So-called "smart cities" are being heralded as the way of the future, but they have scary social and political consequences.
Imagine a world without waste. A place where the train always comes on time, where streets are plowed before snow even stops falling, and watchful surveillance cameras have sent rates of petty crime plunging. Never again will you worry about remembering your keys because your front door has an iris recognition system that won’t allow strangers to enter. To some people, this kind of uber-efficient urban living sounds like a utopian dream. But to a growing number of critics, the promise of the “smart city” is starting to seem like the stuff of nightmare. ...
Grids make sense. They really do. The notion, popular enough among techno-libertarian types, that every single power-consuming unit (house, factory, bunker) might be better off generating its own power off-the-grid is mostly absurd. Some things make sense (are more efficient) to do together, particularly when those things are more or less consumed in the same ways by basically everyone. Like electricity.
But maybe there's something in between. Enter microgrids. As detailed on IEEE Spectrum's grid blog, post-Fukushima Japan has seen a boom in the development of relatively small-scale localized grids. At first, the point was largely to boost grid efficiency, but the focus has grown more and more to include local power generation. This has residential applications, but one of the strongest examples is Toyota's F-Grid....
The thing about the Internet of Things is that it is not about the Thing! It’s actually about how the data collected by the collective Things can be analysed to provide outstanding goodness, whether that be personal or business goodness.
Let me explain by using a Fitness Band as an example of a Thing and its data ...
MK:Smart is a £16m smart city initiative taking place in Milton Keynes between 2014 and 2016. The project involves the deployment of infrastructure for sensing and managing “big data” relevant to city systems, with experts from industry and academia developing applications in several domains (e.g., energy, water, transport). This paper has been written from the perspective of the transport work package, but most of the issues discussed here are relevant to other work packages (e.g., energy, water) and to other smart city projects.
To explore issues around big data systems for transport, a specific application is being developed. This is the “MotionMap”, a city-wide transport information service that will continuously sense and describe the real-time movements of people and vehicles across the city. Transport applications will make use of this data to enable smarter spontaneous transport decisions and to permit the development of new products and services such as cyclist way-finding or trip sharing by car users......
The Singapore government has begun building its own Skynet. No, not the killer AI that wrecked havoc on humankind in The Terminator, but an eye in the sky which will know in real-time where all the cars are in the country, round-the-clock.
The reason for that, at least on the surface, is mundane: it wants to improve traffic by charging drivers for using congested roads. Singapore’s existing Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system uses physical gantries that charges drivers for going past it. But it has been criticized for being ineffective.
A new version of the ERP will use satellite positioning technology to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle, find out its distance traveled along a congested road, and charge users according to that. Its development is well underway. The government conducted a trial and found it feasible, and three companies are vying for the contract to develop it. ....
Europe’s Industry and Internal Market Ministers have been told to have a good long think about Big Data before showing up to their next meeting in Brussels on 2 March.
The “theme” of the next Competitiveness council meeting is “Unlocking Europe's digital potential: faster and wider innovation through open, networked and data-intensive research”.
The Presidency of the council has asked ministers to consider what their main priorities are for data-driven innovation in research. It also asks if Big Data challenges are sufficiently addressed at national level and how coordination at the EU level could be improved. ...
The business world continues its move to open source software.
Pivotal—the rather ambitious business software outfit spun off from big-name tech companies EMC and VMware—is open sourcing three of its key products, sharing the underlying software code with the world at large.
Today, the San Francisco-based company announced that in the coming year, it will open source GemFire, HAWQ, and GreenplumDB, three “big data” tools designed to help businesses analyze large amounts of digital information. “Our customers are starting to look to open source, and they’re looking to projects that have communities around them,” says Pivotal’s Sunny Madra, who oversees the company’s data work. “Customers want a say in the direction of software.”....
e-Standards Committee begins work programme to harness the internet of things. The British Standards Institute (BSI) has kicked off a programme to develop data standards for smart cities.
It follows the development of the PAS 182 data concept model for smart cities, and will focus on developing more detailed standards around how data from the internet of things could be used to develop smart cities. ...
A new five-year effort hopes to speed the smart cities transformation in Europe by showing cities how it’s done. The new GrowSmarter initiative will focus on transforming three cities, making key improvements that will hopefully ripple across the continent.
The €25 million project begins with three so-called lighthouse cities: Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona.
Five follower cities will try to replicate their success. These additional cities will work closely with the initial three to embrace the lessons learned so they can be successful in their own communities. These cities are Cork, Ireland; Graz, Austria; Porto, Portugal; Suceava, Romania; and Malta.,,,,
Spain has come forward to assist in transforming Delhi into a Smart City and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed shortly between the two countries.
An understanding to this effect was reached at a meeting between Urban Development Ministry M Venkaiah Naidu and a nine-member delegation led by the visiting Minister of State for Trade of Spain Jaime Garcia-Legaz Ponce.
While the US will help India in developing three smart cities in Allahabad, Ajmer and Visakhapatnamand, Germany have also shown interest to participate in the UD Ministry’s ambitious Smart City project. ...
Today marks the official launch of the Triangulum project in Manchester, a smart city vision for three European cities. Led by Fraunhofer IAO and funded by £4.5 million of European Commission funds, the project aims to create ‘smart quarters’ in Manchester, Eindhoven in Holland, and Stavanger in Norway. This scheme offers a new approach, bringing together a number of green initiatives in one area of the city to test the potential of new technologies. ...
