The best acts of defiance are made in pursuit of a greater good. History is complete with tales of passive resistance, armed rebellions and legends of a person or group of dedicated souls who refuse to sell-out, cave-in or toss-down the towel, no matter how overwhelming the forces stacked against them or the depth of corruption from a perverse civil order. You and I honor the private inspirations in our lives who get us out of bed and roll us forward, somehow putting in us a deeper psychic mark and recalibrated moral settings. Those whose actions are given the stamp of the “heroic” or “visionary” after their time of persistence are seen to have been clearly on the right side of the cause, while most could only see through the glass darkly. They are, in the words of my father, not deliberate and intentional provocateurs, but people who simply “stuck by their guns.” At ICF we have 145 of them.Read more
Get ready for the next industrial revolution. Change is inevitable. Get over it! And in today’s world, it will happen quickly. The drivers for it are not only structural, political, scientific and economic, but also cultural and social. They are manifested through such things as products and services, platforms and processes, as well as how people, governments and organizations are willing to accept and work with them. On the horizon is a phenomenon that is already changing the way we live. Billions of machine–to-machine (M2M) connections are actively connecting devices and applications that people use everyday such as Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Nest, or Apple’s HomeKit. On the Smart City scene are digital programs ranging from water and air quality sensors to sensor-enabled trash collection, using data to improve efficiency, reduce costs and make better use of our limited resources. The Internet of Things (IoT), which includes M2M connections and sensor-enabled environmental data generators, will probably be one of the most revolutionary impacts on our communities and on our lives since the broad-scale adoption of the Internet. While over 15 billion devices are already connected with one another today including computers with mobile devices, medical and environmental sensors, and industrial and commercial machines, 85% of these devices and other things are still unconnected. It is expected that 50 billion devices and applications will be connected by 2020. The growing adoption of IoT is driving businesses of all makes and sizes to bring about changes in the way they do business, service customers, attract and retain talented workforce and deal with supply chains.Read more
The multi-billion-dollar circus that is the American Presidential election rolls ever on. We stand amazed that a billionaire real estate developer and reality TV star, spewing a sneering mix of lies and vitriol, dominates the Republican side of the contest. He is less a Presidential candidate than a walking Twitter account, with a gift for finding words and attitudes that speak powerfully to a segment of the American people.Read more
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