The coming world of automatic connections…

Interconnection, integration and data are the basis and creation of CPS devices. Interconnection between CPS devices, integration of the devices and data. Lots of data, more data is produced every day by CPS devices than we realize.

So, CPS is the basis for a huge shift. Today we have the broad concept of Big Data (or as with IoT and CPS, more properly Data Analytics). Where a set of data produced is reviewed and ultimately becomes part of a new thing, the analyzed data.

CPS devices can reduce water waste, pollution and the impact of buildings. Empty floors don’t need lights. Empty offices should have lights that turn off. The top of buildings, where possible should house solar arrays.

But as we head into this CPS future what’s next? what lies just over the horizon? We can clearly see the path to 50 billion CPS devices. We can clearly see the path to Smart Cities. What then comes next? Beyond cities?

First off the integration across a number of devices (I called it continuation). Where conversations started in the home can move to the car, and vice versa. Conversations and meetings can transition without loss or impact between various systems.

The need for security grows radically when the connections are automatic. Once compromised the connections are forever compromised until they are reset or re-established. Home private cloud security becomes the enabling risk for corporate IT security. That device, connected to the home private and the car private cloud brings the risk into the enterprise.

Now the value that connection represents is massive. Its about productivity. Its about empowering workers to do more. So the IT security can’t say no to the expansion. They have to come up with ways to fix the problem.

I’ve argued for an NGO that would provide home, cellular and car security devices. The NGO would for a monthly fee provide you with baseline security. Automatic updates and up-to-date checks when your devices connect to enterprise systems. This NGO in conjunction with the City Broker and City Marketplace would give us peace of mind for what comes next.

Beyond the horizon is the reality of a fully connected world. Wearable, slayable and portable devices that connect to each other atomically and provide the information you need to be successful in your daily activities.

The world of connection.



Creating a Non Government Agency (NGO) to offer home private cloud security for all…(cheaply)!

Alice asked the cat which way should I go. The Cheshire Cat answered that depends on where you want to end up. Alice said I don’t know, the Cat said then it doesn’t matter which way you go.

Rule one, never ask directions of a Cheshire Cat.

Rule two, when asking a question loosely understand what you expect to gain from asking that question.

We are at a significant cross roads. The reality of CPS is that it is coming. The devices are in the market now. You can buy them, install them and run them in your home. You connect to your car and you connect to the internet. You connect to work from home and you connect from work to the internet. We are a world of connections now.

Now one the issues is there are more than two plans. Many more than two plans and options out there. So we need to take a look at the standards that exist and begin to make some hard choices.

I’ve heard from several people that in fact there are devices available now that offer home security. I’ve looked at several and there is one in particular I am waiting to receive as it holds the most promise (its called The Wedge). But reality is that I have some (although not a professional security person by any stretch) level of understanding of what security I need.

So we need standards for the expanding CPS world around us. Standards that make it easy to have basic security without having to engage a professional. Beyond that though, you run into problems. That is why I advocate the creation of a Non-Government Agency (NGO) that will deploy and manage the black box in your home network. They will modify the security rules and virus scanning of the box and will provide for a monthly fee, insurance against attacks.

Today these boxes are available and on the market but they are built and deployed by a commercial company. Not that I don’t trust commercial companies, I’ve worked for one since I left teaching. Its more that they are effectively market driven. That means that they respond to the market pressures. They would have to be profitable. That means they would need to charge more on a monthly basis and that would put the home network security out of the reach of many people. An NGO would be tasked with getting a box into every home. They would fail only in that there are people that would say I can do it myself.

The NGO could then have a device on the City Broker network that would authenticate the black box connecting. This reduces the requirements for the City Broker and provides safe internet. This isn’t going to stop hacking organizations. It is just going to make it a little harder than it is today.

When we get to 50 billion devices there are a number of things we have to think about. Having a security system deployed by the NGO would be one less thing. Then we can look at securing data in different ways so that it becomes harder to hack the data.

Perhaps Mr. Gates will fun the NGO to provide safe internet for all.


Safe Internet Proponent

Smart City: Lighthouse for the internet. Friend, safety and warning!

Once it represented after days and weeks of darkness that you were near home or near your destination. It also meant be careful because there was something near the lighthouse that was dangerous. Rocks, shoals and so on that would destroy your boat. The lighthouse was friend (you are near) and warning.

