Smart Cities are no longer fiction. These days, all sorts of innovations are popping up.
One of such innovations is the use of blockchain technology in emergency operations in Urban Areas.
Olsztyn, Poland has become the first city in the world to have a part of its emergency services to be powered by blockchain technology.
With the new technology, emergency service operations will be able to access secured facilities without the need for physical access devices.
E-Crypto News caught up with Szymon Fiedorowicz , CEO of SmartKey. Here is what he had to say.
Szymon Fiedorowicz , CEO of SmartKey
- What are the various uses of blockchain technology in urban areas?
The sky is the limit! There are any number of potential smart city integrations where we could combine SmartKey’s API and blockchain-enabled hardware with real world data and systems to harness the power of automated data-driven IoT applications with tangible value or action.
We have already implemented a number of test projects including holiday and office rental accommodation, parking services, electric car charging stations, and mobile solutions (GPS and GSM).
We have also used weather data to help set temperature controls in office buildings. The key is to connect all the multiple sources of data that could be useful in a smart city infrastructure on the blockchain via smart contracts and then be able to create actions and reactions off chain, in the physical world. We call it the Blockchain of Things.
- How exactly does SmartKey work?
SmartKey is the missing part of the puzzle that connects the world of blockchain with the world of physical assets.
The SmartKey protocol manages access to different physical devices across the Blockchain of Things (BoT) space, such as gates or barriers.
The data and events are sourced and delivered by the ecosystem to the SmartKey connector, which then turns that data (commands issued by Ethereum smart contracts) into instructions for BoT devices (e.g., active sensors GSM — GPS).
Our connectors can also deliver information to oracles confirming these real world instructions were carried out (e.g. gate was opened), potentially leading to additional smart contract outputs.
The confirmation of service delivery is a “contract key” that connects both ecosystems into one “world” and relays an Ethereum action to BoT devices.
- When it comes to efficiency, seamless operations, and interoperability with other technologies what does SmartKey offer?
Most of our transactions are read and processed automatically, so they work immediately and seamlessly with physical devices.
To enable the BoT connection, we have chosen the Waves blockchain that is the fastest blockchain in that space. We have many nodes, and we will add more if needed.
- What are the benefits for buildings that have SmartKey deployed?
The initial integration is based on rescue service authorities issuing commands to interact with connected devices such as parking gates, garage doors, and emergency response systems.
Smart contracts provide a method of automating the gate authorization process using a public issued alert, both accelerating the process time and documenting an immutable record on the blockchain of the municipal service carried out.
As a result all processes are automated – easier and quicker for building owners and developers.
- What are the security measures that are in place to deter hackers?
Access control based on the blockchain is one of our security elements and we believe it will offer protection from ddos attacks.
Private keys will be held by users themselves. By minimising potential points of entry, we minimise the opportunity for hackers.
Blockchain itself has never successfully been hacked, the vulnerability is actions coming off blockchain.
- In the event of a hard fork, upgrade, or similar on the Ethereum public blockchain, what measures have been put in place to forestall gaps in SmartKey operations?
SmartKey connectors identify networks that they connect to. As a result, a fork will not match and the communication will not enable access.
- Do you have any plans to expand SmartKey uses in urban areas? Care to spill the beans?
The successful pilot project paves the way for other cities and regions, both in Poland and globally, to build smart cities of the future by leveraging the same decentralized blockchain technology infrastructure to not only connect to emergency services but other infrastructure elements, such as utilities and transport.
We are partnering with Chanlink to reach global markets using an integration with Chainlink oracles.
Another use case being explored is triggering an emergency services lockdown of gates and windows based on weather data for high wind speeds and hurricane warnings.
This is really just the beginning, especially as we continue to onboard more remote access devices like electric car charging stations. Chainlink opens up datasets such as utility meters, weather controllers, pressure sensors, temperature gauges, liquid level movement.
- Do you have any plans in the future to run an independent blockchain? Do you have any pointers to this?
That is a very interesting space and we are thinking about it. We believe it will be a must-have in the future.
Right now we are focusing on oracles and our IoT strategy to bring maximum number of use cases to the world and implement SmartKey communication standard in maximum number of devices.
Then we may introduce a dedicated blockchain to that.
- Are any steps taken to continuously audit the Smart Contracts that SmartKey run operations? What steps are taken to be unique in a field where so many people want to copy others?
We are unique as no other blockchain technology can communicate with the physical world so easily.
We have connected tokens and other cryptocurrencies with IoT devices that can open car doors, hotel doors, office doors, that can open gates and can connect with electric chargers systems.
We have over 20 years experience in IoT and smart cities technologies, with over 30 developers specialised in this particular business.
We have already implemented projects with brands such as KIA Motors, Mercedes, Teltonika and Chainlink with more to come.
We are moving fast and the technology is already built and working, which gives us a huge advantage.
- Do you think Blockchain-driven smart cities are a reality in the next decade? Please give us a workable scenario of what this will be like?
Smartkey’s ultimate vision is to be the enabler for the smart city of the future. We believe that the Blockchain of Things will overtake the Internet of Things.
Emergency services, which can already use our solution, will be able to implement the technology as a global standard.
We believe the SmartKey communication standard can be as ubiquitous as Bluetooth technology (without the range limitation) and we have a detailed plan how to achieve that.
Current SmartKey technology is compatible with over 12 million Teltonika devices used in many smart cities products.
In the future, the communication standard based on blockchain will be a rule. As a result most IoT devices and smart cities solutions will be based on blockchain in the next 10 years.