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IoT in connected Government helps to deliver better citizen services and provides transparency

IoT in connected Government helps to deliver better citizen services and provides transparency. It helps in delivering contextual and personalized service to citizens, enhances the security, and improves the quality of life. The reference architecture provides guidance for the development of government systems, solutions and application architecture. A reference architecture provides a common framework and allows the design to follow the consistent definitions for the system of interest, its decompositions and design patterns.

The vision of any Connected Government in the digital era is "To develop connected and intelligent IoT based systems to contribute to government's economy, improving citizen satisfaction, safe society, environment sustainability, city management and global need."

In Connected Government, IoT-based applications provides many benefits, which includes,

  • Creating new revenue streams to government
  • Reducing costs of the operations
  • Extending government and citizen relationships
  • Improving Citizen Service delivery
  • Improving decision making processes
  • Supporting better product and service quality
  • Enhancing environmental considerations
  • Improving health and safety of citizens
  • Enhancing operational performance of the government systems
  • Improving overall government efficiency

The reference architecture should be vendor neutral and not specific to any set of technologies. Developing single architecture that addresses the above points and covering all the requirements of the connected government is a big challenge. In this paper, the authors tried to create a reference architecture that addresses all the above observations. It articulates the way to establish the connected government using IoT and its objectives. It covers multiple aspects of the enterprise wide layers at the backend covering government domain specific applications, decision support systems where the data flows from the IoT devices. It also describes the fitment of IoT and its interaction in Connected Government Eco System.

Once the reference architecture is in place, the set of architectural principles, standards, reference models, and best practices ensure that the aligned investments have the greatest possible likelihood of success in both the near term and the long term (TCO) and better Service Delivery to citizens and policy implementation.

IoT Architecture Requirements for Connected Government
The trend in government seems to be IoT on an agency-by-agency basis leading to different policies, strategies, standards and subsequent analysis and use of data. The high-level Architecture requirements based on IoT are,

  • Context : Capture the context into Government systems at all the times, 24X7, 365 days
  • Standards: Standards based communication between IoT devices and government systems
  • Scalability: In Government, there is a continuous increase of load to the application systems. Adding load leads to a decline performance, not failure. Increasing resources results in proportional increase in capacity. System designed should be highly scalable
  • Data Management: In Government, there is a need for managing huge volumes of data related to government departments, citizens, land and GIS. This data needs to be encrypted and secured.
  • Connectivity: IoT devices require good network connectivity to deliver the data payload and continuous streaming of unstructured data. Example being the Patient medical records, rainfall reports, disaster information etc.
  • Security: Moving the information back and forth between departments, citizens and third parties in a secure mode is the basic requirement in Government as IoT introduces new risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Interoperability: This requires not only the systems be networked together, but also that data from each system has to be interoperable.

IoT Logical Reference Architecture for Connected Government
The logical government reference architecture depicted as three layers,

  • Edge Layer
  • Platform Layer
  • Enterprise Layer

These layers perform different roles in processing the data flows and control flows based on usage activities across the Government Systems.

These layers are connected by three networks, as shown in Figure below,

Fig 1: IoT Logical Reference Architecture

Fig 1: IoT Logical Reference Architecture

Edge Layer: This layer consists of IoT devices, IoT Gateway. The architectural characteristics of this layer, including the breadth of distribution, location vary depending on the specific use cases of the government.

IoT devices communicate through proximity network. It is common for IoT devices to communicate using a relatively short range and specialized proximity network, due to power and processing limitations.

An IoT Gateway contains a device data store, storing data from the IoT devices. One or more analytics services to be supported by the IoT Gateway, typically operating on data streaming from the IoT devices or from the device data store. The IoT Gateway consists of applications, which used as control applications.

IoT Gateway helps to connect the devices and implement edge intelligence with different levels of processing capabilities. An IoT gateway provides endpoints for device connectivity and facilitates bidirectional communication with the Government systems.

Platform Layer:  This layer receives, processes and forwards control commands from the enterprise layer to the edge layer. It consolidates processes and analyzes data flows from the edge layer. It provides management functions for devices and assets. It also offers non-domain specific services such as data operations and analytics.

Enterprise Layer: It implements Government domain-specific applications, decision support systems and provides interfaces to end-users including operations. The enterprise layer receives data flows from the edge and platform layer. It also issues control commands to the platform layer and edge layer.

Users of the IoT system include both human users and digital users. Human users typically interact with the IoT system using some kind of user device. The user device can take many forms - including smart phones, personal computer, tablet or a more specialized device. In all cases, some form of application interface is offered to the human user, where the capabilities are supplied by an underlying application that interacts with the rest of the IoT system.

Different networks are used to connect these three layers:

  • The proximity network connects the sensors, actuators, devices, control systems and assets, collectively called edge nodes. It typically connects these edge nodes, as one or more clusters related to a gateway that bridges to other networks.
  • The access network enables connectivity for data and control flows between the edge and the platform tiers. It may be a corporate network, or an overlay private network over the public Internet or a 4G/5G network.
  • Service network enables connectivity between the services in the platform tier and the enterprise tier, and the services within each tier. It may be an overlay private network over the public Internet or the Internet itself, allowing the enterprise grade of security between end-users and various services.

