Tag Archives: Smart Cities

Intel at Connected Liverpool

Last Friday was a most interesting day for the Connected Liverpool Team. It was delighted to welcome Ajit Jaokar, CEO futuretext, and Sandhiprakash (Sandhi) Bhide, Senior Strategist and Technologist at Intel (Oregon), in Liverpool to spend the day meeting Smart City developers.

The main goal for Sandhi was to get an understanding of Liverpool’s most challenging issues and to learn from the city’s initiatives to make the city smarter and better connected. To do so, Connected Liverpool had arranged for him to meet several thought leaders in the city who are all using their strengths and sharpening their focus to revitalise the Liverpool City Region.

At 9 a.m., we started our first meeting with Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Millar at the Town Hall where also Professor Alan Harding, Head Department of Public Policy University of Liverpool, joined us. After a most interesting guided tour through the Town Hall provided by Garry Millar, coffee and tea was served and the conversation around ‘Smart’ Liverpool was opened.

After the Town Hall, we visited Liverpool Vision – the city’s economic development company – where we first met up with Lisa Ashby, Business Growth Manager at Liverpool Vision, Rajinder Basi from The Vault, and Leslie Beattie, Head of Commercial and Visitor Economy at Liverpool City Council. Meeting these people was most important for Sandhi to get an understanding of the city’s Business and Visitor Economy developments and plans for the upcoming years. The use and storage of data was a regular returning topic as well.

At 11.30 a.m., Connected Liverpool, Ajit Jaokar, Sandhi and Professor Alan Harding met Max Steinberg OBE, Chief Executive Liverpool Vision – in his office in the Liverpool Vision building. Max Steinberg explained Liverpool’s impressive plans to attract more investment, create jobs and drive the economy with such projects as the International Festival of Business, the Wirral International Trade Centre, and Mersey Waters. Additionally, a great amount of time was spent to discuss Liverpool’s steps forward to become a smarter city. Topics such as enhancing the quality of life and empowering citizens to achieve more in collaboration with partners outside the Liverpool City Region were high on the agenda.

At 12.15 p.m., lunch was served in the Royal Liver Building in the beautiful space “The Light” of Rights and Humanity. In the good company of Professor Julia Hausermann MBE, we enjoyed a lovely meal to close a successful and most interesting morning.

Straight after lunch, we visited Mike Taylor, Smart City Board and Director of High Growth at the LEP, in the Local Enterprise Partnership office next to the Mersey. Mike Taylor informed Sandhi about the LEP’s agenda regarding the key growth sectors of the Knowledge Economy, Visitor Economy, Low Carbon and the SuperPort to accelerate the rate of growth within the Liverpool City Region. A most informative and detailed talk which shows how ambitious this organisation is.

Meeting Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Built Environment Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute, was scheduled at 2 p.m. This was a most interesting meeting, the professor showed us his sensor laboratory and demonstrated some of his cutting edge work with sensors and microchips. Sandhi was most impressed with his work and we are looking forward to meet Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a again soon.

Our last meeting was at the University of Liverpool where we met up with Professor Yi Huang and Doctor Yaochun Shen of the Electrical Engineering Department. As Connected Liverpool is closely collaborating with this and other departments within the University of Liverpool, this was a perfect final visit of the day.

All together, a most interesting day with interesting people. We truly hope that Sandhi from Intel got a better understanding of the community spirit in Liverpool to transform the city into a smarter and better-connected place. We also like to thank Ajit Jaokar for his work in making this possible. It was a pleasure to have you with us again Ajit!



Connected Liverpool in London

Yesterday was another inspiring day at the Connected Liverpool office. CEO Lee Omar and Innovation Lead Jordy van Kuijk traveled to London to meet up with CTO Paul McGrath and the well respected Ajit Jaokar, Director/Principal – futuretext, in London. The Connected Liverpool team was reunited.

After an excellent meeting at the top floor of The Gherkin, the Connected Liverpool team traveled to the Royal Mint Court, the home of Liverpool’s Business Hub in London. The Royal Mint Court is situated opposite the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London and is just a few minutes walk to Liverpool Street Station, an amazing location. Connected Liverpool used the Business Hub’s meeting room facilities to brainstorm and strengthen its strategy to transform Liverpool into the first Smart City in the UK allowing it to sharpen its focus to create one coherent cross-departmental strategy. It was a fruitful brainstorm session full of innovative ideas and thoughts.

