Tag Archives: Smart city initiative

IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center

Today we are reviewing IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center (IOC) which is, according to IBM, specifically designed to create Smarter Cities.

With raising populations, ageing infrastructures and shrinking tax revenues today’s cities demand more than traditional solutions. In IBM’s words, “Innovation is at the heart of a smarter city which is what provided this Intelligent Operations Center.” The IOC is designed to provide cities with the ability to apply insight and global best practices from 2000 smart projects worldwide to meet unique challenges. The result is exceptional citizen services and an increase quality of life enabled by shared information across agencies/ departments anticipating problems to minimize disruptions, and coordinating resources allowing rapid response to unexpected circumstances.

The IOC helps cities of all sizes to better manage and monitor the following services:

  • Emergency response
  • Energy optimisation
  • Public safety
  • Transport
  • Water

To give an example of one of the services that the Intelligent Operations Center provides, we will consider the transport/ congestion feature of the system. The congestion feature aims to relieve disruptions in traffic and to predict traffic conditions based on real-time traffic conditions and predictive volume along the routes of a city.

  It will assist motorists on their travels with real-time traffic delay avoidance, a feature that maps the best route based on real-time traffic conditions. The system calculates ‘what-if’ scenarios to allow predictive analytics and smart decision making. To make the IOC work efficiently, a City Traffic Manager is to be appointed in each city to keep traffic running smoothly. As the image above shows, he or she is responsible to spot traffic disruptions and to initiate the smart calculations made by the IOC.

In case of an accident, the citizen will receive 3 alternative routes through his or her smartphone. At least one of the alternative routes includes public transport, guiding motorists to the nearest train/ subway station with available parking while showing fare and schedule information. Similar smart applications are provided for the other services that are listed above.

The Intelligent Operations System provides cities with an accessible tool to monitor and manage various services that contribute to making the city smarter and through that, more efficient.

According to us, systems like IBM’s IOS are vital to make a city function better.


Qualcomm Halo – The New Angel of EV Charging?

Qualcomm – changing the way we think about electric vehicles?

Electric cars and hybrids are fast becoming a normal and popular choice of transport for many ethically-minded people across the UK and rest of the world. As this demand is increasing, so too is the pressure to keep up with the technologies necessary to facilitate the battery charging that these vehicles require. Currently, the only charging facilities available are Electric Vehicle (EV) charger points, where the owner has to physically ‘plug in’ their car to an electricity supply. This obviously has its inconveniences, and there are a number of companies seeking to change this problem.

With regards to the UK, Qualcomm Inc. – a Californian company – appear to be taking the lead in this domain. They have created a partnership with various businesses including Renault, Addison Lee (the UK’s best know and largest minicab business), Delta Motorsport and Chargemaster (who are a provider of EV charging implementation) for a field trial of wireless electric car charging.

Qualcomm plan to use their Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology, named ‘Halo,’ on Renault vehicles as part of an upcoming trial in London. Halo makes use of inductive charging via a transmitting pad located on the ground and a receiving pad placed on the underside of the chosen vehicle. Halo’s technology has been based on two decades worth of research from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Mark Klerer, Senior Director of Technology at Qualcomm, considers the technology developed by his company as a major selling point for the EV industry, as currently the major off-putting factor and reason for lack of adoption for consumers is the hassle of having to manually plug cars in. He’s not the only one who thinks this – numerous scientists believe that this type of wireless charging could be implemented into roads in the future.

So while the charging in this trial will take place while the car is parked up, the on-board technology is apparently suitable for in-motion charging if the facility was to be available. This would mean vehicles charging themselves as they were being driven, and that could be very big game-changer indeed.

Connected Liverpool at Ovum Smart Cities Europe Conference 2012

Connected Liverpool was proud to contribute to the Ovum Smart Cities Europe Conference 2012 which was held in London last week. Jordy van Kuijk of our Innovation Lead, Connected Liverpool, spoke at a panel discussion about “Who Invests and Who Benefits from New Digital City Services?” under the umbrella of creating New Business Opportunities in Digital Cities within the Smart City industry.

