Low Cost Smart Cities
Rapid urbanization burdens city infrastructure and creates the need for local governments to maximize the usage of resources to serve its citizens. Smart city projects aim to alleviate the urbanization problem by deploying a vast amount of Internet-of-things (IoT) devices to monitor and manage environmental conditions and infrastructure. However, smart city projects can be extremely expensive to deploy and manage. A significant portion of the expense is a result of providing Internet connectivity via 5G or WiFi to IoT devices. We propose the use of delay tolerant networks (DTNs) as a backbone in combination with edge computing for smart city communication; enabling developing communities to become smart cities at a fraction of the cost. In collaboration with the City of Louisville, KY, we investigate models to aid policy makers in designing and evaluating the expected performance of such networks. To demonstrate the utility of DTNs we develop a distributed privacy-conscious people counter over existing city infrastructure.
Research in delay tolerant networks (DTNs) and opportunistic communication has been conducted for almost for almost 20 years, yet real-world evaluations and deployments are inadequate or limited to simulation environments. Simulations tend to lead to unexpected real-world performance due to the complexity of characterizing node discovery, mobility, message delivery, and power consumption. This project enables real-world smart city deploy- ments and will assist policy makers will making strategic financial communication decisions based on quality of service (QoS) requirements of smart city data instead of depending on cellular infrastructure that may be underutilized.
The research and technology developed in this proposal enables developing communities, rural areas, and developed cities to become smart cities at a reduced cost. Because of the proposed situations, it is a valuable tool in scenarios where government budgets are limited, centralized communications have been temporarily disabled or congested (such as in bad weather events and natural disasters). The potential impact of the proposed innovations can provide important connectivity to citizens, hospitals, and safety personnel in rural areas where infrastructure is limited and to low-income users who would benefit from smart city applications, but cannot afford the costs of standard Internet service. In addition, widespread adoption of low-cost smart cities could relieve congestion on overburdened networks in heavily populated areas without the need to build expensive new infrastructure, allowing municipal leaders to maximize smart city potential without incurring excessive costs.