At 6 p.m. sharp, the Connected Liverpool team had a meeting with Max Steinberg, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, to discuss the journey of making the Liverpool City Region (1.5 million citizens) smarter and better-connected. Meeting Max Steinberg was essential to ensure that Connected Liverpool is heading in the right direction to realise its vision of increasing the quality of life of the Liverpool City Region residents, to empower them to achieve more, and to revitalise the city region economy. Global smart city best practices and initiatives were discussed while considering the aims and objectives as set out in The City Deal and The Mayoral Development Corporation. Additionally, significant attention was paid to the collaboration between the public and private sector in Liverpool and the way Connected Liverpool should be taken forward.

At 7 p.m., Connected Liverpool joined the London Autumn Business Club event which was chaired by Chris Heyes, Head of Liverpool in London. With key note speaker Max Steinberg and networking afterwards, it was an exciting event with entrepreneurs and the public sector both active in Liverpool and London hosted in The Heron Tower.

All together, it was an excellent day full of ideas and thrilling meetings with the right people. Connected Liverpool took the excitement back to Liverpool with only one aim:





Barcelona: SmartCity Centre of Excellence in the 22@ district

The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, has signed an agreement with the Chairman of Schneider Electric España, Julio Rodríguez Izquierdo, to create the first SmartCity Centre of Excellence in the 22@ district.

With this initiative, the Council aims to turn Barcelona into a world smart city benchmark, boasting applications for smart mobility, energy-efficiency enhancement (managing water, distribution networks and buildings) and citizen relations with the authorities.

Rodríguez Izquierdo accordingly explained that his company and the City Council would be co-developing a smart-mobility plan for Barcelona.

“For some time now the Council has been at the forefront of this Smart City commitment, a concept that will raise the level of well-being for people”, explained Trias.

For his part, the Deputy Mayor for Urban Habitat, Antoni Vives, explained that the agreement would be creating “a future prospect for the good of the city’s future”.

The centre will operate as a technology knowledge and development cluster, focused on smart city management. One of its main objectives will be to promote a collaboration framework with university centres, institutions and businesses, to launch research lines and encourage the incorporation of highly qualified university staff. Therefore, there will be subsidised programmes and exchanges promoting specialist training.

The agreement also commits both sides to the joint promotion of the City Protocol initiative, a global city-model standard that will allow varying levels of excellence to be assessed.

We from Connected Liverpool are very impressed with this initiative. It proves how    forward-thinking Barcelona really is. We’ll keep you informed….

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!!


Smarter Cities Challenge

Back in 2010, IBM launched the Smarter Cities Challenge to help 100 cities over a three-year period to face their most critical challenges. The company decided to do so by awarding $50 million worth of services, technology and knowledge provided by the company itself.

Even though the idea is that cities have to be prepared to match IBM’s investment with their own time and resources, the company launched the program to assist cities as it found that cities are most often struggling with the following issues:

  • Do more with less
  • Bridge silos in information and operations
  • Use civic engagement to drive better results
  • Invest in infrastructure for better management

Cities can apply for this challenge by uploading a fillable PDF form which can be uploaded to the Smarter Cities Challenge website. Additionally, each city is obliged to submit a brief letter from the city mayor or equivalent executive officer of the municipal government, confirming the validity of the application.

The PDF application form is provided on the website and is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese (Simplified) and Japanese and requires cities such things as:

  • to clearly outline a problem or opportunity to explore rather than a solution to be implemented
  • to provide evidence that the proposal is connected to the top priorities and challenges of city and community leadership
  • to emphasise efforts to address cross-system or services challenges, to align with the notion that cities are composed of systems of systems.

Each city participating in the challenge receives a team of 5-6 IBM experts to work with the city for a three-week period on a strategic challenge identified by the mayor and top city leaders. During this period, the experts meet with dozens of stakeholders in government, business, non-profit and other organizations to examine the city as a ‘system of systems’ and to come up with potential solutions.

The 2012 recipients in Europe were Birmingham, Dortmund, Siracusa and Málaga. The Smarter Cities Challenge 2013 application cycle opened in late June and will close on 7 September 2012. Cities: make sure you’re part of it!!