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Outlining Blueprints for the ‘Digital City’ of the Future

What does the future hold for our cities?

Previous centuries saw industrial infrastructure (such as rail, highways, and telephone lines) paving the way for new cities – and for a host of new connections. Now, change is being driven by a global “network of networks” that is making it possible for everything to become connected to everything else. In 2001, about 300 million devices—computers, cell phones, PDAs—were connected. By 2010, this web of invisible connections had expanded to include everything from cars and lights to buildings and security cameras. Read More »

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2011 – Not the End, Not the Beginning of the End, but the End of the Beginning….

December 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm PST

One of Winston Churchill’s most memorable war speeches came on 10 November 1942 at the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon at Mansion House in London, in response to the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. Churchill stated:

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

My father was always proud that he had taken part in the first battle that changed the tide of World War II. He was 19 years old at time and had been on active duty for only 10 days! He was particularly proud that Churchill had said: “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat.”

Well, the point of all this is to blow the trumpet for this Manufacturing Industry Blog from Cisco and your group of Industry Gurus. With only a few bloggers and blogging for only a year or so, we managed to achieve several notable awards:

  • I, Peter Granger, was proud to accept the “Best Newcomer Blog Award” on behalf of the team – we managed to get folks to stay on our blog longer than any other Cisco blog! A real achievement for the team!
  • Andrew Lach, our Blog Admin Manager managed to top the charts of prolific bloggers two months in a row, and became a featured blogger several times.
  • The rest of the team, Mark Wylie, Kevin Davenport and Paul Didier, continued to impress the Industry with their thought Leadership.

So, what of the future? Read More »

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The Misalignment Between The Economic Success of Local Government and Their Residents

As you can see from some of the other posts here, at the request of the US Conference of Mayors, I’ve been focusing on an economic development strategy that will work in the future.  As a result of that work, I’ve been presenting my ideas in many places and before many audiences, generally including mayors or other senior officials of local government.

Without going into the whole line of reasoning, I discuss the combined effects of (1) a future with ubiquitous high quality communications and (2) the shift of the labor force to providing ideas and other intangible services.  One implication of these trends is the disaggregation of the monolithic big company that would concentrate jobs in a city and, as an alternative, the empowerment of fluid teams of individuals.

To drive the point home, I argue that the true measure of the economic success of a city is the sum (or the median?) of the income and wealth of its residents — and not the total sales of companies that might have a local postal address there. Read More »

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An Historic Look into the Future

Earlier this week I came across a great bit of history, thanks to All Things Digital. It was a look back at an AT&T campaign from 1993, featuring a remarkable voiceover by Tom Selleck. What made it so remarkable was that Selleck was positing about futuristic capabilities that in the past 18 years have all come to be—thanks to the power of innovation.

If you haven’t seen the spots, here’s a list of the rundowns of “Have you ever?…” that were included in the campaign.

  1. …Borrowed a book from a thousand miles away
  2. …Crossed the country without stopping for directions
  3. …Sent someone a fax from the beach
  4. …Paid a toll, without slowing down
  5. …Bought a concert ticket from a cash machine
  6. …Tucked your baby in from a phone booth
  7. …Opened doors with the sound of your voice
  8. …Carried your medical history in your wallet
  9. …Attended a meeting in your bare feet
  10. …Watched the movie you wanted to, the minute you wanted to
  11. …Learned special things from faraway places

What struck me about these predictions is that Cisco has really been at the forefront of delivering this stuff. And with AT&T as a valued partner, we’ve nailed what began as pure imagination—not a bad track record from 1993 to 2011.

Read More »

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Virtual vs. Physical Interactions

In response to my post of the Chattanooga editorial, someone wrote to me that he thought that virtual communications would make physical interaction even more important.  I won’t go into the whole argument here, but note that this is more sophisticated than the simple comparison of virtual vs. physical interactions that many people have made.

Nevertheless, I did think that it deserved a response and here it is:

I think the Internet in its current form (texting, email, social media, etc.) is still an immature form of communications.  So the crux of the matter is not so much whether the current Internet will change how people interact, but how the ubiquitous video communications of the future will affect behavior. Read More »

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