Electricity generation from renewable sources worldwide will exceed that from gas and be twice that from nuclear power by 2016 says the International Energy Agency.
The IEA says renewable power is expected to jump by 40% in the next five years and will make up almost a quarter of the global power mix by2018. The prediction is in the IEA’s second annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report...
Cities around the world aim to become "smart cities," but in Santander, Spain, the goal has already become a reality. Thousands of sensors help alert residents to traffic jams, regulate the watering in city parks and dim the street lamps.
Cities all around the world have set the same goal for themselves. Amsterdam, Barcelona, Birmingham, Dubai, Helsinki, San Diego, Stockholm, Nanjing, Vienna, Yokohama -- they all share an aspiration to become "smart cities."
That sounds like an appealing aim, yet when urban planners try to explain more precisely how they plan to lead their cities into the digital future, their answers are less convincing, with each proposing a different plan. Despite the many symposiums that have been held on this subject, there is no consensus on how to pursue this ambition.
Essentially the only thing all parties can agree on is that "smart" cities will employ sensors, computers and smartphones, and they will implement new forms of city government, making administrative processes more transparent than ever before. The idea is that digital technology will help make urban living cleaner, more sustainable and more pleasant. And, of course, it should increase prosperity as well.
Amid this uncertainty, an old port city on Spain's Atlantic coast has surged to the forefront of those aspiring to be smart cities. Despite its cash-strapped finances, the city of Santander, birthplace of the major bank of the same name, is already quite smart.
Smartphones can be delivery devices for society's services. For cities, educators, healthcare providers, and everyone else who wants to provide assistance to citizens in a cheaper, more efficient way, making a smartphone app available is a common move.
About half of all Americans have smartphones, and all smartphone users keep these devices close at hand. So city managers who want to reach people where they are most likely to pay attention, and who hope to provide information when it's most useful, are planning to use the affordances of smartphones.
These devices are loaded with appealing attributes: bright, arresting screens; programmable ability to download and run apps; Internet access; digital compasses and gyroscopes; cameras; GPS, allowing for delivery of location-based services and geo-tagging of communications by the device's user; accelerometers, allowing tilt and gesture-based functionality; microphones; and ambient light sensors. This month, Samsung launched its Galaxy S4, which has a barometer, thermometer, magnetometer, and hygrometer to measure air pressure, temperature, magnetic field strength, and humidity, respectively.
Here's the thing: All of these sensors can also be used to gather information about the device's user and the context of that user's use. You can think of a smartphone as a tracking device that happens to allow voice calls. And the user may have no idea (or have forgotten) that this is going on. Cities will need to think hard about the protocols under which they'll gather information using smartphone apps, because the balance between "creepy" and "keeps us safe/delivers good things" is extraordinarily difficult to strike.
Imagine an app that turns on all the microphones in the smartphones in a particular area to track sounds. Useful for finding a lost child; creepy in a business setting. Or imagine an app that automatically turns on the camera in your smartphone when you use that app to hail a cab. Useful for settling disputes, arranging for payment, and putting virtual "eyes on the street"; creepy in almost all other ways – even though Uber is going ahead with that one.
It's tantalizing: Managers could measure the wellbeing of their cities by tracking noise levels, social activity (numbers of texts and calls), changing environmental conditions (humidity, temperature, light levels), and congestion. Cities could use smartphones as distributed sensing systems, which would be useful for traffic management in chaotic conditions (remember those accelerometers) and measuring air quality in areas where asthma is a problem.
A full sized infographic of what is helping to create today's 'Smart Cities'.
The dramatic shift of the world’s population into urban areas is encouraging citizens, city planners, businesses and governments to start looking at visions of ‘smart’ cities.
Below we look into what is driving the need to establish these networked environments, how smart city concepts and projects are different in the developing world, and what technologies and systems are needed to make them a reality.
Nicky Hockly: I’ve attended a lot of conferences this year. Attending talks and plenaries is a wonderful opportunity for my own professional development, and I often get to see excellent presenters in action. During the past few months, I’ve been keeping notes on what makes some of these conference presentations so engaging (and others less so). Here’s a 1-minute guide to being a good conference presenter.
For more information, please visit: www.newsgator.com In this video, learn how the United States Air Force is spearheading their collaborative efforts with NewsGator through Air Force Forums, a research program looking to explore the benefits...
A comprehensive study into the potential for compressed air energy storage in the Pacific Northwest has identified two locations in Washington state that could store enough wind energy to power about 85,000 homes each month.
Santiago Chile announced they’re going to become a “smart city” in 2013, and is just one example of a growing number of areas around the globe preparing and modernizing for the future.
In fact demographers have long predicted the mass urbanization of metropolitan areas across the world. According to the United Nations, by the year 2050, 80% of the world will be living in urban areas. The equivalent of seven Manhattan size cities will be built each year until 2050. For these cities to thrive they must use smart technology to its fullest. Let’s take a look at what’s available now and what’s coming down the pipe...
s every aspect of our lives gets increasingly dependent on technology, with every device getting smarter by the minute, we’re rapidly arriving at the point where our cities will become autonomous entities that can think for themselves and make our lives easier, safer and cleaner. These smart cities are not in the realm of science fiction no longer, as more and more city planners are trying to accomplish this goal and some cities around the world are almost there.
Most people talking about the intelligent or smart city are focusing on the relatively narrow aspects of ensuring widespread broadband provision.
I would argue that, while it is an important enabler, broadband alone doesn’t make a smart city. We have to look beyond the technology to think about the kind of city we want to be.
This means thinking about how we will create a truly sustainable, viable and vibrant environment – one which attracts business, has a strong creative and leisure sector, an energised academic community and positive prospects for families and individuals. This means thinking well beyond short term challenges to explore how we can evolve in rapidly evolving world where advances in science and technology are rapidly outpacing our ability to absorb their potential impact. (See Preparing for transformational change below).
Smart planning means thinking about the world we are moving into, the skillsets our workforce will need and the changing ways in which our children need to be educated with the life skills and outlook to prepare them for a 100-year plus lifespan that could see them needing to work well into their eighties and potentially having five to 10 careers during that period.
With finances likely to remain under pressure across the public sector, we also need to be thinking in far more imaginative ways about how we use public buildings. Maybe our schools could become true community resources – housing the local library, community centre and doctor’s surgery, while also operating as both a court and conference and event centre in the evenings, on weekends and during the school holidays.
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