The panel discussion was led by Don Strickland, President and CEO at Strickland & Associates and former President & CEO at iPIX, former Vice President at Apple Computer and former Vice President at Eastman Kodak. Besides Don Strickland, the following panelists joined the panel discussion:

  • Gianni Carbonaro, Head of the Municipal and Regional Unit, European Investment Bank
  • Allan Mayo, Head, Business Services Policy Unit, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Kai Hendry, Managing Director at Webconverger
  • Jordy van Kuijk, Innovation Lead, Connected Liverpool

Each panelist was given the opportunity to introduce himself and highlight his interest in the Smart City industry to continue the discussion around the main topic of Who Invests and Who Benefits from New Digital City Services?. We have asked Jordy to comment shortly on his experience within the panel.

“It was interesting to be on a panel with such inspiring figures that speak the same language and have aligned objectives to empower citizens and businesses to make use of the many commercial opportunities that the Smart City industry has to offer.

I was asked to share my vision on how technology can lead to new business opportunities within the digital city framework and specifically clarified the opportunities that are provided to us through mobile technology. Currently, with a world population of 7 billion, there are 5.9 billion mobile phones worldwide compared to the 2 billion internet users, the 1.2 billion personal computers and the 1.7 billion televisions. 16% of those 5.9 billion mobile phones are smartphones, which is predicted to grow to 1 billion smartphones by 2013. On average, people look at their phone 150 times a day (every 6 minutes) and even though not everyone can afford a smartphone, it is expected that the average price will decline from $600 (2011) to $10 dollar in 2020 as production costs will decline drastically.

Currently, 11% of the Americans are already using their smartphone to make their payments through mobile banking and contemporary technology such as NFC, RFID and Augmented Reality are given new dimensions all over the world. Through this, more and more businesses will be stimulated to start operating in this mobile technology space to develop smart applications/ mobile software that can increase people’s quality of life and assist them in their daily activities. The NFC reader that allows people in Stockholm to check-into their hotel rooms without any human contact and allows students at the Arizona State University to enter their dorms and rooms is an example of such a smart application enabled by mobile technology. This opened up a completely new market which will experience significant grow in the upcoming years providing SME’s with plenty of commercial opportunities. As this smart mobile technology will also be taxable, it also opens up a new income stream for the government. It is an exciting space to be in and I would advise any mobile technology entrepreneur to get involved”

One of the topics that was raised by the audience was the difficulty for entrepreneurs to acquire public capital to develop IT prototypes and market their innovative products and services. Entrepreneurs seem to struggle to finding public funding and even though the TSB and other public bodies are offering opportunities for funding, this is often poorly communicated with entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the aspect of ‘Trust’ was emphasized. As we are shifting towards a new era of opening up data and making government data more transparent, citizens are worrying about their privacy. Making public data available will create an important resource for SME’s as it will motivate them to make use of this data for commercial purposes. Nevertheless, clear standards of data usage will have to be established to ensure people’s privacy is guaranteed.

Overall, we were proud to be part of this exciting conference which was perfectly aligned with our own vision within Connected Liverpool. We’ll keep you posted about any new developments that will help us to build a smarter Liverpool City Region!










World Smart Capital

The vision of the World Smart Capital concept is to identify and share successful urban innovations across cities worldwide while demonstrating how governments, industries, educational institutions and citizens are working individually and together to revitalize and invent their urban environment with help from urban Technologies, ICT and smart systems.

The World Smart Capital initiative wants to promote and encourage the use of technologies to further the economic and social development of the world’s cities. But they also help cities better position themselves, give them a better image and increased visibility, attract investors and creative people, improve their quality of life and set up public-private partnerships.

So some of their objectives are:

  • To increase awareness for and access to the modern sustainable solutions for cities both in the western world and the developing countries.
  • To educate city officials, managers and planners in urban development knowledge and to promote future governance structures of urban areas.
  • To help cities involve their citizens regarding urban development as part of a creative and practical collaboration.

World Smart Capital AmsterdamThe Amsterdam Metropolitan Area is the pilot city to develop the World Smart Capital concept for the years 2012 and 2013. They will do its utmost to execute the implementation of a two year long programme of projects and events to contribute to the development of the World Smart Capital concept. This is why they host the WSC Framing events and other various activities and events in Amsterdam.

The WSC International Summit and Convention is an international gathering that brings together hundreds of representatives of cities, universities, educational institutions, research institutions, corporations, local and regional government. It is held from Monday 25 June – Tuesday 26 June 2012 in ‘Pakhuis De Zwijger’ in Amsterdam and participation is invitation-only, based on the submission of an entry form.

More info on the World Smart Capital initiative and the WSC International Summit and Convention can be found on their website. http://www.worldsmartcapital.net/