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Monday, November 17, 2014
The Internet of Things Part 2: Creating Smarter Cities to become Intelligent Communities and how the evolution and adoption of the Internet of Things will help to shape them around the world

https://www.intelligentcommunity.org/clientuploads/Images/Jung-Blog-DesigningComm.gifCities that are applying Internet of Things applications, linking their device’s identifiers are doing so to monitor and measure for efficiencies, security and higher productivity. Often this is referred to as developing “Smart Cities”. In the process, they track their municipal assets, improve processes and controls, track behaviors and preferences, improve overall service and traffic efficiencies and establish themselves as leaders in economic development through differentiating themselves among competitive cities. Routers, meters, digitally-tagged devices and Internet of Things-related initiatives help to generate large amounts of data that help decision makers make better evidence-based informed decisions, reducing costs and positively impacting budgets. It also provides a sense of the public’s acceptance and changing behaviors – feedback and citizen satisfaction of existing or new initiatives and services. In an age when traffic movement is critical and municipal utilities and resources such as water and clean air are vital to a city’s existence, smart city infrastructure is a key element in the creation and survival of cities in the future. In addition to monitoring efficiencies and for trouble spots, the analyzed data can undertake predictive maintenance of these assets as well.

While smart infrastructure is valuable in city development and sustainability, an Intelligent Communities’ approach is more holistic; more people-centric; and advocates open source, shared and inclusionary systems. Smart Cities are a reflection of a city that works better; an Intelligent Community reflects a city in which people live better.

The drivers of smart cities are smart infrastructure and asset management monitoring, generating data which is analyzed and with which better decision-making is possible. This will lead to reduced costs and continuous improvement which in turn leads to efficiencies, predictive maintenance and the ability to anticipate problems in advance. By proactively coordinating scarce municipal resources to operate effectively and improve systems on a continuous basis, this verges on being revolutionary. Hence, smart cities help drive a more efficient city, which is able to be marketed as a more competitive environment, and thereby adding to its sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

The drivers of Intelligent Communities are people (talent and leadership), innovation and creativity, inclusion, advocacy and marketing, sustainability, collaboration, and, oh yes, advanced, smart city infrastructure. By incorporating the Internet of Things in a more horizontal, open source and shared ecosystem, people at all levels will be able to create increased social, economic and cultural opportunities and live better lives. This is a community approach focused on people and not just systems, technology and data.

So how can we create better and more sustainable innovation ecosystems and ensure that everyone in society will benefit from these decisions? Are we training people to be able to benefit from the Internet of Things and are there other ways to learn, explore and innovate? For instance, in addition to traditional education, can “maker-spaces” become the new classrooms? Can creative enterprise evolve from access to affordable, standardized and interoperable technologies that advance the opportunities inherent in adopting the Internet of Things more holistically across the board?  Can an Internet of Things ecosystem be part of the creative solutions needed to evolve smart cities into Intelligent Communities? What are the roles of the public, private and institutional sectors in these efforts and who are its champions and advocates? Is a bottom-up approach involving social media the way to engage inclusiveness and involve the greater population to ensure long term sustainability? The Intelligent Community movement and its key criteria are at the heart of all of these questions.

In the Waterloo Region of Canada, Intelligent Community of the Year in 2007, one of its cities, Cambridge partnered with IBM, Blackberry and the Government of Canada in a unique research project that provided Cambridge with the tools they needed to enhance their asset management system and related business processes for the municipality. The partnership undertook an integrated approach. They applied routers, measurement devices and sensors to meet a variety of department needs; measured and analyzed data from different departments and applied the collected information into insight and knowledge that was shared across all city departments and for planning and budgeting purposes. The system that was developed will also allow any private service providers working on initiatives with the city to add to the data mix. The program that its partners assembled called Analytics for City Services and Safety (ACCESS) allows the city to compile and synchronize data and to interpret it from a variety of perspectives. Its aim is to optimize capital spending in order to achieve the highest value in investing in infrastructure and for the opportunity to renew its systems and processes in the most economic and efficient way possible. Essentially, the goal is to significantly improve utilization of limited resources. However it should also lead to the highest level of sustainability as a result of this predictive maintenance.

