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.

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#mysmartcity

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.

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#mysmartcity

(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!

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Futurist

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.

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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.

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Wearing sunglasses because the Future City world is so bright!

From Inquiry to OODA building a framework for Smart Cities…

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As a child I grew up with the model on the left. Ask my dad a question and most likely you would get an answer on this spectrum. This is ingrained in how I think. I actually used this model as a teacher when teaching everything. Not just science but reading, math and history. My rationale was that this was how you began to understand the world around you. My father invented this model and well he taught it to me for many years.

As I progressed through my IT career I came back to this model over and over. It just fits, when you are trouble shooting problem son a network this works. Observe, come up with explanations, predict possible new outcomes and then confirm that you were right. I used this as a helpdesk professionals and I use this as a software architect. It is the underlying model of how you can interact with a customer to determine their overall requirements for project.

I love hearing how smart people think. That is why as I moved through my career I have modified my father’s original thinking. However recently I have actually adopted the OODA loop. It is both a model and framework to base and build decisions. The Inquiry model fits nicely into the observation and orientation components of the OODA loop.

This plays well with my personal modification based on Bill Gates “right information, right time to make the right decision.” It also fits nicely with the model I grew up with (Inquiry). Its why I have dived deeply into what Mr. Boyd produced.

As a long time KM and Learning person I found this diagram intriguing. This takes the OODA loop and applies it to building a KM infrastructure. In my book Transitional Services I talked about the concept of building a KM system called the DLM (or Document Lifecycle Management copyrighted Scott Andersen). in DLM you use SME’s to move information form the napkin to reusable IP. But this also works for the broader implementation of a learning system that encompasses the what and how of learning styles.

Where the observation module allows the good instructor to quickly ascertain the learning styles in the room. Adults are very set in their learning styles. Based on that you have to consider not only the impact of the learning styles, but also the style sin the room. Where with children you don’t always sues humor, with adults humor is critical.

So over the next few days I am working to apply these models to Smart Cities. With the broad sweeping brush of generality at first but hopefully slowly peeling the onion to the actual potential application of the overall problems.

Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and the Internet of Things will drive the Smart Cities of tomorrow. Personally I think the rise of City Brokers would actually speed up the process radically. Given the ability to provide a Framework both for implementation, integration and management of remote CPS devices, the City Broker may be the answer.

More to come!

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Smart City #mysmartcity

A sense of pride #mysmartcity

Good morning and welcome to the smart city show. The show where you bring your problems to the city and we solve them. That’s right just tell your city what is wrong and we will make it right.

Sure, a joke and making fun of all the self-help books and self-help shows that are around but you get the point. The interesting outcome of Smart Cities isn’t the improved bus routes and reduced cost of maintaining a city. Its what is possible beyond that initial change.

It isn’t even my proposed City Broker and City Broker Marketplace. Or beyond that the broader CPS market place within the City Broker. Its automation of services that is going to change the world. #mysmartcity where your city offers a vast percentage of services directly online. No more trips to the BMV (or DMV etc.) where you spend hours in line. You go once when you are 18 to take your drivers test and never again.

#mysmartcity becomes not just a hash tag but a mark of pride. My city offers me services that are of value to me. Automation reduces complexity (as long as you document the automation process). It also reduces cost (it takes a person long to evaluate data). Not that I am advocating the automation of human services. For those city services that DIRECTLY impact people we have to be careful in how those are automated if at all.

Automation just to automate isn’t the goal here. Fixing lines is the goal. There are things that require humans be involved. Decisions about children, medical and other personal things require human intervention. But wouldn’t it be nice if those areas had lots of people. If we could automate those things that really don’t need people and then have more staff for those that do. Teachers at 20 students to 1 teacher can be effective. Teachers at 10 students to 1 teacher can be superb.

In my book the Syncverse (available on Amazon) I talked about the value of a system that allowed people to share. I had one for Cities and one for Education. In both cases there was so much data and information that could be shared across the world that it would be a huge boon to cities and schools everywhere. Imagine introducing Astronomy to 7th graders with a series of lectures by Neil Tyson Degrasse. Or, had we captured them, starting off a Relativity portion of a physics class with a series of lectures by Einstein. It frees the teacher to help those that don’t understand. That would increase both the understanding of the students and the ability of the teacher to help those that don’t get it the first time.

#mysmartcity expands to #mysmartschools and #mysmartkids. City services offered via the City Broker. Incubation and growth services offered to small and startup businesses. A growing ecology of innovation draws larger companies because there is a pool of innovative thinking. More than 50% of the world’s population are going to live in cities. #mysmartcity gives every single city in world a way to build a growth market in their city.

Smart Cities can be so much more. Eventually #mysmartcity will become #mysmartcitizens.

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#Mysmartcity