The Global City Teams Challenge from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed The Municipal IoT Blueprint. 1 The purpose of this Blueprint is to provide state and local government leaders, technology practitioners and researchers, and industry partners with a practical overview of IoT and how it will affect government agencies in the future. The blueprint provides diagrams, decision-making processes, templates, and a framework for Smart Communities to support the implementation of a smart city IoT device network hardware layer. The numerous lists of important considerations included at each step of the process provide clear guidance in avoiding the most common pitfalls during implementation.

Data and analysis are arguably the most critical and difficult aspects of the framework. IoT networks will generate data on many elements of civic life that were previously unavailable. Questions regarding data management – who owns the data, how to analyze it, how valuable is it, who can analyze it, is the data transferrable and stored in industry standard formats, is it proprietary, how is privacy protected and managed, how is the data secured – are critical to the promise of smart communities being fully realized and carry important policy consideration.

In developing smart cities and communities, agencies will need to develop data-sharing agreements and interoperability standards to allow easy access and use of smart city data. Ideally, agencies would use different vendors and solutions to operate the various city IoT networks, but would ensure that applications and services operating on the underlying IoT networks are developed in such a way that data users and devices can roam seamlessly between the different networks, effectively abstracting the different networks into a single and uniform data and application layer. This may not be practical, as it may be too complex, too costly, or discouraged by vendors seeking to be the sole city network solution. In such cases, agencies will need to revert to basic data sharing agreements. These agreements will allow the data generated by the IoT networks to be decoupled from the networks themselves and shared between agencies through a separate data environment. This will also require the development of the additional data environment and its associated frameworks to ensure that the shared unprocessed (i.e., raw) IoT data can be processed and interpreted by other agencies.

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