunity. But, on the flipside, these installations can also be more complex in nature.

When building and campus management systems are all migrating to IP including, amongst others, lighting, heating/air conditioning, CCTV and access control, a greater degree of converged and centralised management is enabled. This brings with it a dizzying array of data source combinations, each of which can be combined, parameterised and analysed to deliver new insights that can boost operational efficiency. Or reduce energy consumption. Or improve traffic flow. Or streamline systems maintenance. Or increase campus security…. The biggest challenge with ‘onsite’ is not in performing the installation itself, it is in identifying precisely what it is that you want to achieve with your new smart building’s systems.


But regardless of how modest or ambitious these objectives are, security must remain paramount. After all, in the wrong hands, the management systems governing a hyper-connected building, or worse, a city’s transport infrastructure, have the potential to wreak never-before-seen levels of disruption. With this in mind, system vulnerabilities must be identified and resolved from the word ‘go’.

This is a big opportunity for the UK’s integrators. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), millions of devices, appliances, machines and vehicles are now capable of sharing data. London’s population is 8.6 million and in 2014 it welcomed over 17.4 million tourists. That’s an awful lot of connections, and a massive user-base for the city’s onsite and offsite infrastructures.

How best to address the security challenge? A cohesive approach between security and IT professionals is both a sound and necessary starting point. Establishing a robust set of security standards, upon which connected systems can base future development will also assist in securing interoperability and data exchange.

Finally, first-hand implementation experience will count for a lot, especially in these early days when everything is being hooked up. NG Bailey’s IT Services division has already amassed a tremendous bank of specialist knowledge installing IP-converged security systems across the capital and beyond. These implementations migrate formerly standalone systems like physical access control, CCTV and site-wide floodlighting onto a centrally managed IT network, creating an automated system that increases both the safety of personnel and the protection of a site’s assets.

Our work to integrate other building control systems onto the same network, such as lighting, heating, air conditioning and machine fault monitoring is the next step on the road to the creation of truly smart buildings, and is already arming businesses with the potential to make significant dents in their energy consumption and overall carbon footprint.

Over the next five years, the impact of IoT and connected security will continue to bring profound changes to the infrastructures supporting smart cities like London. But both care and quality is needed from the capital’s integrators during this time of plenty. Get it right, and all the work to establish London’s hyper-connectivity will pay off; the wellbeing of its populace will increase, the performance of the city will be enhanced, and its costs and resource consumption will reduce. This is the ultimate prize.


This blog published by the author James Hill, electronic security sales manager, NG Bailey’s IT Services division


Axiomtek launches compact DIN-rail IIOT gateway for data driven energy

Posted on: November 30, 2022

Axiomtek, a world-renowned specialist relentlessly devoted in the research, development, and manufacture of series of innovative and reliable industrial computer products of high efficiency is pleased to announce the ICO120-E3350, an extremely compact industrial IoT gateway powered by the Intel Celeron processor N3350 (codename: Apollo Lake-M). The ruggedised designs feature fanless operation, -40°C to 70°C

Read more

Semtech, AWS to create low-power IoT track and trace services with LoRa cloud geolocation

Posted on: November 30, 2022

Please replace the release with the following corrected version due to multiple revisions to the Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements.

Read more

The IoT Adoption Boom – Everything You Need to Know

Posted on: September 28, 2022

In an age when we seem to go through technology boom after technology boom, it’s hard to imagine one sticking out. However, IoT adoption, or the Internet of Things adoption, is leading the charge to dominate the next decade’s discussion around business IT. Below, we’ll discuss the current boom, what’s driving it, where it’s going,

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more