The Smart City Needs To Deal With The Same Problems As The Internet

smartcityprivacy
The analogy between the internet and the smart cities I wrote about a few weeks ago is not only based on the similarity in opportunities. Much like the internet, the smart city is also subject to social and cultural dilemmas like privacy and security. A city tracking its citizens, even for helpful reasons, impacts the personal liberty we count on in public spaces.

Smart city projects rely on sophisticated infrastructure that governments aren’t capable of creating themselves. The crucial software systems and networks that underlie city services will likely lie in private hands. Smart grid utility-metering systems, for instance, collect and transmit detailed energy consumption information, which help consumers understand their energy use but can also reveal their habits. As such, they have come under fire for threatening privacy and civil liberties. This could be as simple as your Nest Thermostat being part of the Google Ecosystem and they might use your Nest data to serve better ads, or your Nest data ending up in the analytical software of NSA-like parties.

There are at least three classes of security and privacy issues that may result:

  • protecting the connected assets from attack;
  • protecting the data gathered from those assets from misuse;
  • protecting the privacy of individuals whose assets may be supplying the data (via, e.g., electric meters or connected cars).

A big challenge for smart cities is combining with, and migrating away from, legacy systems throughout the city. The smart city is as good the software it uses is therefore a common saying. However, the same goes for privacy and security.

A smart city is as secure and private as the software it uses.

The Four Pillars of a Decentralized Society

“What if we could rebuild our society in a way that works for everyone? Epochal changes are now underway that are radically transforming how society operates. Johann Gevers will describe this revolution, and how it will create vast new economic opportunities and unprecedented social freedom.”

The World’s First Family Robot

As I wrote last week: the robots are on the move. And they might show up at your doorstep early 2015 if you head over to IndieGoGo and pre-order Jibo, the world’s first family robot.

Specifically, Jibo is a social robot. You talk to it, ask it questions, make requests. It talks back and provides answers. It sort of like the physical embodiment of Siri, Google Now, or any of the voice-activated assistants services available on our smartphones or tablets. Jibo however,  tries to act like more of a participant than a tool.

Check out the early demo.

Analytics to Power the Four-leaf SMCT Clover

Business warriors badly need their SMCT, their Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks. Common technology-wise, these four letters consitute the four-leaf clover of Social networking, Mobile apps on smart devices, pervasive Cloud, and connected Things of sorts. This SMACT platform is expected to build up in four Olympic 4-year periods (2004-2020) with exponential impact. This fully depends however on the heart of the matter: the intelligent A-stem in the middle which stands for Analytics, based on big data.

smac

Know & Do What You Want to Know & Do
Today, the Social and Mobile leafs may seem well established while Cloud and Things remain underdeveloped. True as this is, we first and foremost need to see that only the four-leaf clover’s Analytics stem, through which big data flows, can so to speak “nourish” the leafs to become first class crop. True excellence is grounded in both knowing & doing what you want to know & do. [Read more...]

What would Google do now that IBM and Apple are friends?

IBM-AppleApple and IBM announced their alliance yesterday. The two old enemies made an agreement to make 100 business apps and sell iPhones to corporate customers. Engineers of the two companies will work together on serious business apps. IBM’s business DNA can help Apple to make a move into this direction. We know Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has an appetite for business. Earlier this year he expressed his enthusiasm about the enterprise market as follows:

“It’s clear that the enterprise area has huge potential, and we’re doing well from a percentage of companies that are using iPhone and iPad. It’s up to unbelievable numbers. The iPhone is used in 97% of the Fortune 500, and 91% of the Global 500, and iPad is used in 98% of the Fortune 500 and 93% of the Global 500″

[Read more...]

Smart Cities and the Internet of Things: Follow the Money and the Data

smart-cities-1As we introduced here on the blog earlier, our next (and last) installment of our four reports on the internet of things will be all about the concept of smart cities. After our initial exploration of the internet of things in the first report, the personal (and wearable) internet of things in the second report, and the third report on the industrial side of IoT and the integration of Information Technology and Operational Technology, cities are a logical next step in which all these concepts are converging. And cities are a huge piece of the Internet of Things-pie.

All big themes associated with the internet of things, like efficiency gains, predictive maintenance and ubiquitous connectivity, have a enormous relevancy towards cities. More than half of the world lives in cities, and by 2050, it will be two-thirds. This rapid increase in population coupled with financial constraints, the convergence of technologies and a desire to reduce environmental impact is creating new challenges and opportunities for cities in areas such as energy use, mobility, security, infrastructure, healthcare and governance.

That’s where the IoT comes in.