What is the lighthouse for Smart Cities? How will cities know that they are nearer Smart, than they were? It is not a revolution it is an evolution. First off there are 10 billion CPS devices deployed today. Many of those devices are talking a different language than the newer devices being deployed. The reality of integration will slow many Smart City projects in the short term.

The mythical tower of Babel reached to the sky. When it falls the human race picks up  many new languages and communication is fractured. While CPS doesn’t have a tower of Babel it does have many unique protocols. Moving to a single unification of communication will greatly light the way for Smart Cities and other automation projects. You see Smart Cities are a great benefit to people from the reality of CPS. But there are many other industries that will gain significant value. Supply chain management, the ability to know where your parts are days before you will need them. To know what is in the warehouse, on the shelves and what is moving out the door, as the items are sold. Restock what is selling, advertise what is not.

Yesterday I talked about step one being for Smart Cities to implement the City Broker and City Broker Catalog. That would then evolve into a City Broker Marketplace. Today I am wondering what the lighthouse is. Frankly, the lighthouse will light the way for Cities to find the Broker. The Broker will allow a small consistent revenue stream for the city. People will use the broker because it will reduce the tax load for the city overall.  What is the lighthouse that will bring our sailing cities safely into the City Broker Harbor?

It won’t be the City Broker itself. There will be a implementation and integration cost for the City Broker to be built and deployed. Yes, there will be a back end revenue stream for the City that ultimately could reduce taxes and pay for the broker but in the short run (12 months) this is a cost. The other side of the City Broker problem is the reality of what the City Broker would be. Today there are many software solutions that move to the “cloud broker” space. Some that focus on application migration or some that focus on creating application containers, and some that connect many clouds to one portal.

The City Broker would be a combination of application, cloud and material goods. A true marketplace that would offer organizations, companies and startups office supplies, cloud services and application reshooting services. All of this encompassed in the City Marketplace that would be offered as a Service Catalog.

Layer on top of all of this the “home private” and “personal” cloud security offerings and you have a City Broker. It would effectively take cities back to their roots. Why did people gather in groups? For Protection from things beyond their control. As the internet expands its reaches the elements of criminality increase as well.

Perhaps the City Broker will become a lighthouse for those on the internet. A safe haven, but also warning of the rocks below.



Step One City Broker. Step Two City Broker Marketplace. Step Three use your smart city!

On a clear day the infinite is revealed. It is just there on the horizon. The Smart City, waiting for us. Filled with new problems and solutions for old problems. What happens when you can’t connect to the Smart City of tomorrow?

First off there is an interesting modality that occurs, when connections are lost they can be tracked. notification can be sent by other methods. If your internet no longer functions you receive a text message. SMS operates on the cellular radio frequent not the data frequency. Or you get an email. Nothing is worse than the email you receive when you internet is back up notifying you that your internet is down, via email.

Are you willing to wait for your internet knowing that you won’t have to wait in line? I think most people will find the patience to wait for the internet connection to return. There is always the reality of those who delay until the last minute. They won’t be able to suffer the down connection. But that is more because they waited to the last minute.

The question now is when. In my humble opinion if is done. Its when now, when will the Smart City rise and deliver services? That when presents an interesting question. What happens first?

It isn’t luckily a chicken and egg question. It is an evolution not a revolution. Smart Cities will rise out of existing cities by automating services that people use and leverage. It will be the evolution of those services that makes the smart city. So what comes first?

What automated services or smart services would most benefit people? That is the problem. You see if you commute to work then traffic is the number one problem. If you have a small business than waiting in line for city services is the number one problem. Its about where your time is wasted that you apply the greatest value in time savings.

Personally (IMHO) I believe that Cities should adopt the City Broker and City Broker Marketplace first. The reason being is it’s a new consistent revenue stream. Get the money first, and then use it to automate the rest of the services. Where there is an initial cost for the city deploying a Cloud Broker and Service Catalog, that cost will be quickly offset by the small broker fee the city can charge. The incubation services the city can then offer small and startup businesses will increase the tax base quickly. So there is an upfront cost for the Broker, but in the end there is a lot of back end revenue.

Once the broker is up and paid for the city can expand its automation to many processes that are manual today. There are services that will always be manual. But there are many today that could be automated. Overtime as the Broker revenue pays for itself, the city can now begin to offer tax breaks to companies that support remote workers (Work From Home). This reduces the traffic issues and allows the city to apply resources to traffic problems that can be solved quickly.