Financial institutions in London could use "big data" technology to pinpoint malpractice by City traders in future, a panel advising the Bank of England has said.
The Market Practitioner Panel (MPP) said existing methods of monitoring for illegal trading practices, such as "key word surveillance", were flawed and that deploying big data technology is a "possible longer-term solution" to uncovering malpractice. ...
In June of 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a new appointment to the city’s seven-member school board to replace billionaire heiress Penny Pritzker, who’d decamped to run President Barack Obama’s Department of Commerce. The appointee, Deborah H. Quazzo, is a founder of an investment firm called GSV Advisors, a business whose goal—her cofounder has been paraphrased by Reuters as saying—is to drum up venture capital for “an education revolution in which public schools outsource to private vendors such critical tasks as teaching math, educating disabled students, even writing report cards.”
GSV Advisors has a sister firm, GSV Capital, that holds ownership stakes in education technology companies like “Knewton,” which sells software that replaces the functions of flesh-and-blood teachers. Since joining the school board, Quazzo has invested her own money in companies that sell curricular materials to public schools in 11 states on a subscription basis.
In other words, a key decision-maker for Chicago’s public schools makes money when school boards decide to sell off the functions of public schools.
Microsoft researcher Kati London's aim is "to try to get people to think of data in terms of personalities, relationships and emotions", she told the audience at the Story Festival in London on Friday. Through Project Sentient Data, she uses her background in games development to create fun but meaningful experiences that bridge online interactions and things that are happening in the real world.
ne such experience invited children to play against the real-time flow of London traffic through an online game called the Code of Everand. The aim was to test the road safety knowledge of children between the ages of 9-11 and "make alertness something that kids valued....
Dissecting the industry-centric bias at the core of our cultural understanding of data.
Can you fathom the depths of big data? The word fathom is a measurement of depth of the ocean, but it has also come to mean the ability to understand something. Fathom comes from faethm, meaning ‘the two arms outstretched.’ It’s 6 feet or 1.8 meters measurement is based on a standard human scale. The length of rope dropped overboard is handily measured across the span of a sailor’s armspread. The term makes the metaphorical jump to describe concepts that we are able to get our arms around; ideas are things to be grasped. As James Geary describes in his book on metaphor, “This is the primary purpose of metaphor: to carry over existing names or descriptions to things that are either so new that they haven’t been named or so abstract that they cannot be otherwise explained.”
Data has become so big it is difficult to fathom. As a technocratic, scientistically-oriented culture, we are in the midst of understanding computing on a new and ever-evolving scale. While we continue to take data for granted, designated as something that is “given,” data that began as embodied observation has become further and further removed from our lived experience. At the same time, data to which these metaphors refer are becoming ubiquitous in our lives—as the trace of our digital transactions, our bodies, and homes—making it all the more important to have an appropriate contextual model to frame our relationship to it. ....
New forms of governance in the era of ubiquitous computing.
For the past couple of decades there has been a steady stream of analysis that has documented the ways in which the rollout of new digital and networked technologies have enabled increasingly pervasive and extensive forms of state and corporate surveillance. Such technologies have the capability to capture and communicate data about their use; simultaneously a wealth of sophisticated software has been developed that processes and acts on such data in automated, autonomous, and automatic ways. Importantly, the use of embedded GPS, sensors, and digital cameras are enabling location and movement to be tracked, facilitating extensive geosurveillance of people and places.
Continuous geosurveillance relies on the production of spatial big data, and in particular the notion of the “smart city” takes center stage, that is, urban landscapes that can be monitored, managed and regulated in real-time using ICT infrastructure and ubiquitous computing. Such instrumented cities are promoted as providing enhanced and more efficient and effective city services, ensuring safety and security, and providing resilience to economic and environmental shocks, but they also seriously infringe upon citizen’s privacy and are being used to profile and socially sort people, enact forms of anticipatory governance, and enable control creep, that is re-appropriation for uses beyond their initial design. ...
What are the challenges facing large cities over the next 50 years, how will cities becomes 'smarter', what risks do digital technologies introduce, and can a global parliament of mayors help or hinder?
A new start-up aims to take a more rigorous approach.
Jokubas Neciunas was looking to buy an apartment almost two years back in Vilnius, Lithuania. He consulted real estate platforms and government data to help him decide the best option for him. In the process, he realized that there was a lot of information out there, but no one was really using it very well.
Fast-forward two years, and Neciunas and his colleagues have created PlaceILive.com—a start-up trying to leverage open data from cities and information from social media to create a holistic, accessible tool that measures the "livability" of any apartment or house in a city. ...
Esri India (a joint venture between NIIT Technologies Limited, and Esri Inc.), country’s leading Geographic Information System (GIS) Software & Solutions provider, shared details of its offerings for planning Smart Cities in India.
The pace of urbanization is speeding up in India with an expectation of better facilities and living conditions. In this context the Government of India has embarked on a program to develop 100 Smart Cities.
Esri India has introduced Geodesign, a key framework for conceptualizing and planning for Smart Cities and associated tools. These tools include GeoPlanner, a specialized application for land based planning, CityEngine, a 3D design tool with visualization technology to improve urban planning, and GeoEvent Processor which captures feeds from multiple sources for real time processing.
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