There have been numerous advancements in city planning methodologies over the last couple of decades — perhaps few were debated as enthusiastically and vigorously as the Smart City model.
2012 is the bicentennial of the War of 1812. You may remember just two things about this period from your high school history class. First, in an act of ignominy for the Americans, the British burned down the capital. Second, the war ended with the resounding defeat of the British by the heroic General Andrew Jackson in January 1815, in what was the war’s only set-piece battle between the opposing sides. Jackson eventually rode this victory into the Presidency.
There is only one problem with this battle. It took place after the war was over. The previous month, in Europe, the two sides had agreed to peace. But in those days, communications was so slow that word of the peace didn’t reach New Orleans until February 1815.
Fast forward, approximately forty-eight years later, to the Civil War. In the period between these two wars, in 1831, Morse thought up the idea for the electronic telegraph. The Union Army had mastered its quick deployment, so that in 1863 while sitting in Washington, President Lincoln could read almost real time reports from the battlefields many miles away.
This was a dramatic increase in the speed of communications. Not all that many decades later, telegraph lines and cables would unite the world. Yet this did not fundamentally change the way people worked or lived or governed themselves.
So consider 2011, when the US Navy Seals got Osama Bin Laden. There was a tweet about helicopters within several minutes, but the author didn’t know why the helicopters were nearby. The first tweet with some confirmation came about forty-five minutes before President Obama made his announcement.
Now think back about forty-eight years before to November 22, 1963 and the assassination of President John Kennedy. The news was out quickly all over television and radio and newspapers. Walter Cronkite famously told the viewers of CBS News that the President had died thirty-eight minutes before.
Unlike the 19th century examples, there was no dramatic speed up in the reporting of these two more recent events separated by roughly forty-eight years. While we may have more sources of information in more places now than in 1963, word doesn’t get out all that much faster. You could argue that the Telegraph had a greater impact on communications than the Internet.
Yet many of us have the feeling that our world has been changed by this communications. Why is that?
I think it has to do with the changing nature of the work we do. In the mid-19th century, more than three quarters of Americans made things or grew food. In 2011, less than a quarter do so and the rest of us provide services — and increasingly intangible services, including ideas, knowledge, entertainment and the like which is delivered digitally. Because better digital communications directly speeds up the delivery of these services, we see the impact more. It’s the increasing availability of high quality communications, in conjunction with these significant socio-economic trends, which will continue to change our lives.
Please share with us how you’ve seen the confluence of these two trends? Reply here and visit the Cisco Public Sector Customer Connection Community.
[picture credit for Battle of New Orleans http://www.frenchcreoles.com/battnozz.jpg]
Hollywood’s once high-tech future fantasies are not far off. Much of the technology depicted in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey is now reality, and smart houses like Eureka’s S.A.R.A.H. might be sooner than we think. But what will we see this year? Here are my top ten best guesses:
1. Old technology being used in a new way
This year will be about going back and using technology we already have in new ways. For instance, the new Ford Escape is reducing wind noise with pre-WWII technology. Many items that showed up at CES like the Nest, used old technology (thermostat) and applied new technology (internet connectivity and new interface) to create a gadget that has flown off the shelves.
2. Internet-capable features dominating the television market
With the popularity of devices like Roku and Apple TV, this will put more pressure on innovation in the world of television manufacturers. The next natural step will be for simplifying the connectivity for smarter and easier connected entertainment.
3. Near instantaneous media streaming
Current “4G” is considerably faster than 3G and is making headway towards the low-bandwidth, high-information capability of ITU’s official 4G standards.
4. Second Screen Experiences- a household term
With our attachment to mobile devices and The Sundance Film Festival’s introduction of “The New Frontier Story Lab” last year, it is likely we will see more films made for the second screen experience.
5. Cloud-based networking expansion
Cloud is not just for businesses anymore as seen this year at CES. Many companies are switching to cloud-based networks for accessibility and safety. To help pave the way, Cisco is delivering powerful innovations in its switching portfolio.
Recently I was invited to a careers evening at my school, St. Georges in Ascot UK, to speak to young female students about what it is like to work in the technology sector. Each of the speakers invited was asked to prepare a 20 minute presentation on their job and the sector they worked in and then participate in a roundtable discussion with the girls so that they could ask questions. Read More »
It’s a new year, the traditional time to resolve to lose weight (again), and to replace bad habits with good ones. But this year, I’m not going there. Did I overeat during the holidays? Yes. But forget my weight gain. What I want to focus on is why are so many of us overeating when so many others are going hungry. Why aren’t we using technology to fix this?
Dozens of businesses are sprouting up around food and technology—with a focus on capitalizing on our desire for fine dining. I won’t pretend that I’m a stranger to social media platforms that tip me off to the latest new restaurant opening, but what I’d love to see is some of this mindshare going toward helping to curb hunger. I’m not even talking about world hunger (yet) – I’m talking about in our own backyards. According to Feeding America, 48.8 million Americans lived in food insecure households during 2010. And according to a New York Times article a couple months ago, the number of kids signing up to receive subsidized lunches is increasing, due to the economy.
Enid Borden, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels Association in America recently wrote about this very topic. In her article, she quite eloquently asks, “How do we harness the power of imagination and creativity and put them to work in the human services domain? How do we prevent the foolishness of hunger in a food-rich land?”