Then the city can offer the black box security service. You can buy the network boxes today. They exist to protect your home network. They do not have security professionals on the other end building rules and blocking attacks specific to your geography. They are managed at a corporate level. With city security black boxes that are part of the city broker, the attacks can quickly result in law enforcement. The city can notify the authorities and shut down sites and other problems quickly.

Technology can change the world. Technology has already changed the world. Just over the horizon is an even bigger change coming. Your smart city #mysmartcity, making  your life easier.



(ideas presented in this blog are copyright Scott Andersen)

Continuing the Why of City Brokers…

Robert Frost wrote of the path less traveled and in taking that path was the all the better for it. That path beaten path that we often end up on, is often risky because we get run over and crushed. The less beaten path may be harder at first, but you don’t get run over!

So why start with a poetry lesson as part of a Smart City blog? First off I am veering off the path I’ve been taking for a long time and moving towards the concept of the City Broker. The impact of the City Broker may change both City Government and Cloud Computing forever.

First off the reality of incubation is a game changer. In offering a city of XYZ catalog that aggregates all the services that city can offer a startup into one place there is an amazing opportunity. (for more thoughts around this see my podcast). Imagine going to one site, managed by the City Broker, that would allow you to launch your business into the stratosphere.

Starting a business? What kind of funding do you need? As you fill out the various forms the City Broker can introduce you to VC firms that are affiliated with the City. Or direct to the City Sponsored forums on the various Crowd Funding sites. All supported by the city. It isn’t just aggregating Cloud Services. It would be aggregating all the services companies need. The city using its buying weight to reduce the cost of supplies for the business’s that live in the City Broker and City Broker Marketplace.

In my book the Syncverse I talked a lot about the concept of the Myverse. In the Myverse you, as the owner could easily add or remove services that would cached and available for your consumption. One of the services you could add would be the broad City Broker concept. Where the city would provide you with the services you traditionally searched on your own.

I also in the book included a government verse although I didn’t call it that. An interactive area where government could place useful information for people. With the new concept (not in the book but here on my blog) of the City Broker and Broker Marketplace, there is a game changing chance.

Yes the future is only one exit away.

City Brokers would allow organizations to build and share cloud services without worrying about who owns the brokerage. The people of the city would own the broker. The city would derive revenue from this, that would the city to reduce the tax base. Items could be offered in the Broker Marketplace at less than what you would pay for them normally because you aren’t ordering one. You are part of a city ordering 1,000,000. Instead of being a one off, and paying more, you would be part of a collective buying structure and one of many buying what you need.

The marketplace would also allow organizations to offer services within the market. Buy local is a theme heard often and with a Broker Marketplace we could extend that to food, and beyond. Buy local first, could be the new theme.

The future is just one exit away.

#mysmartcity – the path to City Brokers!



The Why of Smart Cities….

A long time reader emailed me on Friday. She said “wow you’ve mashed a lot of topics into your smart cities blogs, why?” Knowing the person it was more a question of the why behind rather than seeking rationale for what I had recommended. So without further ado, the why of all the mashing.

First off, we are talking about cities. People live in cities. In fact 1/2 the world’s population now lives in cities. That number is going to increase. The what and how of cities is also changing. In the days of feudal lords the city was a place of protection (and oppression). Keep the farmers in the walls to protect home. Keep them in the walls so they would do what they were told to do.

The digital city can be anywhere. You can be on vacation in Fiji and apply for a business license in New York City. So what are the components we are talking about? What are the many pieces that make a city smart?

It is an evolution not a revolution. Cities will in the next few years begging adding many services.