Another set of benefits emerged for Cambridge as a result of this focused approach to asset management. The Asset Management Division was created which can now systematically collects all of the “big data” that is generated on all aspects of the city’s infrastructure and independently analyze it to take a city-owned long-term approach to its maintenance, operation, rehabilitation, and replacement of all its key assets, annually saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for the municipality. This will give Cambridge a competitive edge by making it possible that all its systems are healthy, efficiently managed and cost-effective. This type of city intelligence is also attractive to investing companies, local businesses and its citizens. Currently the city monitors and analyzes data from tens of thousands of related control devices monitoring over 2000 km of underground water mains, sanitary pipes, storm sewer pipes, roads and sidewalks. With increasing connections to the city’s soft infrastructure such as parks, schools, bus stops, sports and cultural facilities, Cambridge has become a model of how the Internet of Things can benefit a society.

Not to be outdone, Cisco and the city of Nice, France are undergoing research in the ”Connected Boulevard“ initiative. This experiment applies the Internet of Things to the urban management of a street with sensors installed in everything from street lights, parking metres and sidewalks to waste containers. The data is collected in real time by 200 devices which are continuously analyzed to provide information ranging from traffic flow, energy consumption and even the level of cleanliness on the street. In addition to sensors and devices, Nice has also built the capacity to capture a variety of data from daily life through a hybrid network infrastructure including Cisco`s Wi-Fi network. According to Cisco, ``the data is processed into real-time information and converted into intelligence with the help of context-aware location analytics, before being disseminated to serve multiple services in city operations and for city dwellers. It is an Internet-centric "always-on" platform designed to be resilient, extensible, highly secure and agile, through several interoperable layers. The Connected Boulevard is a multi-stakeholder collaboration integrating various solutions from different international and local companies.” Early projections suggest that this initiative can prove that these measures will contribute to the reduction of traffic congestion by 30% and energy costs can be reduced by 80% as a result of the synchronization of street lighting on a need-basis.

As we learn more about the benefits that the Internet of Things will bring into our lives, we will need to invest as society into the training, research and constant improvement for analyzing the data that comes with these new connections of devices everywhere. Beyond machine to machine connections and provisioning sensors to create more efficient municipal infrastructure, new ways to be more productive and innovative with the Internet of Things is being undertaken every day. For instance, this is already taking place in Columbus, Ohio where IBM, Ohio State University and Columbus 2020, the region’s economic development agency, have partnered to create the Client Center for Advanced Analytics. The Center will train analysts to analyse the billions of bits of data that are produced, making the information available to companies who will use it to make better strategic decisions, improve services for their customers, analyse predictive solutions such as ways to identify fraud and gain a competitive advantage for the company and community. This can apply to cities as well.

Cities are crucibles where experimentation and market forces combine to test innovation. They are also the place we call home where we live out our dreams, raise our families and add to our culture and economy. With predictive intelligence we are able to make more informed and realistic decisions that will make life more bearable and less stressful. We will be able to have better information on possible options and outcomes. Instead of worrying about all the data that is being generated, we should think about the knowledge that we can gain as a society and the benefits of the information that we can turn into wisdom and intelligence that will help people to build better communities and better lives for themselves, their families and their neighbours.

John Jung will be presenting the keynote address at the Internet of Things Conference in Auckland, New Zealand on November 19, 2014.

Monday, November 10, 2014
The Internet of Things Part 1: The Internet of Things will change Everything!

https://www.intelligentcommunity.org/clientuploads/Images/Jung-Blog-DesigningComm.gifChange is inevitable.  It is changing quickly and the drivers for it are not only structural, political, scientific and economic, it is also cultural and social. Behind it all of course is that it’s about people. So perhaps in the end, everything we are discussing here is not about technology at all, but about people. So put away your M2M’s and your Internet of Things (and even Internet of Everything) and let’s focus on people- The Internet of People.

