9-11 May 2023
ICC Sydney

Smarter Cities, Bigger Data

Mar 7, 2016 Technology


I recently received a phone call from a customer service agent at my bank, who kindly informed me that they had been going through my latest statement, and discovered that I was paying a monthly amount for insurance that they felt was too high.

My immediate response to this unsolicited announcement was both shock and anger! Who the hell was this person and what right does he have to be going through my personal bank statements?

Of course, we all know that somewhere in the terms and conditions, the bank would have every right, but nevertheless, I felt my privacy had been grossly violated and mentioned this during a conversation with some friends. Most of the people in the conversation, like me, were in their early to mid forties. However, a number of their children, who were in their late teens and early twenties were also present. What I found interesting was that their reaction to my news was the complete opposite. They thought it was fantastic. The typical response was “You mean, I don’t have to do anything? The bank will just call me and tell me if there are ways I can save money? That’s great!”

I found this contrast in views fascinating, so I began to ask the group a series of questions that further explore these contrasting views. While it should come as no real shock, I still found it fascinating to discover that people in their mid twenties and mid teens (and younger) have vastly different views on privacy to people in their late thirties and older.

My point is this, in the quest to develop, connect and implement systems in smart buildings and indeed, smart cities, how may of use are viewing these challenges through the completely wrong lens?

We all know that building automation and big data are going to play increasingly important roles in the coming years. However, the ability to make the most out of the intelligent systems now being developed and deployed will depend largely on what kind of data is being collected and how it will be used. What has become clear to me, is that what one group of users might see as a gross invasion of privacy, a different group of users might see as completely normal – and even beneficial.

How as a facility manager, will you reconcile these disparate and often opposing points of view?

About the author

In addition to his role as Editor for Security Solutions Magazine, which is widely regarded as Australia’s premier security publication, John Bigelow has written for a wide variety of national and international publications including Cards Asia, Security New Zealand, the Journal of Security Administration in the United States, as well as giving expert commentary in regard to security issues on 3AW, 2GB, 4GB and TV programs such as Sunrise and the Today Show.

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