Urban Smart Block: An Open IoT Platform for Creating Online-to-Offline Services in Urban Environments

Urban Smart Block: An Open IoT Platform for Creating Online-to-Offline Services in Urban Environments

Jae Wan Park (Department of Digital Media, Soongsil University, South Korea) and Seungyeon Choi (Department of Digital Media, Soongsil University, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/IJERTCS.2019070102

Abstract

This article introduces Urban Smart Block as an integrated open IoT platform consisting of a smart block, a web-based system and a mobile application. Urban Smart Block provides users with various context information in urban environments. Also, based on the urban context information, Urban Smart Block serves as new touch points for enhancing ‘online-to-offline' (O2O) services in their urban environments. In this article, the authors present an approach, an overall system structure, and a data flow of Urban Smart Block. Also, they created several service scenarios to prove the validity of Urban Smart Block. Furthermore, the authors developed a prototype to prove the feasibility of Urban Smart Block. In future research, Urban Smart Block will be developed further, tested and evaluated.
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1. Introduction

Today, smart things are being increasingly developed with the advance of Internet of Things (IoT). These smart things have begun to function as new touch points within a service in order to enhance user experience through seamlessly bridging the gap between the physical and the digital. Moreover, as location-based technologies such as global positioning system (GPS) and near field communication (NFC) are embedded into a smartphone, a variety of services and games are emerging based on our urban environments. However, these technologies are limited in providing accurate and effective information of urban contexts to people. Thus, a new method for this is required.

Recently, IoT services are evolving into an open IoT platform where people can create their own services. In other words, the vertical IoT platform is transformed into a Horizontal IoT platform that can connect various services. Through this, we can expect to create new and creative services that solve the problems of our society. However, there is no an environment where people can create various digital services based on the physical environment of the city. Therefore, an open IoT platform capable of providing such an environment is required.

Urban Smart Block is an integrated open IoT platform that can support various urban services through integration between hardware and software. Our Urban Smart Block allows people to quickly and easily connect to online services associated with physical space in an urban environment. In addition, Urban Smart Block allows users to utilize urban context information on the street. This paper extends a pilot study to introduce the concept of Urban Smart Block (Park & Choi, 2017). In this article, we present the operation method and data flow of Urban Smart Block based on several service scenarios as well as the system structure and installation method of Urban Smart Block. Furthermore, a prototype was developed. This study is part of a long-term project. The ultimate goal of this project is to design and develop Urban Smart Block for commercial use. As part of this project, we will introduce Urban Smart Block as a new method for enhancing O2O services by creating various possible service scenarios to prove the validity of Urban Smart Block and developing a prototype of Urban Smart Block to verify the viability of the scenarios.

Urban Smart Block is an open IoT platform that consists of three parts: a smart block, a server-side system, and a mobile application. Through their connection, Urban Smart Block can provide users with various urban context information such as facilities and traffic signals. The smart blocks as smart things can serve as a new touch point that can enhance ‘online-to-offline’ (O2O) services in our urban environments (Shin, Jeon & Park, 2016). Smart blocks can be installed variously in certain places in the street according to purpose. For example, if an O2O service has a major goal to allow the blind to walk safely, you can install a smart block on the sidewalk instead of a paving block (Park & Choi, 2017).

For this research, we firstly investigate technologies and works related to Urban Smart Block. Based on these investigations, we explore effective approaches for developing Urban Smart Block. Through these explorations, we build overall system structure of Urban Smart Block. Moreover, we construct service scenarios, data flows, and a prototype of Urban Smart Block to prove the validity of Urban Smart Block. Urban Smart Block will be developed further, tested and evaluated for future studies. Urban Smart Block expects to improve the urban environment by allowing people to easily and effectively connect to the online services they want. Therefore, this study suggests Urban Smart Block, contributing to smart urban environment improvement.

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