And speaking about people, there will be a lot of them - by 2050, it is expected that 70% of the world’s population will be in urban environments. Already today over 50% of the world’s population have moved to cities bringing untenable challenges to most of these urban areas. As cities continue to grow, with some already at the breaking point, the resources necessary to manage them are not able to keep pace.

Some urban communities are looking to the promise of technology to solve their urban challenges. Through deploying smart city infrastructure and undertaking big data analytics, civic efficiencies (traffic, utilities and services) are expected to generate improved asset management that should be able to help municipalities make better decisions and help them keep pace with their budgets. By deploying sensors in these areas and addressing data management in ways, for instance, to create improved civic operations and relieve traffic congestion, the value of Internet of Things applications will be demonstrated to their citizens, with the hope that trust and confidence in these technologies will also be enhanced. However these applications tend to be vertically integrated silos usually undertaken by a single competitive vendor and their applications are usually not able to be integrated across the board in all things throughout the community.

Accordingly, the true benefit of the Internet of Things will not be possible until an open source, standardized and horizontal approach is adopted. Some refer to this period of deficiencies in interoperability among devices intended to be linked as being similar to the early days of the Internet itself. The Internet of Things needs a standard for all devices at all levels of public, private and institutional sophistication to be able to be linked with each other for the promise of the Internet of Things to be truly valuable. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Internet Protocol for Smart Objects (IPSO) Alliance are working toward this standard but the general public and most communities do not seem to be even at the threshold of this understanding.  What is promising is that groups like IPSO Alliance are focusing on activities such as publishing its “Smart Objects Guideline” to provide a basis for interoperability across devices connected to the Internet of Things.

Despite general public unawareness in most parts of the world, this has become noticeable by the Chinese.  Given the challenges of industrial collaboration in an era of heavy competition, even among Chinese companies, and recognizing the benefits from the evolution of the Internet of Things, the Beijing Municipal Government, through its Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology and the Zhongguancun Science Park, along with 40 collaborative upstream and downstream institutions in the networking industry, co-launched the “Zhongguancun Technological Innovation Strategic Alliance of Networking Industry” in November 2013. This Alliance established an application-oriented networking industry centre with industry, technology and innovation as its focus. The alliance members are undertaking a dozen demonstration projects aimed at cultivating industrial leading enterprises and products with national industrial standards, potentially making Zhongguancun China’s national standard for the Internet of Things. 

Greater public awareness, education and demonstrations all around the world involving all sectors of society are needed in order to embrace these opportunities. This is becoming more important as more devices are being connected to one another. Today, according to Shodan, a search engine for The Internet of Things, over 15 billion things are connected with one another including computers with mobile devices, medical sensors, and industrial and commercial machines. However, 85% of things today are left unconnected.  It is expected that 50 billion things will be connected by 2020. The drivers for these will be what people will be demanding and the information derived from the data being analyzed now. For instance, there will likely be substantial growth as a result of more connected healthcare, a world of wearable technologies, connected cars and ever-more connected things that become commonplace to service people and their needs.

An example of a company already connecting its devices to other devices and end users is Coca Cola. Its internet-connected “Freestyle” machines are becoming ubiquitous in theaters, hip burger restaurants and chains such as Burger King, tracking people’s preferences for drinks and predetermining restocking of machines without sending a truck first.  I used this “Internet of Sodas” recently and was offered the ability to try one of over 100 drink combinations at the single machine. In the process Coca-Cola has secured 16 million unique network identifiers from IEEE, which manages the “media access control address (MAC) registration” for these devices. MAC addresses, which are essentially virtual serial numbers, are imbedded in the physical devices as unique identifiers and are different from an IP address. While an IP address can change from coffee shop to airport lounge, the identifier of a MAC address for a device will never change even if the device moves from place to place.

Wearable technologies from the potential of Google’s Glass to the renewed watch craze that pits Pebble against Sony’s smart bands and Samsung’s smart gloves, among others, are just the tip of the iceberg for moving the Internet of Things from its machine-to-machine dominance to everyday applications that people will want and begin to expect. They inform, measure, motivate and even warn their end-users in everything that interests people in their everyday lives. Just as end-users have come to expect a wow-factor and sea-change in Apple’s every announcement of new innovations, so will citizens come to demand and expect these types of changes in everything that they do in their cities, from improved traffic patterns to conveniences in paying their utility bills as well as ensuring our safety and security.

