When we look at the adoption of new technologies, there often seem to be two simultaneous divergent trends. The innovators and early adopters push the technology forward, making significant progress every year. The laggards still find many reasons not to use the technology.
The current state of videoconferencing provides a very strong example of this divergence.Read more
It’s been clear for some time that the Internet can connect everyone around the globe – in theory. This opens up tremendous potential for collaboration, mutual economic growth, education and a variety of other benefits. We’ve seen many of those benefits, but we still haven’t touched the surface.
Among other reasons the true potential of a globally connected world hasn’t yet been realized is that many people still can’t communicate when they communicate – they don’t speak the same language.Read more
On December 10, President Obama signed a reform of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, which had been passed by Congress the day before. It preserves standardized testing but eliminates any consequences to states and school districts that perform poorly. It also bars the Federal government from imposing academic requirements like the Common Core, America’s first serious attempt at a national curriculum for elementary and secondary school students.Read more
Every Smart City and Intelligent Community aims to create a high quality of life for its citizens. Healthy and happy citizens create a more vibrant and productive economy. According to a recent Economist Magazine article on housing in Britain, the correlation between housing availability and affordability are directly related to productivity. The choice was to either live in increasingly more crowded and more expensive housing accommodation in order to participate in a more productive community or to move out to work and live in a less productive area. But this is not unique to Britain. Many people who cannot find or afford housing in San Francisco and Silicon Valley eventually are forced to move elsewhere, even though they might have a job prospect in the Valley and wind up being less content in the new community they have been forced to move into.Read more
As 2015 ends I find myself wanting to write about everything which took place over the past 12 months at ICF. It is not possible. So I will hit the high notes. Do not expect a tedious elaboration about the family ski trip to Austria, poor Aunt Sissy’s fractured hip, or the barely disguised boast about how thrilled we “all are” about the youngest being accepted at that elite private school populated by fellow one-percenters. This is not one of those loopy familial annual reports that have become so common around the holidays! Although ICF is a wonderful family, and the urge is there.Read more
The public realm in any city abounds with streets, lanes, parks and public squares, but also public facilities such as the public lobbies and spaces that anyone from the public are able to legally access. It can also include areas below ground where the public may access public areas under streets and buildings, spaces below bridges and even the airspace above these public spaces. The public realm arguably also includes public vistas, namely what the public can see from a distance. As we expand our thinking about what should be considered the public realm in our villages, towns and cities, we should also expand it to include what we can’t necessarily see, but increasingly experience: the impact of broadband wireless services in public spaces and how it contributes to the sense of place in our communities.Read more
Much of the discussion about economic growth and the availability of broadband assumes there is a vast gulf between rural and urban areas. I’ve written before about how, in some ways, trends in this century seem to be leading to something of a convergence of rural and urban areas.
So I thought it especially interesting that the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association yesterday hosted a policy meeting in the US Capitol that was titled: “Beyond Rural Walls: Identifying Impacts and Interdependencies Among Rural and Urban Spaces”.Read more
Life in the broadband economy can be a real killer.
No, I am not talking about the horrific ISIL attack on Paris, despite the online propaganda skills of that 12th Century band of cutthroats. Instead, I am referring to an insight brought to us by two Princeton economists, Ann Case and Nobel prizewinner Angus Deaton.Read more
In the lexicon of planners and developers “Smart Parks” are usually reserved for new forms of industrial and business parks that provide high speed broadband to their end-users as the new form of utility. Of course many offer additional benefits to be part of this special tenant mix, from special LED lighting, guaranteed electric power, electric car charging posts, underground utilities, and gated security services. The physical environment might also include high-end data centers, incubators, accelerators and educational institutions in addition to the office environment that they normally offer. Some offer unique environmental applications such as green buildings, wind turbines, solar panels, vacuum-based waste disposal as well as collecting data via sensors to measure for system efficiencies, environmental readings and traffic flow. Some, such as the Eindhoven Tech Center in the Netherlands offer synergy centres where people gather in restaurants, gymnasiums, ad hoc meeting spaces and advanced digital libraries.Read more
Well, here we go: another Smart21 announcement day approaches, and a new group of communities – cities, towns and regions representing millions of people – will prove yet again that the future belongs to places that we may have once thought were extinct or in great danger of perishing.Read more