The ‘internet of things’ can conjure up grand visions of driverless cars speeding around ‘smart cities’ blanketed by billions of sensors communicating over 5G mobile networks.
At a grassroots level, however, groups of citizens are starting to use the data and sensors for their own purposes. Small-scale projects aimed at solving local problems have started to spread across Europe. A generation of citizen sensors is emerging.
Mara Balestrini is leading the push to put open source-based sensing technology in the hands of communities. She was working on smart city projects five years ago when she realised the public was not being consulted on how the data from the thousands of sensors being embedded across cities would be used.
Nor would they have access to the data to help address their own difficulties.