Tag Archives: ICT

TelecomTV at Connected Liverpool

Today was a very exciting day for Connected Liverpool. This morning at 9 a.m. sharp, CEO Lee Omar and Innovation Lead Jordy van Kuijk met up for breakfast with a strongly motivated two headed team from TelecomTV.

One of them, Guy Daniels, explained their ambition to showcase how ICT can offer practical solutions to vertical sectors and communities, through text, photos and video and that they are keen to track the progress of a community-based service, from first steps through to full roll-out. Connected Liverpool perfectly matches this criteria providing all that was necessary to arrange an informal catchup in Liverpool this morning.

After breakfast, both our CEO and Innovation Lead were interviewed and filmed to comment on Connected Liverpool’s strong aspirations to transform Liverpool into the UK’s first Smart City.

Innovation Lead Jordy van Kuijk was interviewed first at our studio in the Baltic Triangle and was asked such questions as: “What is a smart city?”, “What is a city operating platform?”, “Why does Liverpool have to become smarter within the eight areas of the Visitor Economy, the Knowledge Economy, Low Carbon, Employment – Skills & Entrepreneurship, Health & Wellbeing, Housing and Neighbourhoods, SuperPort and Transport?”, and “How will smart applications, the Internet of Things and the Machine to Machine market contribute to this?”.

CEO Lee Omar was interviewed and filmed in “The Light” at the Royal Liver Building, one of the Rights and Humanity conference rooms. Lee commented on his aspirations to provide better citizen services to the Liverpool City Region residents and to provide equal opportunities to all communities within the region. Additionally he explained: “At this point we are halfway our consultation phase meaning we are speaking to as many stakeholders as possible in the various areas. At this point I couldn’t tell you where we will be within 4 months from now, but I can tell you that I aim to create one coherent cross-departmental strategy that suits us all and enables us to revitalise our city region.”

After the interviews, the TelecomTV team took off to take some nice shots of the City Region including pictures of L1 and the Albert Docks.

We’ll keep you informed!!


Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC)

One of the greatest challenges facing the EU in the future will be that cities have to start adapting to smart intelligent and sustainable environments. That’s why the European Commission launched a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC). The main reasons why the Commission launched the SCC is to gather resources from energy, transport and the IT sector and they also want to boost the development of smart technologies in cities. They’ve set aside €365 million in EU funds for these types of urban technology solutions for 2013.

Cities have to grow into Smart Cities and they have to start developing and using innovative smart technologies. But cities face limitation in the development of these technologies due to high technological risks, difficulties over certain returns on investments or regulatory difficulties.

Günther Oettinger, Energy Commissioner, pointed out that innovations are needed in Europe to drive competitiveness and he said that innovation is the best means of addressing energy efficiency. The new technologies, like high efficiency heating and cooling systems, smart metering, real-time energy management and zero-energy buildings, that already exist need to be spread more among all the European cities and the SCC will help with this.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, added that European cities suffer a lot from road accidents, poor air quality and noise. He said it’s important to work towards CO2 free cities and to get there, more advanced research and innovation is needed. And Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President responsible for digital agenda, added that cities need to rethink how to reduce congestion and increase energy efficiency in the urban environment. He said it’s the ICT that puts the “smart” in Smart Cities and this challenges other industries.

Some of the major challenges that the SCC will tackle are for example the congestion. Nearly 75% of European citizens live in cities and they consumer about 70% of EU’s energy, this costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year. So the smart urban technologies need to tackle challenges like this.

Breaking Out of the Silo

There has been talk of changing the way we live in order to benefit both the planet and each other for many years. Countless schemes have been created to reduce carbon emissions, increase solar energy, encourage the use of public transportation, increase child safety and boost quality of life for all. But these schemes have all been run independent of each other, the so-called silo structure. However, it’s fast becoming clear that this method simply does not work. The Smart Cities venture combines all of these aspects, with the overall aim of using technology to improve life. However, ICT analyst Ovum suggests that the move to smarter, ICT literate cities is slower than we would have hoped.

“While most of us live in cities, moves to integrate the technologies that link us all, to create a better standard of living, are being stymied by a lack of resources and poor planning.”

While suppliers have been able to develop technology to aid with almost any aspect of life, from crime to traffic, the implementation stage may be what causes the most difficulty. While the physical aspect of putting into place the hardware, such as sensors, that is needed may be a time consuming process, it is the changing of people’s minds and behavior patterns that is set to cause the most difficulty.

The Smart City initiative needs to find a way to foster collective action to improve social interactions. This is just one of the topics to be discussed during the Smart Cities Europe conference due to be hosted early this week.

The UK is getting ready for Smart Cities

The UK is getting ready for Smart Cities. They called in the help of the British Standard Institution (BSI) to help shape the future of Britain’s Smart Cities. Dr Scott Steedman, Director of the British Standards Institution, said that Britain’s cities can decide the pace in exploiting Smart City thinking for the future. The UK already has a vision for the cities of the future and now, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has asked the BSI to carry out a study. This study should formulate a strategy for Smart Cities in the UK and should help realize the future cities.

Cities now are facing increasing pressure on their resources. So there is a need for Smart technologies that can revolutionize the efficiency and sustainability of urban communities. The BSI is therefore looking at how best practiced codes and standards for Smart technologies could bring substantial benefits to services like healthcare, transport, utilities and waste management by integrating data from sensors across the urban environment.

The concept of Smart Cities in the process of urbanization is high on the political agenda of both the UK and other European countries. What makes cities Smart Cities is that they use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and they integrate this with the services that a city delivers.  A good example of Smart technology is that weather information can be combined with traffic sensors to anticipate congestion and keep traffic moving. Or leaks in water networks could be detected automatically.

Dr Steedman also explained that an essential first step in creating Smart Cities is agreeing on how knowledge and standards can set the principles by which a Smart City works and the technology that will drive it forwards. The Smart City concept will only work when infrastructure and service delivery channels support the objectives of city planners across environmental performance, healthcare and promoting sustainable growth. But it’s not just about infrastructure, it’s also about sensing what is about to happen in the urban environment and having systems or people that can take appropriate actions.

So BSI is helping to shape the strategy. But to do that, it needs the input and expertise from governments and local authorities procuring Smart City technologies. They need researchers, regulators and consumer groups who represent those using Smart City developments. And they need manufacturers and service providers who can supply Smart City solutions.

The strategy that BSI is making will identify the needs and concerns of all the stakeholders and it will also explore where standards might facilitate the wider uptake of the Smart Cities concept. So the strategy will look at what cities are trying to achieve, what needs to be in place to help cities provide Smart services and how issues like privacy can be managed.