Tag Archives: Quality of life

Smart Lightbulb

Imagine a smart eco-friendly LED powered bulb that has a tiny electronic brain and some awareness of what’s going on around it. It is clever enough that if you put it in a bedside lamp it could detect that you have woken up and heading for a midnight toilet visit, it knows the time, so it turns on dimly to not hurt your eyes. It could flash an urgent amber to remind you that your pizza had enough time in the oven and most importantly, it can connect to other objects over Wi-Fi.

These smart lights could automatically fade on and off to save energy as your home’s occupants amble from room to room. They could alert you when you’ve got new emails, triggered by signals coming from your PC or tablet, or help you find a mislaid smartphone by detecting its Wi-Fi signature and then steering you to the room where you have left it. This is really useful, this is smart.

By being smart, the traditional lightbulb is transformed into a helpful and interactive Internet of Things device. Its smart powers may contribute to your relaxation, health or happiness, as lighting effects your mood.

This technology is arriving as we speak because multiple developments have happened all at once. Coloured LED lighting is now powerful, reliable and low priced enough to be built into consumer electronic devices and sold cheaply in bulk. Tiny low-processor chips, like those by ARM, and their ancillary circuits are powerful and ubiquitous thanks to innovations in smartphone design. Moreover, wireless radio systems like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are ubiquitous, tiny, cheap, and economical enough to be built into devices like a lightbulb. This technology creates the ability to transform everyday objects into smart and magical items.

The technology could even go into your home’s irrigation system. Imagine a lawn that knows when it needs a sprinkle by detecting the dryness of the grass or a flowerbed that knows it needs water by detecting the soil dryness. This system will then be smart, and will not waste water. Smart lightbulbs could also be used for security systems by placing sensors in the bulbs that detect intruders, and report in real-time.

To conclude, the smart lightbulb could perform all kinds of functionalities to increase our quality of life and assist us in our daily lives. We are keen to follow the next exciting developments for this ‘smart bulb’.

 

 

 

Smart City Wien

Even though we are very much aware of ‘Smart City Benchmarks’ around the world such as in the US and in Asia, the city Vienna which is just around the corner manages to keep its presence in the Top-5 of most Smart Cities around the globe. With its 1.7 million inhabitants, the Austrian capital Vienna is one of the best examples of urban quality of life in the world. Smart City Vienna is a project consortium under the direction of the Vienna city administration.

The main goal of the Vienna city administration seems to be focused around energy. Smart City Vienna formulates Vienna’s energy future as a long-term Smart Energy Vision 2050, Roadmap 2020 and Action Plan 2012-2015.

Vienna is very much focused on stakeholder involvement, relevant stakeholders affected directly by the above mentioned climate/ energy plans are invited to actively participate in the Smart City Forums. The city really seems to have adopted a bottom-up approach. A special steering group was set up to lead the stakeholder progress.

Thomas Madreiter, Project Manager – Municipal Department – Urban Development and Planning, stated the following:

“Vienna meets all the requirements as a smart city to have a leading role in climate-related research and technological development in Europe. With the FIT for SET programme we will launch the necessary measures in order to make the most of our advantages.”

The FIT for SET programme refers to the stakeholder involvement project we mentioned earlier. Smart City Vienna has many different partners such as Siemens AG Österreich, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Vienna University of Technology to realise their agenda of a smarter Vienna.

We are keen to watch their progress in their Smart City adventure, we’ll keep you posted!

 

 



Can We Design Cities for Happiness?

 

“Happiness itself is a commons to which everyone should have equal access.”

This is a quote from Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, who now travels the world spreading a message about how to improve quality-of-life for everyone living in today’s cities.

Peñalosa spends a lot of his time dealing with Third World countries which even with their poverty and immense problems will absorb much of the world’s population growth over the next half-century. Based on his experiences in Bogotá, Peñalosa believes it’s a mistake to give up on these cities as good places to live.

“If we in the Third World measure our success or failure as a society in terms of income, we would have to classify ourselves as losers until the end of time,” declares Peñalosa. “So with our limited resources, we have to invent other ways to measure success. This might mean that all kids have access to sports facilities, libraries, parks, schools, nurseries.”

Peñalosa uses phrases like “quality of life” or “social justice” rather than “commons-based society” to describe his aim of offering poor people first-rate government services and pleasant public places. He himself has an impressive track record during his three years as a mayor of Bogotá. Peñalosa’s Administration accomplished the following:

  • Led a team that created the TransMilenio, a bus rapid transit system (BRT), which now carries a half-million passengers daily on special bus lanes that offer most of the advantages of a subway at a fraction of the cost.
  • Built 52 new schools, refurbished 150 others and increased student enrollment by 34 percent.
  • Established or improved 1200 parks and playgrounds throughout the city.
  • Built three central and 10 neighborhood libraries.
  • Built 100 nurseries for children under five.
  • Improved life in the slums by providing water service to 100 percent of Bogotá households.
  • Bought undeveloped land on the outskirts of the city to prevent real estate speculation and ensured that it will be developed as affordable housing with electrical, sewage, and telephone service as well as space reserved for parks, schools, and greenways.
  • Established 300 kilometers of separated bikeways, the largest network in the developing world.
  • Created the world’s longest pedestrian street, 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) crossing much of the city as well as a 45- kilometer (28 miles) greenway along a path that had been originally slated for an eight-lane highway.
  • Reduced traffic by almost 40 percent by implementing a system where motorists must leave cars at home during rush hour two days a week. He also raised parking fees and local gas taxes, with half of the proceeds going to fund the new bus transit system.
  • Inaugurated an annual car-free day, where everyone from CEOs to janitors commuted to work in some way other than a private automobile.
  • Planted 100,000 trees.

These accomplishments boosted the quality of life for the citizens of a city characterized by vast disparities of wealth. Today, Bogotá is seen as an international benchmark for sustainable innovation, even for cities in the developing world.