  1. City Broker: Why not offer a broker service and service catalog at the municipal level. The monetary stream isn’t huge but the city would be able to manage and support its citizens as we move to a digital world.
  2. City Market (Service Catalog): Why wouldn’t you want to create a service at the Smart City level that creates an incubation for small businesses to grow quickly. Every city is going to want to have an incubation system for small business and for startups. Offering services at the city level via a catalog will allow for these organizations to quickly start up and be productive. It will also benefit all the residents of the city by offering consistent lower cost goods. Large companies will benefit as well, they purchase equipment at a huge cost that they only use once a week. Now they can time share that equipment via the City Market to smaller non-competitive companies. They recoup some of their cost, the city gets a small revenue stream and the small company gets services they couldn’t afford in a non-Utility model.
  3. Personal and Home Private Cloud Security: Somebody has to do this, frankly it probably should be a non-profit organization that is an NGO (non-Government Organization) but it would need to work with the City Government in the Smart City for implementation and ongoing support.
  4. Cyber Physical Systems Broker: as more and more of these sensors and systems come only, the aggregation fits nicely into the broader City Market concept. Offering common CPS devices so that they can be reused (weather, video feeds and a fleet of security drones that sweep the city).
  5. City wide Wi-Fi – why? Frankly I think the Smart City will offer two city wide networks. One only for CPS devices to reduce traffic and one for everything else. Potentially partnering with media companies to fifer a 3rd city wide entertainment network also. In a city of 10,000,000 people there are multiple individual streams of any one movie. What if everyone was watching one cached stream of the same movie. Smart Cities would offer their citizens intelligent bandwidth management.
  6. Egoverment – or the creation of a virtual city. No more standing in lines at City Hall. Everything can be done in the virtual world. Forms are online. You can the smart city digital assistant (Siri of the City!) that will respond to you and help you navigate this new world.

There are more things (the concepts for more are in the book “The Syncverse” available on Amazon.) Smart Cities will do. Let’s start with the Egovernment. Moving government to a virtual world is the first critical step in successfully moving towards a smart city. Egovernment is more than simply putting the city online. It is also creating an analytics framework to make things better. The Smart City has net new revenue streams (Broker, Market) and net reductions in cost (on-line gov, reduced helpdesk with the digital SiriCity!) which means the Smart City can offer tax breaks to companies that downsize their offices. Today a huge chuck of a cities tax revenue is the downtown and suburban offices. If that is no longer the single largest revenue source you can offer tax breaks to companies that reduce their office footprints. Less office space means greater space for homes and small farms!

That in a nutshell is the why of Smart Cities having so much. I agree that the risk of Smart Cities having access to and control of a device on your home network and cellular phone poses a risk. Again in my book the Syncverse I proposed an NGO that would manage the Syncverse. I suspect the NGO would probably have to manage those security devices as well. Funded by the Smart City and National Governments but operating outside the control of either. Some countries will control the devices at the national level, but in the end they control access to and use of the internet today, anyway.


Smart City dreamer….

#mysmart city–the virtual reality city assistant.

There is a vibrancy, if that is a word, when you look at a city from above. Smart Cities as they emerge will offer more than just a view. Think about what is possible in the future for smart city. Reduced waste, solar power systems on the roofs of the buildings (or solar windows on the top floors). Buildings that produce little to no Co2.

A friend asked me a year ago or so, what did I see as the market for VR. Well the easy answer was gaming. The interesting answer was as an integrated visual security system allowing the human eye to see and determine threats. But the the even more intriguing answer is the virtual city. Taking the concept of the City Broker and making it real, in the virtual world. An interactive catalog of services available for citizens to consume.

Do Smart Cities make smarter citizens? To a degree yes they will, people won’t waste as much time waiting for services. The garbage collection team can text you and say we didn’t pick up your garbage because it was all over your lawn. The pothole in front of your house or on your way to work will be fixed on x day. I wrote a number of city government and state government concepts in my book The Syncverse. In that book I talked a lot about services that could and would change how people interact.

VR offers cities, regional and national governments the opportunity to interact with citizens even more. An interactive city persona like Siri, Cortana or the Google system for City Services. Imagine connecting with your city broker on a Monday. You wander over to the City Broker Market and you buy 10 pencils. Then you wander over to the traffic map that is part of the city broker to see what traffic looks like. Finally you head to City Advisor, a section of the broker that has a voice and VR interface.

What are you trying to do? The voice asks you. The image is whatever you are comfortable with, you have selected the avatar of your city broker.

I am trying to pay my city sales tax. You answer.

Ok, the voice says, and waving its virtual arm opens a web page where you can enter the information to pay your city sales tax.

Virtual assistants will abound. You will have one for your City Broker, you will have one in your home and you will have one in your car. Now my dog tells me that you will never have a virtual dog. Because virtual dogs can’t remind you that you need to connect and pet someone everyone in awhile. But the rest of your assistants will rapidly become interactive VR assistants.


Wearing sunglasses because the Future City world is so bright!