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1. Overview Points

Smart communities that use technology such as data analytics, sensors and other smart technologies, are emerging as a way to address various problems that face communities. Common problems that can be overcome include:

  • Power Distribution
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation and traffic
  • Air quality
  • Access to education
  • Shelter
  • Water

(UW cite)

Through smart technologies, improvements in efficiencies can help smart communities better distribute and provide limited resources while detecting potential problems that can be better addressed.

Main Talking Points

Cyber physical systems (CPS) refers to new generation of technology that integrates sensors with computers to allow systems to physically interact with its environment and with people.

CPS feedback loop. How people and the environment interact with CPS and its embedded sensors, affects how the system operates and adjusts and vice versa. As a result, this feedback loop gives CPS increased capability, scalability, adaptability and resiliency as the system continually reacts and responds to its environment. (Baheti & Gill, 2011).

Integrated into infrastructure. Improved CPS technology can be integrated into infrastructure of smart communities to monitor, determine optimal distribution of resources and interact with the environment and people to collect data. Electricity grid, telecommunication grid, traffic sensors, mass transit can all be integrated with CPS technologies (Gunes et al., 2014).


Smart power grid. Current applications include integrating CPS into current power grids to create ‘smart electrical grids’ that can adjust to the environment. The smart electricity grid will be able to sense possible issues and make optimal decisions to improve the delivery of power. Further CPS can address power outages which can have a domino effect. With CPS technology, the resulting smart grid can quickly identify the problem and provide alternates routes to deliver power and allow quicker restoration of power increasing the resiliency of power grid. Other benefits include:

  • Reduce operations cost and management, lowering cost for consumers
  • Reduce peak demand which lowers overall cost for consumers
  • With increased resiliency and flexibility, the power grid overall, is much more secure from the impact a single event such as a terrorist attack can have

(Rajkumar, 2010)

Economic & Social Impacts

With Smart communities, resources are delivered in more efficient manner such as electricity which lowers operating and management cost.

Lower cost can be passed onto consumers and for the poor where electricity is bigger percentage of their daily cost, this can significantly raise the standard of living. Other areas such as improved mass transit can save time and money for consumers.

CPS can improve access to healthcare by providing better monitoring, shorter response times and notification of possible health issues. For example, people may be able to receive better at home health care with embedded CPS technology or emergency response can be immediately dispatched to location of a possible accident or to a natural disaster (Gunes et al., 2014).


Privacy. CPS interacts and collects massive amounts of data from people and the environment. Privacy questions about who can access that data, how the data is used, who controls the data and what type of data is being collected, need to be addressed (Zanni, 2015).

Cybersecurity Risk. CPS uses massive number of embedded sensors to interact with the environment and people. This provides new possible vectors for cybercriminals and hackers to use to gain access to sensitive connected networks and resources (Zanni, 2015).

Data Management. CPS collects and processes data in near real-time which makes securing and managing huge amounts of data much more difficult.

Large networks. CPS and smart communities require the ability to transmit huge amounts of data whether through wireless networks or other hardline methods, it requires a large communication network to support it. The required large telecommunication support network will be difficult to secure.

Integrated Dependencies. Through CPS, smart community’s infrastructure have more resiliencies refer back to the example of the smart electrical grid. But smart communities have more infrastructure systems integrated together which makes the system much more reliant on one another. For example, the smart electrical grid would be closely reliant on and integrated with the telecommunication network. So, terrorist, hackers and cyber criminals may have the ability to impact multiple systems if they can access single connected network. (Zanni, 2015).

2. A smart community is one of connected “smart systems” to enhance the way we live. Communities around the globe are initiating technology projects that will enhance the services which are provided to their citizens. “It is not surprising that a great emphasis is put on the possibilities that this new technological development can offer for local communities, governments and their citizens in order to increase quality of life, education, job opportunities and general prosperity.” (Lindskog, 2004) The Internet of Things (IoT) is the foundation for these smart communities. According to National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) “ These are systems that provide tangible benefits in areas including disaster response, economic development, energy, healthcare, homeland security, energy efficiency environment, transportation and many other sectors. “(2014) These projects will not provide an instant utopia, information systems will need to be hardened through identifying vulnerabilities.

First, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are the framework for smart communities. “These systems will provide the foundation of our critical infrastructure, form the basis of emerging and future smart services, and improve our quality of life in many areas.”(NIST, 2014) Addiitionally, CPS applications are found in transportation, health care, manufacturing, agriculture, first responders, and power generation and delivery. These smart systems will have far reaching benefits for communities. Some of these benefits include:

· Energy savings from smart grids to optimize energy use and distribution. Improved reliability

· Improved emergency response and public safety

· Transportation- Reduced traffic congestion, fuel efficiency and safety

· Agriculture- precision farming with sensors for climate, soil conditions, and overall plant health

· Health care- remote monitoring of patients, improved treatments to reduce hospitalizations

(Zanni, 2016)

Along with these benefits, CPS will need to support the community infrastructure through awareness and reporting capabilities. Some of the critical components that would require reporting would be the electrical smart grids and public works systems. Additionally, emergency response teams will need to have the ability to notify and report potentially hazardous incidents. These essential resources are invaluable to public safety and reporting will be crucial to keep the leadership and public informed.

Next, smart cities will impact the community on many different facets. Economic gains will be achieved through energy savings through the smart grids and strategic transportation logistics. The human factor will be the emphasis for social and cultural influences in smart cities through smart people. Kruege and Monfaredzadeh explain,” The smart people concept comprises various factors like affinity to life-long learning, social and ethnic plurality, flexibility, creativity, cosmopolitanism or open-mindedness, and participation in public life.”(2015).

These emerging technologies and infrastructures will require diligent and strategic security controls to protect information systems. According to Brewer, “Cybersecurity is a critical cross-cutting discipline that provides confidence that cyber-physical systems, their information, and supporting communications and information infrastructures are adequately safeguarded.” (2012) CPS are distinctive in several aspects, and availability is critical. These systems are highly valued targets to terrorists and hackers. Power generation, transportation, and health CPS must be reliable to sustain a Smart Community. Traditional cybersecurity controls will be assessed for their applications however hybrid security controls will be essential to protect these smart communities.


Brewer, T. (2012). Proceedings Of The Cybersecurity In Cyber Physical Systems Workshop. Retrieved from:

Kruege, R., Monfaredzadeh, T., (2015). Investigating Social Factors Of Sustainability In A Smart City. Retrieved from:

Lindskog, H. (2004). Smart Communities Initiatives. Retrieved from:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2004). Global Cities Team Challenge. Retrieved from:

Zanni, A., (2015). Cyber-physical Systems And Smart Cities. Retrieved from:

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