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Jürgen Schmidt
3 days ago
Jürgen Schmidt
Smart Consultant

In 1900, just 15% of the world’s population lived in cities. Now that proportion is over 50%, which is a lot of people. In fact, it means around 4 billion human beings rely on urban infrastructure to keep them warm, mobile and clean.

Technology helps with this of course. Digital sensors, smart phones and smart home appliances allow for a new kind of understanding between citizens and city officials. In this so-called “smart city”, information and communication technologies (ICT) and the internet of things (IoT) are used to enhance city living. Smart cities are a major part of achieving the goal set by the United Nations of making urban environments “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

Water infrastructure is often overlooked when smart cities are considered or discussed. This seems strange when water services are so crucial for human health and well-being. But water is often seen as an “invisible utility” which is taken for granted. The industry has also been slow to harness the power of new technology.

One thing is certain though – water should be a key element of the smart city concept. And there are two major ways in which smart water technologies will be coming soon to a city near you.

LABCITIES
2 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

One day, I’d like to design a truly modern, functional city with the character of a medieval hill town.

Rather than a blueprint, I’d like to design a series of recipes for how to create it, from the community to individual human level, from street plans to door handles. This outlines how and why that approach could work, compared to how cities are designed today.

If you designed a fruitcake the way buildings are, you would specify the coordinates of every nut and raisin. Every cake would look the same and there would be something distinctly non artisanal about it.

But cakes aren’t designed, they are created from recipes and the end result is slightly different for each one because of the action of the person applying the recipe and subtle variations in the environment. The more a product made from a recipe is connected to individual human interaction and its local environment, the more local and artisanal it looks, and people often pay a premium for hand made artisanal products rather than factory made ones.

To summarise: things made from a recipe rather than a design have more character, and hand made things made from recipes have even more character, still.

James Bell
4 days ago
James Bell
Smart City Expert

Planning and envisioning smart cities has become a big priority for governments across the world. Smart cities offer big attraction for business and the technological convenience created for residents seems to create a great vision of a utopic future. In recent years, many countries are fast initiating new Smart Cities or retrofitting technologies in existing cities. While these are a welcome change for the citizens, initiatives of this nature require larger overall perspectives and decisions must be made with an understanding of the risks involved.

Jaime González
last week
Jaime González
Independent Professional

The world is rapidly urbanizing. The United Nations predicts that the number of people living in cities could double by 2050 — to 6.5 billion.

To accommodate growing populations, cities like Paris, New York, and Tokyo are building more housing and public resources, including parks, schools, and subways, as part of large redevelopment plans.

James Bell
3 days ago
James Bell
Smart City Expert

Traffic congestion has become a common problem since the time automobiles have hit the roads and overpopulation has hit the cities. The worse conditions are seen in developing countries where people adjust their daily routine according to the long hours they have to spend stuck in traffic. For the same reason urban planners have begun incorporating technology and artificial intelligence in reducing traffic congestions and in setting up a smart traffic management system.

LABCITIES
6 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

The city of Zug in Switzerland announced that it is the first community to offer all citizens of the city the opportunity to get a blockchain-based digital identity.

The digital ID is based on an app that utilizes blockchain technology to secure personal information and associate it with a crypto address, the release said. With the digital ID, the residents can register their identity independently on the app and the identity is verified by the ID control of the town of Zug.

Last year the city of Zug’s pilot bitcoin project kicked-off allowing residents to pay their fees in digital currency bitcoin. With the pilot project, Zug also known as ‘Crypto Valley’ has become the first locality in the world to accept bitcoin payments.

The ID project is based on Ethereum blockchain and the project saw participation from the Institute for Financial Services Zug (IFZ) of Lucerne University of Economics, as well as Consensys-uPort (Zug) and ti & m (Zurich).

LABCITIES
5 hours ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

The city of the future is going to be cool, with smart tech that helps you live your life.

But no one knows exactly what the fantastical city we've been dreaming about looks like, how it'll work and what it'll do.

Take car companies, for example. When they dreamed up their ideal smart city, they imagined sensor networks in roads that told commuters the perfect time to head to work, allowed cars to self-drive to their destinations and even automatically park in a garage. Some of those innovations are already here.

Apps for Apple's iPhone and mobile devices powered by Google's Android software can alert drivers when they should leave for an appointment and suggest the best route to get you where you're going. Meanwhile, tech companies like Uber, Alphabet and Apple and car makers including Ford are playing with self-driving technology that could be in production in the next five years.

Since those issues are largely being tackled by companies, city governments are focusing th...

