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#SmartConnectedCity Series Wrap-up: IoE, Smart+Connected Communities, and the Future of Cities

Imagine what a city could and should look like in several years. What do you see?

  • What will be top of mind for citizens?
  • How will citizens be accessing information and engaging with city agencies?
  • What tools will be needed in this future of cities?

Well, look no further because the city of the future is here today. Insight related to those questions, and many more, is provided by Cisco’s Wim Elfrink in Huffington Post, as he explores innovative concepts for urban sustainability and new possibilities for an improved citizen experience, as well as how the Internet of Everything (IoE) can help enrich people’s lives.     Read the full article via Huffington Post, published today.

IoE, the Smart+Connected Communities Framework, and the Impact on the Public Sector

Throughout the New Cities Summit, as well as throughout our #SmartConnectedCity blog series, we took a look at how IoE and technology are helping to re-define cities by providing a framework for city and local government leaders to improve agency agility and performance, to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs, and to enhance on-demand citizen services. Below, for additional insight, Anil Menon and Wim Elfrink elaborate on this topic from New Cities Summit last week, as well as kick off a discussion about the subsequent impact on the public sector, which includes expanding access to education and healthcare. 

To see more actual examples showing the impact of technology and IoE on cities and the public sector, click on the image below. Read More »

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#SmartConnectedCity Series: City Infrastructure Management, City Wi-Fi and a Global Urban Services Revolution

Cities have traditionally operated their various agencies—utilities, healthcare, education, public safety, air quality, water and waste management—in silos, creating duplication in investment and limiting effectiveness.

In the face of population shifts and rapid urbanization, cities and local government leaders are realizing that in order to compete economically and grow sustainably, they have to integrate these functions and the data they generate and require.

Developing and maintaining a city’s digital infrastructure is becoming as important as the development and maintenance of its physical infrastructure. Like a fourth utility, the services offered across a digital infrastructure are becoming as essential and ubiquitous as water, electricity or plumbing. Jobs and investment—the lifeblood of the city—will depend on it.

Making this vision a reality requires that the many city vertical systems operate more cohesively, adopting an open data approach to gather and share information across a single über network. Cisco refers to this as Smart+ConnectedCity Infrastucture Management (CIM).

Read More »

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How forward thinking cites are using the Internet of Everything to fix their economies

Chicago was recently announced as the host city for the Internet of Things World Forum this autumn, following Barcelona’s excellent performance as host last autumn. This forum is important because it’s already way more than just another collection of business types in a hotel.

It’s increasingly relevant for cities to want to host this event. Yes, the conference revenue is useful, but more than that it is an opportunity to showcase your city as forward thinking. Barcelona as host was a great example.

It’s fair to say that despite recent optimism, the world, and especially Western Europe and North America, is still recovering from the financial earthquakes of five years ago. Government deficit is everywhere. The response to the crisis in most western economies has been a series of austerity programmes, with social and other services being cut whilst taxes slowly rise. Everybody has been feeling the pain. Spain was one of the hardest-hit European economies. In Spain, youth unemployment exceeded 50%, with serious concerns in some parts of the country about the potential for social order breakdown. Read More »

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A Day in the Life of the ecobee Smart Thermostat Part 2

In a previous article I talked about my thermostat and the Internet of Everything [read here] I questioned the true value my smart meter was providing to my home and my wallet. I said what’s missing is a thermostat that helps me understand my energy consumption habits, allows me to stay within budget (and save money!) and eventually take advance of spot prices on energy. Wouldn’t that be cool?!

The good news is that there are products on the market today that are heading in the right direction. Nest, recently acquired by Google for $3.2 billion [read here], offers a “learning thermostat” which Bill MacGowen wrote about earlier in his post: My home thermostat and the Internet of Everything” [read here].

The Nest acquisition is a big deal and there’s already discussions starting to surface on what Google plans to do with the data they will gather from Nest devices. Why is Google getting into the energy management and HVAC market? What will they do with the data? Will there be ads showing up on my Google thermostat? This led me to wonder who else was in this market space? Are there any alternatives to Nest? Of course there are but they’ve been overshadowed by Nest because of the origins of it’s founder (Apple) and Google’s recent purchase.

One of them is ecobee, a Canadian company. While they may not be a household name (yet) they’ve been around since 2007 plugging away and growing their business organically. I reached out to ecobee because I wanted to learn more about the company, it’s founder and his thoughts on where he sees the future heading for IoT/IoE.

Below is part two of my email conversation with the founder and CEO of ecobee, Stuart Lombard. Click here to read part one of the interview.

ecobee logo

In 2013, you opened your API allowing others to integrate with ecobee smart thermostats. Can you explain what this means for advancing IoT and what success looks like so far?
There is a lot of innovation around IoT right now. At ecobee, we want to give our customers the opportunity to experience all of it. But we know we can’t build it all. So we’ve opened our APIs to allow others to integrate with us so we can deliver more value to our customers, and our customers can choose the solutions they want. Currently, we have hundreds of companies – like SmartThings and revolv – building applications around our platform. We’re excited to see where our open API will take our technology. Read More »

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Summary: The Extended Network Requires Security That’s the Same, Only Different

Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) networks have historically been completely separate, with users of each living in blissful isolation. But the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing all of that! In the IoT paradigm, IT and OT professionals will need to work together to drive pervasive security across the extended network. The same security tools will need to be applied consistently across the extended network, but with differentiated policy enforcement to account for differences between the two environments.

Read the full blog post to learn more.

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