There are many other examples:  

“The Internet of Cows”: digitally- tagged cows which are able to be continuously screened prior to milking for any diseases or other health issues that might taint the milk. They can also be directed to a secure area for medical assistance through these technologies. With sufficient data from these cows, researchers and veterinarians are able to undertake predictive medical treatments for them, avoiding issues before they start.

“The Internet of Schoolchildren”: all schoolchildren in Taipei are provided smartcards which can be used for transportation and other basic expenditures but which also send a text message to the parents that their child has entered or left their school. Through data gained over a long period of time and properly analyzed, administrators are able to determine well in advance the predictive behaviours of these children and undertake remedial measures to improve their attendance, ensure their safety and security and other measures.

“The Internet of Young Drivers”: one day your connected and automated “driverless” car in the garage will be accessed by your young driver only after certain criteria has been met, such as gaining your permission!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Can You Build an Economy and Save a Life at the Same Time?

In the Intelligent Community of San Francisco (Smart21 of 2007), about 3,000 people work in high-tech manufacturing. The city may be obsessed by software these days, but advanced manufacturing generates about $1 billion in direct and indirect revenue for the local economy.


It also saved a man’s life.

His name is Marc Roth.  According to a wonderful article by Jason Shueh in GovTech, Marc was a successful entrepreneur in Las Vegas, where his patented touchscreen technology was used to process taxi fares.  Beginning in 2008, however, the financial crisis ran through Las Vegas like a river in flood and took the travel industry – his customers – with it. 

In 2010, Marc decided to repair his fortunes by moving to San Francisco.  He was sure of landing a good software engineering job earning six figures, and his wife and children would then be able to follow him there. 

Instead, he wound up living in his car.  Entrepreneurship turns out not always to be a good thing on a resume.  Potential employers believed that he would stick around only long enough to line up his next business opportunity.

He worked in a pizza restaurant until nerve damage from long hours on his feet made it impossible for him to do the job, or most other manual labor.  One day, his car was robbed and all his possessions stolen.  That night, in mental and emotional agony, he checked into a homeless shelter.  It felt like the end of the road and he contemplated suicide.  But day after day, he decided to put it off for one more sunrise.    

On one of those dark days, he found an advertising flyer in a trash can that offered a one-month membership at something called the TechShop.  Mark did not know it then but it is the hub of San Francisco’s Maker Movement, which supports community-driven manufacturing design and production. Marc’s flyer got him access to a facility with more than a million dollars in prototyping equipment. 

Marc took classes, mastered the equipment, and soon found himself being hired by young entrepreneurs to help with their prototype projects.  Then TechShop offered him a teaching position.  Months later, a friend, whom he had met at Techshop, paid for him to move into a “hacker hostel” for tech entrepreneurs.  Shortly afterward, an investor put money into SF Laser, a laser cutting and etching company that Roth had founded.  Eighteen months after he first checked into the homeless shelter, Marc was finally able to bring his family to San Francisco. 

Innovation is the lifeblood of the modern economy.  Intelligent Communities pursue innovation through a triangular relationship between business, government and such institutions as universities and hospitals.  (See our book Brain Gain for more.)  The Innovation Triangle helps keep the economic benefits of innovation local, and creates a culture that engages the entire community in positive change.  Maker spaces like TechShop often plan a vital part.

But sometimes, economic lifeblood turns out to be no different than the blood running through a man or woman’s veins.  Marc Roth owes his life to TechShop – and in gratitude, he founded a nonprofit called the Learning Shelter, which teaches trades to people as homeless as he once was. San Francisco has gained something even more valuable than another startup – a citizen determined to leave the city better than he found it. 

Monday, October 6, 2014
Why the Next Wave of Automation May Replace Your Boss

Say what you like about McKinsey & Company, the global consulting firm.  Say that they get magnificently overpaid to offer sensible advice.  Say that they function all too often as a Band-Aid that CEOs and Boards of Directors slap onto their companies after they have gotten into terrible trouble.  