We all know the staggering predictions about what economical impact the IoT will have on the world. In terms of numbers, the loudest drumroll is currently being produced by Cisco that, in June 2013, estimated the present potential of things at 613 billion dollars, and presumes that the market will amount to no less than 14,400 billion dollars in 2023. In this context, Cisco is talking about savings — the reduction of waste — plus the direct sale of products. McKinsey assesses the economic impact of the Internet of Things at somewhere between 2700 and 6200 billion dollars in 2025, with the healthcare sector, infrastructure and public sector services as the most promising domains. 

If we zoom in on these numbers we end up at cities (or urban environments) pretty fast. A more recent research by Bosch titled  “Capitalizing on the internet of things” talks about 5 key markets as where the estimated 596 billion in IoT-revenue will come from.

20140403_Infographic_Key-Markets_72dpi_992x709px_02

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The End Game of the Sharing Economy

“Airbnb does business in 34,000 cities, has a valuation of over 10 billion dollars, and in a very short time has disrupted the world of hospitality and travel. Its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky envisions the future city as a place where sharing is front and center — where people become micro-entrepreneurs, the local mom and pops will flourish once again, where space isn’t wasted, but shared, and more of almost everything is produced, except waste. But the journey from here to there won’t be all smooth sailing. What are the ups and downs of the sharing economy, as businesses like Airbnb confront critiques about regulation, economic development, and fairness? What role might businesses play in creating more shareable, more livable cities? How will the sharing economy, with its de-emphasis on ownership, be a tool for addressing urban inequality?”

Disruption and The Valley of Death

From our Design to Disrupt event: Gerd Leonhard on the Valley of Death, The New Normal and Disruptive technologies.

Gerd Leonhard on Disruption @ VINT Symposium Design to Disrupt from VINTlabs – The Sogeti Trendlab on Vimeo.

How the 2010-2020 Decade of Smart Became the Multi-trillion Dollar Decade of SMACT

Today’s business reality is called Digital Transformation. In a recent article – The Five Keys to a Digital Mindset – by renowned IESE Business School analysts this is being made clear from the start: “In boardrooms around the world “digital” is on everyone’s lips. Executives ask questions like, what´s our strategy in relation to mobility, social media, the cloud or big data?”

No doubt about that: we call this Mobile, Social, Cloud and Analytics. Only, the sequence should be SMAC, and the T of connected Things is missing. In 4 Olympic 4-year periods, the development at the start of this Digital Transformation century can be pictured as follows with the Uber-Intelligence of Big Data Analytics in the middle:

smact_vint

Recommended further reading:
1 – The 4I Revolution: Industrial – Information Tech – Internet – and Industrious Once More
2 – RoboThings, Awake!
3 – The IT+OT+IOT “Pervasive Interaction Engine” (PIE)
4 – Grab Your Piece of the PIE: Internet of Things to Fuel the Digital Customer Experience
5 – Your Internet of Things Tinkering Kit: 10 Necessary Tools & Tips
6 – Digital Disneyfication Is What M2M and Internet of Things Means
7 – The New PC or Pitching Convergence: Both Industry AND Business!

Future of Retail: Nightmare on Elm Street

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In the 1984 horror classic “Nightmare on Elm Street” the world of dreams and the physical world were connected. People got attacked in their dreams, and woke up physically hurt, or even dead. This virtu-real scenario is unfolding in many parts of the economy today. Like in retail, where brick-companies are hurt by virtual retail challengers.

The times pinching yourself in the arm and asking the question “Is this really happening to me?” are over since 2010. When you look at the staggering yearly growth rate of Amazon in 2010 – 213, we see 20% – 40% rates, adding up to an expected 80 billion revenue or more in 2014. The biggest off-line retailer in the world, Walmart, for the first time is even showing faster e-commerce growth rates  than Amazon, while offline sales in retail overall are declining. Buying virtually is getting in the DNA of the 21st century consumer. Almost 70% of the Americans bought electronic goods on-line, 63% bought clothes and 20% buy daily groceries on-line. Countries like India and China are showing the same trend. The famous Chinese company “Alibaba” sold for $ 5.75 billion of goods on their virtual platforms Taboa and Tmall, in only one day (11 november 2013).

Internet of Things is the bricks-and-mortar revival
A nightmare on Elm Street is about the physical and virtual world melting together. And although companies like Barnes and Nobles, Staples and Gap are closing hundreds of shops since 2011, the Elm street nightmare of death in the city, empty streets and closed down shops, is not the only possible scenario. In reality retail is getting virtualized in such a way that bricks and mortar are becoming the new e-commerce platforms. All because of the internet of things. Michael Chui, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, is very positive about these new possibilities.

“A lot of things we can do online, now, with the internet of things, we can also do offline. Bricks-and-mortar-stores have seen nothing like it”.

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