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LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Very few buildings are taller than 500 meters because of the limitations of those everyday devices that make high-rise buildings practical in the first place – elevators. Traditional, steel-rope-hung elevators can travel only around 500 meters before the weight of the rope itself makes it inconvenient. That takes more and more energy and space – which all costs developers money.

Replacing steel ropes with carbon fiber ones can save energy and space. But even so, people who want to go to the uppermost floors from the lowest floors don’t want to wait for the elevator to stop at the dozens of floors in between. That means developers need to make room in their buildings for multiple shafts, for express and local elevators, and for “sky lobbies” where people can switch between them. All of that space devoted to vertical transportation reduces the amount of rentable space on each floor, which makes the economics of the building more difficult the higher it gets.

A new elevator system u...

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LABCITIES
3 days ago
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Electric car grids, smart parking, crowdsensing, digitized education, smart lighting – these are among many concepts that top global cities are pursuing to improve the experiences of citizens and businesses. Using the latest technologies, local governments are addressing pain points that are top of mind for their citizens.

For example, In The Netherlands, Amsterdam is one of the highest traffic regions so the city launched its own “virtual traffic manager” which tracks and controls the entire national traffic system in a centralized system. Because of this initiative, Amsterdam natives spend ten percent fewer hours in vehicles. Digital change takes time and resources, but many cities around the world are paving the way for what will be the future standard of city living.

Jean-Paul Rouge
yesterday
Jean-Paul Rouge
Independent professional

When a short trial of an autonomous bus first ran in Helsinki, Finland, in 2016, most riders saw it as a novelty. But by this fall, if you work in downtown Helsinki, you might start riding the city’s robo-bus as part of your daily commute. The city is one of a handful to launch a longer-term trial of the technology, running along a regular bus route.

“If we want to get real data, we need to have it in an area where the same people will be every day,” says Harri Santamala, who directs a smart mobility program at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and is coordinating Sohjoa, a joint project that is testing the autonomous shuttles. “So we are now aiming toward the local people, feeding them to the tram or metro lines… We need strong, long-term experiences of how people will really use an autonomous bus, and what happens when the novelty value of the bus wears off.”

The tiny bus, which can hold 12 passengers and travels at a sedate seven miles an hour–slower than an average cyclist–runs on electricity. If someone cuts in front, it stops itself; like other autonomous vehicles, it holds the promise of reducing or even eliminating traffic deaths. In trials, a human is onboard in case of emergency, but in a driverless future, it will be cheap enough to operate that it can fill in transit gaps, helping people drive less. That time may be nearly here; cities just have to take a few more steps to understand how the technology can best be used.

LABCITIES
4 days ago
LABCITIES
By Marc Van Steyvoort

Trials in Denmark carried out by Nissan Motor Co. and Italy’s biggest utility Enel SpA showed how batteries inside electric cars could help balance supply and demand at times and provide a new revenue stream for those who own the vehicles
( Source Bloomberg Technology )

James Bell
2 days ago
James Bell
Smart City Expert

Smart cities need smart transport services. Proper movement of people, goods and services accelerate the growth and development of a region. A well planned and efficiently managed transport network is a must for any society.

Jason Black
5 days ago
Jason Black
Project Manager

IoT growth is skyrocketing, with an annual growth rate of 23%. The number of IoT devices is on track to surpass the number of smartphones to become the largest category of connected devices by 2018. The low cost and wide availability of sensors and radios used to connect everyday objects, like traffic signals and thermostats, to the Internet have tipped the scales in favor of IoT, including IoT in the medical market.

Healthcare IoT has already emerged as an expanding market, but it may be poised to grow even more rapidly. Here’s why.

Jürgen Schmidt
last week
Jürgen Schmidt
Smart Consultant

When reexamined decades later, predictions about how the future will look almost always miss the most important changes

Mid-century writers often discussed flying cars and massive space settlements, but how many predicted mobile phones? Still, some trends are clear, and few would argue that smart technology is going to play an increasing, and perhaps even dominating, role in our cities’ futures. Will these trends lead to better quality of life? What are the potential downsides?

LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

With the amount of data available today, cities are constantly innovating, finding new ways to apply insights in ways that benefit citizens. This is no small task, as new technologies are constantly reshaping what’s possible when it comes to using and making sense of data.

Data creates opportunities. Cities are rife with challenges that not only impact their own residents but society at large. IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are now poised to address some of the most pressing social challenges, like homelessness, transportation and public safety.

