Smart City Partnerships

Smart Cities and the Internet of Things: Benefits, Risks, and Options
Policy Paper
Oct. 18, 2016

Cities generate over 70 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). Most industries and commercial entities are located in or in the vicinity of urban areas. As urbanization increases, cities—especially in underdeveloped nations— will face a host of challenges. Information and communications technologies (ICT) provide great opportunities for overcoming these challenges and improving overall economic well-being for city dwellers and workers. 

Efforts to utilize ICT in urban centers are often referred to as “Smart Cities” initiatives. While Smart Cities rely on a host of different ICT, one of the most important technological developments underlying these efforts is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT promises a wide range of benefits to Smart Cities, but also carries a number of serious cybersecurity risks. This paper examines how IoT might be used to support Smart Cities, explores the cybersecurity risks associated with IoT technologies, and proposes a number of steps that might be taken to address those risks.