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12/09/14

IT in smart cities 'not contributing to wellbeing and happiness'

Smart cities graphicOnly one urban designer in five believes IT is having a significant positive impact on the wellbeing and happiness of city dwellers, according to research by global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan. However, the research reveals that IT is playing a major role across global cities in aiding movement, driving the use of shared places, improving city management, changing the appearance and form of cities and delivering better designed buildings and places. "In all the talk about so-called 'smart cities', in which 'smart' technology will be harnessed to make cities greener, more efficient and improve the quality of life for citizens, there is an implicit assumption that technology will result in happier and more enjoyable places", said James Rayner, Main Board Director and masterplanning expert at Broadway Malyan. "However, while our experts predict that IT will play an increasing role in helping citizens move about in cities, it will create new types of shared places, aid city management and drive citizens' engagement in decision-making they also report that IT is not contributing to citizens' wellbeing and happiness in any significant way... We urge that the human experience is kept at the heart of city and place design and that the focus is put on creating well-designed places which enhance the well-being and happiness of citizens." When it comes to movement around cities, 40% of designers suggested smart traffic control will be the IT that makes the biggest positive impact, while just over a fifth (21%) nominate driverless cars and vehicles. Other findings include that nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) predict that IT will help to create entirely new types of public and community facilities in their city in the future; and the vast majority (95%) predict that IT will encourage people to participate in making decisions about their city in the future.
Broadway Malyan: www.broadwaymalyan.com

Multi-factor authentication better than blaming 'weak' passwords, says KPMG

Businesses need to introduce multi-factor authentication for online services, instead of blaming consumers for using weak passwords, according to KPMG cyber security researcher Yiannis Chrysanthou. "To prevent password breaches, users are often asked to stop reusing the same password combination across several access points, and businesses are advised to ensure that they have cryptographic hash functions specifically designed for password storage. But this method hasn't been effective. Organisations seem to believe that if they force users to pick long complex passwords and then store them only in their cryptographically hashed formats, they are relatively safe. The reality is that we hear of password breaches time and time and again, and this needs to change. What often happens is that a website or organisation suffers a breach and the attackers publicise the database with usernames, emails and passwords online. The passwords are either in plain text or hashed using cryptographic hash algorithms that are often cracked within a few days. The alternative is to use multifactor authentication as it improves security by combining multiple forms of identification data. Passwords on their own are just one authentication factor because they rely on 'something the user knows'. By adding an additional factor such as a smartcard (something a user has) or a fingerprint (something the user is), credential theft and impersonation becomes harder. Of course this extra security comes with increased investment but the improved customer protection makes it viable and valuable."
KPMG: www.kpmg.co.uk

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