As cities find new ways to analyze data and extract insights that help solve some of their most immediate challenges, they’re also creating promising assets for tackling issues beyond their borders. Whether it’s Copenhagen’s increase in smart technologies to reduce emissions or New York’s efforts to modernize its subway and ferry systems, cities and the organizations that work with them are tackling issues that have implications on citizens around the world.

LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

In London, night owls bemoan the loss of 50 percent of the city’s nightclubs. In Hong Kong, bibliophiles fret about the city’s disappearing bookstores. And in New York, theatre lovers worry about “off-Broadway” playhouses succumbing to rising rents.

As booming cities around the world grow more and more expensive, cultural establishments like these — as well as live music venues, dance studios and art galleries — are facing a squeeze. That’s certainly the case in Seattle, the fastest growing big city in the U. S., where the ever-growing headquarters of Amazon.com and investment from mainland China are pushing up rents and making it harder for cultural venues to survive.

For the city that gave the world grunge music and inspired sci-fi writers such as Neal Stephenson and Octavia Butler, this is not acceptable. That’s why the local government here has created a position tasked specifically with maintaining Seattle’s cultural vibrancy.

Giovanni Silva
6 days ago
Giovanni Silva
Smart City Expert

Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool announced that as of September the city of Amsterdam will start removing bikes belonging to bike sharing services, which are placed in public space.

Alderman Pieter Litjens announced that the goal of bike sharing concepts is to reduce the number of bikes in public space. In reality however it proves that the number of bicycles is rising as a result of bike sharing concepts. ‘The city wants to put a hold on that’.

Since the introduction last year, the number of bike sharing bicycles has increased explosively, to such an extent that the bikes are becoming a burden for the city. Last May, Danish company Donkey Republic placed 360 bikes in the city. And next to Donkey Republic, Amsterdam contains four other bike sharing services.

Amsterdam city law forbids the offering of services on or alongside public streets, making the services of bike sharing systems like oBike, Donkey Republic and Flickbike illegal.

In the last years, the city has put much efforts in removing aboned bikes in the crowded bicycle racks. And now the racks are becoming full again with sharing bikes. Therefore the city is working on a central policy to enforce removing the bikes.

Adrian Boukalov
last week
Adrian Boukalov
Smart City Expert

Dear Colleagues,

The EAI International Conference on Smart City Experimental and Digital Business Development Platforms (http://smartdbd.org/2017/show/home) is the first International Smart City experimental platforms conference that aims to serve as a premier international forum for discussions, bringing together academic, industrial and governmental researchers along with practitioners, standards developers and students interested in Smart Cities experimental platforms, Cities and Living Labs.

The conference is part of  Smart Cities Summit (http://smartcity360.org/2017) in Helsinki and it is putting together research groups developing or owning experimental faculties, ICT experts, Internet and IoT researchers, Cities and Living Labs and Innovation organizations and business practitioners.

The conference provides an opportunity to present and to discuss different experimental faculties, the possibilities of their integration, interoperability, connectivity, federation aspect...

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LABCITIES
last week
LABCITIES
By Joan Torres

Smart projects typically inspire urban visions: connected skyrises, autonomous vehicles, high-tech transport. And while these are important elements to consider when it comes to urban planning for a city, there’s also a side that can benefit from smart solutions—nature. Islands such as Menorca in the Spanish Balearic archipelago are looking to smart ways to “reduce human pressure and environmental impact.”

The UNESCO-declared Biosphere Reserve of Menorca is currently home to 12 electric charging points, yet only 2 percent of the island’s vehicles are electric or hybrid. This is the first issue the island is looking to tackle in order to promote sustainability and boost electric mobility, reducing its carbon footprint through renewable energy strategies. With the help of Nissan, the Spanish island is getting the smart boost it needs to put action for electric mobility into place so human activity and nature can coexist.

Julian Sandler
last week
Julian Sandler
Smart City Expert

We’re in the midst of an exciting revolution that’s changing virtually everything about the way we work and live in cities. What’s happening to us all has various names—the Gartner Group calls it “the Nexus of Forces”; IDC Research refers to as “the Third Platform”. Others refer to it as “the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution”. Whatever name you choose, this could be the mother of all big transitions, and what’s driving it is the stitching together of a wide range of many different kinds of technology-driven disruptions.

One thing is clear, and it’s starting to get widely noticed: this process, stimulated by the emergence of low-cost connected technologies, is transforming our experience of cities as we’ve known them.

At its essence, IoT is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. IoT brings together each of those elements – the people, the business processes, the data, and the things — to make networked connections more relevant and valuable. It turns inf...

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