How the Internet of Things Is Enabling State of the Art Digital Transformation

The Challenge

The connectivity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to a network creates a digital fabric that enables the government to maximize the value of data and enhance their missions. IoT also presents a significant opportunity to use distributed IoT sensors for data collection. A key government client needed a way to collect information from sensors in order to achieve increased situational awareness of the cyber landscape within an urban setting or Smart City. This would allow the client to maintain a full intelligence picture of the cyber environment and the potential physical effects of cyber threats.

The Vision

The client’s vision was to create a geospatial, multi-functional IoT sensor collection platform that would incorporate multiple data streams and enable the client to visualize a selected region and the associated IoT devices. The platform would also allow the client to simulate the resilience of a city’s cyber infrastructure.

The Noblis Qualifier

Because of our many years of experience working with the government agency and understanding their mission, organization, and internal stakeholders, Noblis is uniquely positioned to address our client’s needs. We maintain a team of senior, Ph.D.-level staff with expertise in modeling and simulation and a strong understanding of the interconnected relationships within complex and diverse data sets. Noblis also partners with academic institutions and has a 25-year history of conducting peer reviewed research in state of the art technical areas. Our innovative lab environment creates a space for our expert staff to design, evaluate, and develop solutions focused on IoT, modeling, machine learning, and telecommunications.

The Solution

Noblis developed an IoT platform that consists of data collection, modeling and simulation, and data analytics capabilities—all supported by our internal high-performance computing infrastructure. Several of our ongoing research and development programs are designed to build additional modules for the platform to create a larger IoT ecosystem. This platform allows our clients to understand the physiology, rhythm, and tempo of a connected city through the correlation of IoT sensor data. We view the urban IoT environment in terms of a layered ecosystem, starting with independent devices which, when combined, expand to support physical infrastructure layers such as buildings and facilities. The ecosystem grows into a connected or smart city as these physical layers become integrated. Relationships between smart city sensor data are associated with specific physical layers that include electricity, water, communication, transportation, fuel, and commodities. We selected these physical infrastructure layers for the platform because of the impact and effect that each layer’s components can have on other layers within the city. Our platform uses client-specific data sets or publicly available data sets related to each physical layer and incorporates that data into a holistic, integrated simulation platform focused on the connectedness of a multi-layered smart city environment. We created the platform to simulate these IoT environments at scale to identify second- and third-order effects. Combining these layers into an integrated simulation platform allows users to understand causal relationships and forecast events that may otherwise be overlooked. To better understand the interdependencies between these layers, Noblis explored high value, multi-layered use cases and apply them to the 3D geospatial simulation model. In one such use case, we simulated a cyber attack on the electricity layer of a power-substation and were able to observe the subsequent effect that would have on other infrastructure layers in the target city.

The Future

Our IoT simulation platform can operate with a wide variety of disparate data sets to address the missions of a broad set of clients. In the evolving landscape of the IoT environment, our adaptable solution will continue to change and grow to meet our clients’ needs. The platform would be able to support data collection for the Intelligence Community, cybersecurity for the DoD, tracking aviation assets for the FAA, or illustrating distributed space architecture for clients in the aerospace field.