But the guys and gals at McKinsey can still think.  For their 50th anniversary, McKinsey published a special issue of their Quarterly magazine.  In it, they talk about the coming impact of smart machines on organizations – and offer a surprising take on an very old problem.

As we detail in our book, Brain Gain: How Innovative Cities Create Job Growth in an Age of Disruption, ever-smarter robots and software have a long history of replacing people at work.  It began in factories in the Industrial Age and continued in offices in the Information Age. Bosses keep doing the arithmetic.  When the cost of a machine that can do a person’s job falls low enough, buying the machine makes more sense than paying the salary.  It is this trend, taking place decade after decade, that has eroded a middle class built on low-skilled jobs and is making the creation of a knowledge-based workforce a matter of survival for communities in developed and developing nations.

McKinsey’s surprising prediction is that, in coming years, smart machines will invade the executive suite.  Much of the work of bosses, including that dismal arithmetic, will be automated. 

It’s already happening, according to the company.  Google’s “human-performance analytics group” uses algorithms to decide which interview techniques are best at choosing good employees and what to pay them.  A venture capital firm in Hong Kong, with the hip name Deep Knowledge Ventures, has appointed an algorithm to its board of directors.  It gets a vote on what companies to invest in. 

What will be left for managers to do in this new wave of automation?  The things that human beings still excel at.  Andrew McAfee of MIT is quoted in the report as saying, “I’ve never seen a piece of technology that could negotiate effectively.  Or motivate and lead a team.”  Automation on the factory floor separated out the simple, repetitive tasks and assigned them to machines.  The same thing will happen to the simpler and more analytic tasks on the boss’s desk.

So, all those workers who have lost jobs to automation can raise their glasses to the new class of smart machines that are giving them some payback at last. 

Managers who want to keep their jobs will have to rethink how they add value to the organization, while communities will need to take their work on increasing the skills of the workforce to a whole new level. 

But in the end, we may all benefit from smarter machines in the executive suite – if it leads to smarter, more informed, less political decision-making at the top.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
When a Community Cured Cancer


In 1976 nine different doctors around Boynton Beach, Florida (USA) sent Stamatis Moraitis back home to his wife to die.  Stamatis, who was born on the Greek island of Ikaria and had immigrated to America on the Queen Elizabeth (when it was converted into a troop ship in 1943), had lung cancer and would not last the year.  He had to make choices.   He could undergo brutal rounds of chemotherapy and experience the applied medical technologies available for management of his fatal disease, or he could wait it out and let the disease take its course.  He considered staying in his adopted country to undergo aggressive treatment but chose the second option but with a twist.  Another treatment came to mind.  Going home.  He packed his bags and returned to Ikaria, his native home, to be buried with his ancestors and surrounded by living friends.  As Bob Dylan wrote, “When you’ve got nothing, you’ve got nothing to lose.”

Stamatis spent his first few days home in bed.  His mother and wife tended to him as he lay dying.  He got his affairs in order and got closer to the Almighty.  His grandfather had been a Greek Orthodox priest and so it was perhaps easier for him to reconnect with the faith of his tribe.  His friends, hearing he had moved back to Ikaria, visited every day, and every day they drank a bottle (or two) of local wine together.  “I might as well die with a smile on my face,” Stamatis told a friend.  His diet consisted of the standard regional diet: vegetables from the garden, greens and olive oil.  This routine persisted.  He slept long hours and, comfortable in the beautiful place he felt truly his home, he waited for the great departing.

You already have guessed the rest of my story, or have read about Stamatis and Ikaria, where, according to a study by National Geographic and the writer and researcher Dan Buettner, people, on average, live longer than in any other place.   Mr. Moraitis’ year of being terminal came and went, and then more followed.  Many of them.  Two years ago the former manual laborer celebrated his 97th birthday (he claims to be five years older than that, but no one can prove it) and remains cancer free.  No chemo, no drugs, no operations.  He went back to the USA to pay a call on his doctors recently, but they were all dead.

