Increasing trust and confidence is not an easy task, especially in such distributed, uncontrolled IoT environment with diverse end user participation and requires careful choices for the design of the underlying technology enablers.

SOCIOTAL aims to use emerging Internet of Things architectural models such as developed by EU projects such as IoT-A, i-CORE or FIWARE as starting points and introduce innovative enablers that strengthen the existing architectural foundations in order to ensure privacy and trust are deeply embedded in the resulting architecture.

The enablers are part of two orthogonal frameworks that complement each other with functionality while supporting each other with important features:

  • a decentralised governance, trust and reputation framework and
  • a privacy-preserving context-sensitive communication framework.

Both of these frameworks together ensure that the privacy and integrity of the full IoT data and information life cycle are maintained. They thus play a prominent role in maintaining a confidence of the citizen into the IoT system.

In order to lower the barriers of citizen participation in an IoT and provide people with an increased awareness and control of the underlying processes, SOCIOTAL proposes to create tools that empower individuals to take actively part in the envisioned citizen-centric IoT eco-system.

One of these tools is a simple to use, intuitive user environment that allows people to easily manage and share access to their IoT devices and information flows. The environment will provide users with access to SOCIOTAL enabled services that exploit their devices and/or those of community members and provide simple service creation capabilities. An API for device integration serves as a further tool for easy integration of citizen-centric IoT devices and plugins for the most common platforms will be made available by the project.

The aforementioned enablers will form the foundations of an architectural and technological model on top of which services focused on the needs of citizens, community and/or the city can be created. For this purpose, SOCIOTAL proposes a service creation environment for developers with a rich developer API that complements the intuitive user environment. This environment can be used for the creation of more professional smart services and applications for the community needs based on top of the citizen contributed IoT devices and data streams and the city IoT infrastructure. Opening up the platform to developers will ensure a critical mass of services to appear for the benefits of the citizen, providing additional incentives for them to participate.

In order validate the feasibility of the developed enablers and overall vision, SOCIOTAL will further pilot at least two services in the cities of Santander and Novi Sad, focusing on improvement of public safety and security as well as resource efficiency in their communities. Apart from providing valuable feedback, these services will act as success examples, in order to demonstrate the value of the proposed solutions to citizens and local communities.

Ensuring participation of citizens in the IoT is not only down to technical aspects alone or exciting services. It requires a thorough understanding of current socio-economic barriers and possible incentives, which SOCIOTAL aims to investigate. These insights will provide valuable input to the design and specification process of technology building blocks and trials and provide additional value to the IoT community.