IoT based Layered Reference Architecture for Connected Government
The reference architecture consists of a set of components. Layers can be realized by means of specific technologies, and we will discuss options for realizing each component. There are also some cross-cutting/vertical layers such as access/identity management.

The following section highlights the various layers of the IoT based Reference Architecture of the Connected Government.

Fig 2: IoT Usage in Connected Government

a. Access Layer

Users could be both internal and external to Government who interact with channel(s) and have a role to play in overall customer journey.

b. Channel Layer

Citizens, department users and other stakeholders use channels as a medium to interact with government. They engage with government departments over multiple channels both physical and digital.

c. Customer Experience Layer

Collection of presentation components and services. This layer also constitutes the critical systems which are used by governments in engaging with citizens or users.

d. Consumer Layer

The Consumer layer is a gateway for channels and aggregates functionalities through composition and orchestration, mediation, and routing.  Key capabilities are:

  • API Gateway: a single point of entry for consumers to access back-end services. The service composition and orchestration is based on customer journey and context. This capability is provided by API Management platforms
  • State Management: manages state and transition. Control logic is decoupled from the user interface and managed at the Consumer layer

e. Business and Information Services Layer

The Business and Information Services layer is designed based on "Micro-services" architecture principles and which will provide cross channel capabilities

f. Information Management and Analytics Services Layer

Focus on data ingestion, processing, complex event processing and real-time analytics and insights. A basic service system provides fundamental data services, which include data access, data processing, data fusion, data storage, identity resolution, geographic information service, user management, and inventory management, etc.

g. Enterprise Integration Layer

Enterprise Integration Layer is a key enabler as it provides mediation, transformation, protocol and routing capabilities and acts as a gateway to integrate with Core Government Systems. It also provide aggregation and broker communications.

The business integration and presentation layer is responsible for the integration of the IoT environment into the business processes of an Government System. The IoT solution ties into existing line-of-business applications and standard software solutions through adapters or Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and business-to-business (B2B) gateway capabilities. End users Government to Business (G2B) or Government to Citizen (G2C) scenarios will interact with the IoT solution through this layer. They may use the IoT solution or line-of-business system UIs, including apps on personal mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

h. Government Systems Layer

Collection of enterprise back office core systems and applications that house business data.

i. IoT Layer

  • IOT Operations: Collection of capabilities and systems for provisioning, management and monitoring
  • Platform layer: Collection of information management & analytics and enterprise integration capabilities which can capture the events, process events and generate insights
  • Network Layer: Connects sensors, actuators, controllers, and gateways with platform layer capabilities
  • Control and Sensing Layer: Collection of capabilities to read the data from sensors, apply necessary rules/logic and delivers data and control signals to actuators
  • Physical Devices Layer: Collection of physical systems such as smart sensors, devices and machines.

j. Security: Handles single sign-on, authentication, encryption and authorization capabilities

k.     Infrastructure Management : Leverage Infrastructure-as-a-service, Platform-as-service technologies as it requires large computing capabilities

Conclusion
There are many opportunities for the government to use the IoT to make government services more efficient and citizen centric. The various ways the IoT helps the Government is in,

  • Huge Cost Savings/Revenue
  • Improving Employ Productivity
  • Improved Citizen Requests and Service Delivery
  • Improved Innovation

IoT cannot be analyzed or implemented properly without collaborative efforts between Industry, Government and Agencies. Government and Agencies need to work together to build a consistent set of standards that everyone can follow.  Connected Government Reference Architecture can manage the large number of devices and volume of data emitted with IoT. This large volume of new information generated by IoT allows a new collaboration between government, industry and citizens. It helps in rapidly developing IoT focused preventive and predictive analytics.

References

1. http://government-2020.dupress.com/driver/internet-things/
2. "Gartner Says It's the Beginning of a New Era: The Digital Industrial Economy," Gartner.
3. "Embracing the Internet of Everything to Capture your share of $14.4 trillion," Cisco.
4. "With a Trillion Sensors, the Internet of Things Would Be the "Biggest Business in the History of Electronics"," Motherboard.
5. "The ‘Internet of Things' Will Be The World's Most Massive Device Market And Save Companies Billions Of Dollars", Business Insider,
6. https://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/home/pictures-of-the-future/digitalization-and-software/internet-of-things-facts-and-forecasts.html

Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank Hari Kishan Burle, Raju Alluri of Global Enterprise Architecture Group and Jake Mccarthy of Wipro Digital, Wipro Technologies for giving the required time and support in many ways in bringing  up the article as part of Global Enterprise Architecture Practice and Wipro Digital efforts.

Disclaimer
The views expressed in this article/presentation are that of authors and Wipro does not subscribe to the substance, veracity or truthfulness of the said opinion.

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