What was his “cure?”  We know from the medical books that spontaneous remissions, while rare, do occur.  And scientific literature, including the work of cancer surgeon Dr. Bernie Siegel (Love, Medicine & Miracles) increasingly cite case histories of patients far outliving their diagnoses through a combination of means.  The fact is, however, we do not know.  What we do know is that he returned to Ikaria where, as the cliché goes, “life got simpler.”  Researchers note that 96% of the people who live there own their own homes.   There may a clue linking this to longevity.  My own mother is 90 and, despite my insistence long ago, lives in the family home and neighborhood where she has lived for 60 years.  She does fine.  But this is not a formula.  Or is it? 

First, life is not simple.  It never was.  It may be more distracting today than ever.  Yet for most everywhere in the developed world, and for more people than at any time, according to the Gates Foundation, Life is a lot easier than it ever was.  Good for us.  Surely technology helps.

But longevity of the Ikaria type cannot claim technology as its only medicine.  The director of the new film, Zero Theorem and Monty Python creator Terry Gilliam says, let’s use technology, not worship it.  Why?  Because a smart community, where trains run on time and speeds are faster, is not the holy grail of the human community.  Neither was the discovery of fire and neither was the discovery of iron.  They helped us (better steaks and better steak knives resulted) but they did not allow us to live in a way that delivered that deep peace that so far few really know.  During the 1930’s leaders In Italy and Germany rationalized the rise of Fascism by noting that “the trains would run on time;” that there would be modern roads and more telephones.  The armies of Europe and Imperial Japan were “mechanized” and the idea of a strictly ordered society was, for sure, the cure of all social ills.  Google “the Second World War” and draw your own conclusion about promises that trains running on time will have the same effect on your life as, well, two bottles of wine each day with people who really care about you. 

There may be broadband on Ikaria, as there is in Okinawa, Japan, the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica and among the Seven Day Adventists’ community of Loma Linda, California.  There should be.  It is the new fire and iron and railroad.  Yet these are each communities where longevity statistics blow away international averages.  So while there may be IP-based LED lighting and sophisticated water management systems in these places, as there are in many “smart” communities, what seems missing is what the people of Ikaria may have found.  And that is a deeper intelligence.  A more holistic one.  More social cohesion and “advocacy.”  A collaboration so old it is new.  Said Stamatis, “Here is not a ‘me’ place.  It is an ‘us’ place.”

Linking olive oil and to a vanishing adenocarcinoma diagnosis is a stretch.   So I have a theory of what cured Stamatis.  It was home.  H-O-M-E.  As in No Place like It.  He went to where he could be full; where life and death were twin dancers.  The man cured himself by rediscovering an intelligence that only the most perceptive physician could have proscribed.  One that studied medicine and poetry.   While most simply prefer to look at the “data” and give us the hard facts, others see something else.

Last year, as we studied culture and its impact on communities, I found so much depth and wealth in these communities.  In Toronto I saw an area (Regent Park) resurrected by art and the local community.  Poetry has sung of resurrection for a long time.  And also insurrection when resisted or smothered.  Ask the people in Hong Kong this week how far economic success and technologies go when freedom of expression and their culture of community are threatened.  You only get rid of a disease by first identifying it.  Then you return home.

On 21 October we name our new Smart21.  During and after the announcement you will hear a lot about the use of technology, broadband, the Internet and the fruits of success that planning enabled in these wonderful Intelligent Communities.  One of these will succeed Toronto as the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year.  It is exciting.  You will read about best practices and you will get a chance to study the progress of them all, including the sustained progress of the few communities in the group who, if history repeats, will make a return to our list.  We shall see.

What I will be looking for is what I always look for: their poetry.  Their ability to provide not only high-speed access, manage open data and smoothly deliver administrative services, but also whether they have a voice with which to call to their sons and daughters back from the brink – whenever they find themselves there - and to invigorate them with a new life.  That is the “revolutionary community” I will be telling you about over the next year.   It is spelled: H-O-M-E.

Photo of Ikaria, Greece by Stelios Kiousis

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