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NIST Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Newsletter - November 2018

Call to Stakeholders: Help Shape Smart Grid Cybersecurity, November 13-14, 2018

NIST invites stakeholders to its first workshop on smart grid cybersecurity, November 13-14, 2018, at the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Rockville, MD (See Center's directions and contact info). The workshop's purpose is to get stakeholders' input to help shape NIST’s characterization of smart grid cybersecurity risks, solutions, and gaps in the next Smart Grid Interoperability Framework.

Speakers have been confirmed from across the energy sector, including investor-owned utilities, cooperatives, third party service providers, technology vendors, and government agencies. Workshop participants will provide direct feedback on the state of grid cybersecurity, emerging risks, and approaches to securing innovative communications architectures.

Stakeholders will have the opportunity to provide feedback in panel discussions and breakout sessions that follow. Agenda and registration information are available on the workshop webpage. Watch this webpage for our upcoming posting of read-ahead material.

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Reminder: Smart Grid Workshop, Warwick, Rhode Island, November 29, 2018

NIST and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will conduct a one-day, regional workshop at the Rhode Island Public Utility Commission in Warwick, November 29, 2018.  Workshop information and registration are available online.

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EU Embassy Science Staff Tour NIST's Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Testbed

As a result of NIST’s ongoing interactions with European Union science staff, several EU embassies’ senior advisors, stationed in Washington, DC, visited the NIST Gaithersburg, MD campus on October 26, 2018. The senior science staff came from the embassies of Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, as well as the EU Delegation to the US. NIST personnel provided an overview of NIST and briefed the senior advisors on the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Testbed and its operations, the NIST SG/CPS programs and Frameworks, and the NIST Cybersecurity and Privacy Frameworks. EU scientists and engineers are important collaborators in NIST's Global City Teams Challenge and science staff interactions have helped to support and expand its network in Europe.

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Federal R&D Guide for Smart Cities and Communities Released

Smart cities and communities are multiplying in number throughout the US and the world. Denton, TX is exploring the use of drones as flying cell towers for emergency communications in disasters. Independence, OR uses real-time management for its "Farm-to-Fork" project, which moves local farm produce to nearby markets and restaurants. Chattanooga, TN has installed over 6,000 miles of fiber, enabling a resilient smart grid and ultrahigh-speed service to 170,000 homes and businesses.

Across America, towns and cities seek to integrate digital technologies into infrastructures to improve services, economies, and their citizens' well-being. But, realizing their great potential demands a wide spectrum of new capabilities, many requiring cross-government collaboration.

In October 2018, the Office of Science and Technology Policy released Connecting and Securing Communities, a product of the Smart Cities and Communities Task Force, co-chaired by NIST's Chris Greer and interagency colleagues, and overseen by the multiagency Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program. It guides federal agencies in their research and development of technologies for smart cities and communities. Specifically, the report recommends the following for federal R&D:

  • Promote R&D and innovations for smart cities/communities
  • Facilitate local efforts for secure, resilient infrastructure and systems for smart cities/communities
  • Enable smart cities/communities through knowledge sharing, best practices, and collaboration
  • Enable evaluation of progress and long-term growth of smart cities/communities

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Elaborating the Human Aspect of Cyber-Physical Systems

Consider the following Smart City CPS Scenario: Aunt Edna tells her "scooterbot" where to go and it takes her there. She crosses a downtown intersection, where a semi-autonomous "busbot" is waiting to turn right. The busbot queries the scooterbot, verifying trajectory and speed, and calculates the scooterbot's passing. Aunt Edna's scooterbot nears the other curb, and the busbot begins rolling -- but the scooterbot's battery shorts-out, stopping it. The busbot quickly brakes, but a manned vehicle rear-ends the busbot, jolting passengers. The busbot notifies traffic management and emergency medical services.

NIST's Marty Burns, Edward Griffor, Dave Wollman and their colleagues presented this scenario at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA with an accompanying conference paper, Elaborating the Human Aspect of the NIST Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems, published in Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. They explored the need to further develop the human aspect, or grouping of concerns, in cyber-physical systems, along with experts in human factors and ergonomics.

That development is challenging. “Humans can play a role in different ways in CPS, including as a CPS component, as CPS operators and as the CPS themselves" stated the NIST researchers. Moreover, "addressing the challenges of such (cyber-physical) systems requires the development of fundamentally new constructs," state Burns, Griffor, and Wollman.

To aid this development, NIST researchers propose decomposing, or factoring, the human aspect of the CPS Framework, into ‘sub-concerns’ that both drive and provide context for system requirements.

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Published: Smart City Framework

NIST and partners released the Internet-of-Things-Enabled Smart City Framework, on September 30, 2018. Its principal goal is to help stakeholders lower barriers to interoperability and implement more smart city projects, faster. To do so, the framework provides:

  • An analysis tool that enables stakeholders to research smart city applications, readiness of cities’ infrastructures and benefits to citizens
  • A comparative analysis of smart frameworks, which are now being developed and deployed, often with different architectures, also showing the potential for harmonizing these architectures
  • Concept for identifying Smart city interfaces that require standardization, termed "Pivotal Points of Interoperability"
  • Concept for identifying concerns within the Pivotal Points of Interoperability, that could be addressed with services, like authentication and third-party authorization, termed "Zones of Concern"

The framework provides a common language and shared architectural principles, needed at a time of explosive growth in smart city projects. As an example, over hundreds of cities, companies and organizations from around the world are working on smart city projects in NIST's Global City Teams Challenge.

The framework was a product of an international public working group, which included the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); European Telecommunications Standards Institute; FIWARE Foundation; Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development; Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT; Telecommunications Industry Association; U.S. Green Building Council, along with Green Business Certification Inc; and NIST. ANSI reported the framework's release and availability for worldwide use.

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Created May 17, 2019, Updated January 8, 2024