Cisco sees these 3 roles for blockchain in smart cities

Cisco sees these 3 roles for blockchain in smart cities
The concept of blockchain has, for long, been associated with digital currency. In fact, at one point, it would have seemed that blockchain was synonymous with entities like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

This is no longer so, as technology has evolved enough to realize that the value of blockchain goes beyond cryptocurrencies and in almost every other application of the future. And as we talk more and more about smart cities, which could soon become an umbrella term for places that employ numerous smart devices that work seamlessly work together, blockchain is expected to play a major role.

The technology conglomerate Cisco recently pointed out three main roles that the distributed ledger-based technology could play in smart cities. In a blog post, Arvind Satyam, MD of Global Business Development of Smart+Connected Communities at the company, along with brand strategist Heather Keleher, elaborated on this.

1. Voting and elections

One of the major features of smart cities would be increased transparency in all kinds of activities. Elections, for instance, can become a much more reliable process with blockchain technology that would eradicate concerns of fraudulent behavior and cybersecurity.

“Suppose we no longer had to question election results,” Satyam said. “Would voting rates go up if citizens didn’t face barriers to polling place access? Would results come quicker if the process were digital and secure? This past June 2018, the city of Zug hosted the first blockchain-powered municipal vote in Switzerland. Using their electronic citizen identification codes (eID), Zug citizens were able to vote via cell phone.”

2. Interaction with the government

Smart cities will facilitate deeper involvement and interaction of the citizens with their government. Connectivity will enable people to voice their opinions more and governments, ideally, will look towards listening to the needs of the people more.

“In Tel Aviv, the DigiTel Residents Club is using distributed ledger to inspire citizens to interact with city government and share more information about themselves,” Satyam said. “In return, the DigiTel platform offers discounts on city services, tickets to events, early registration for school, connection with neighbors who share similar interests, information on public initiatives and a host of other city services. Since its 2013 inception, DigiTel has amassed more than 200,000 users with around 3,000 more joining each month.”

3. Privacy in health care

Personal information in health-related matters is important to most people. Some governments have already come up with systems that would protect private data. Satyam pointed out that, in Estonia for instance, citizens there can see which medical professionals use their data, what they view and when using the e-Health Record system. Upwards of 95 percent of health data and 99 percent of prescriptions have been digitized, and the billing process is now 100 percent electronic. The e-Health Record system is a public-private cooperation.

“Dubai also aims to have the first blockchain-powered government,” he added. “Like Estonia, Dubai has also transformed its approach to healthcare, using blockchain to create a nationwide ‘electronic health record,’ or EHR, system. It reduces access time to data and to making crucial health decisions, decreases the risk of security breaches by distributing the records across multiple nodes and lowers costs for both the service providers and patients.”

Bottomline

These are just a few aspects of blockchain technology in the context of smart cities. The use of distributed ledger-based system can also help governments lower expenses, quicken transactions and enhance security. “It’s early in the development and application of distributed ledger technology but all indications are that it has great potential,” Satyam concluded. “Combined with IoT, distributed ledger could make cities more secure, connected, trustworthy and efficient.”


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