Bristol looks for partner in smart city initiative

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NEWSBYTE Bristol City Council has tendered a £400,000 contract to find a supplier to deliver phase two of its Smart City strategy. The programme looks to upgrade urban traffic management and healthcare, among other connected services.

According to a posting on the UK government’s digital marketplace, the local authority is looking for a partner to “lead, plan, prioritise, prototype, and deliver the technical innovations that will form Bristol’s SMART services”.

The work will also cover a variety of other areas, including security and surveillance, energy, the environment, and waste, says the announcement.

The local authority said that it wants to ensure better use of its assets, funding, and technology. The successful applicant will help to ensure that programmes are taken all the way from concept to implementation.

Under the scheme, commercial strategies will also be put in place to ensure that Bristol’s fibre network, Operations Centre, urban assets, and infrastructure are all “fully utilised in an efficient way to ensure the best use of technology, capacity, people, and processes”.

The first phase of the Smart City programme has already been completed, and Bristol City Council wants to complete phase two by February 2019.

Multifunctional operations centre

Under phase one, the council built a new multifunctional operations centre, which includes an IT platform on which other systems can be integrated to provide dashboard-based management, insights, and analytics. Urban traffic management will be the first programme to move into the new centre, followed by tele-health and broadband rollouts.

Phase 2 also hopes to increase the number of customers using the Operations Centre. Alongside Operations Centre staff will be other council employees and partner agencies, such as Bristol is Open, the University of Bristol, local emergency services, and clinical commissioning groups.

Internet of Business says

The expected contract length is 8-9 months with a maximum budget of £400,000. The closing date for applications is 5 April.

Read more: Asia Pacific smart city spend to top $ 28.3 billion in 2018

Read more: Smart city hotspots: FLIR manages traffic using thermal imaging

Read more: Councils partner with Telensa on smart city programmes

Read more: Poles apart: Five cities putting smart streetlights to new uses

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NYC’s mayor has a plan to get e-bikes on city roads

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San Francisco and other cities around the US have been rolling out pedal-assisted e-bike sharing programs to help decrease street traffic and air pollution. Now New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio has directed his city's Department of Transportation…
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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Apple’s technology is a ‘means, not an end’ to help public education in his city

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Tech can can help equalize opportunities in education, the Mayor says.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained how he sees Apple helping Chicago public school students learn how to code after the company’s education-themed keynote on Tuesday.

Emanuel spoke with Recode’s Kara Swisher after Apple’s event at Lane Tech College Prep High School, where Apple announced its new partnership with Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University to train local computer science teachers in coding.

“Apple is an important part of making computer coding universal and making sure kids have that,” said Emanuel. “There’s 6,000 school districts across the United States. Every one of them would be excited to have Apple.”

Apple is creating a Center for Excellence at Lane Tech where Northwestern University trainers will provide free technical education to local high school teachers through Apple’s Everyone Can Code program as well as training on Apple’s programming language, Swift. The company says the program is an effort to address the shortage of high school computer science teachers.

Chicago Public Schools made coding a requirement for high school graduation back in 2015 — the first urban school district to do so — and has educational partnerships with other tech companies such as Cisco and IBM, the Mayor said.

Still, Emanuel emphasized that technology should never supplant the fundamentals of education.

“Technology doesn’t replace literature, it should complement it,” said Emanuel. “Sometimes there is an overemphasis on technology as if the other stuff is not necessary,” he said.

In his interview with Recode, Emanuel also discussed his passionate support for Dreamers and the importance of privacy online. You can watch the full video below:

To learn more about Apple’s plans around education and job training, watch Tim Cook’s interview on “Revolution: Apple Changing the World,” a TV collaboration between Recode and MSNBC that is scheduled to air on Friday, April 6 at 8 pm ET.

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Hackers Are Holding The City of Atlanta Hostage

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The city of Atlanta has been hacked.

On the morning of March 22, a remote ransomware attack trapped the city’s data behind an encrypted wall that will only be lowered if the city coughs up a $ 51,000 ransom, paid out in bitcoin.

For now, the city is working to come up with a solution to get past the attack without paying its ransom, bringing in “best in class external partners” to guide the fix, according to Atlanta news station WSB-TV.

But five days in, the effects are profound, crippling some of the city’s critical functions. As of March 27, city employees remain without email or internet access; residents cannot pay their electric bills; wi-fi is shut down at the Atlanta International Airport; and many departments — including the city jail — “are running on pen and paper while there is no access to electronic records for municipal court,” according to a report from Georgia Public Broadcasting, NPR reports.

“This is much bigger than a ransomware attack, this really is an attack on our government,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference, Reuters reports. “We are dealing with a (cyber) hostage situation.”

The mayor also warned Atlanta city employees and residents to keep an eye on their bank accounts, and to shore up the security around their personal information, just in case.

“I wish that I could say it would be the last time, but it really never is the last time. We just have to make sure that we’re doing all that we can do and making the investments in the city to be as protected as possible,” Bottoms told WSB-TV.

Experts have warned that cybersecurity is likely the next great security threat for governments and companies around the world, and that most systems are simply not prepared. Indeed, Atlanta isn’t the first U.S city to be hit by ransomware — the Colorado Department of Transportation has already been hit twice in 2018. However, the Atlanta attack seems to the most thorough, city-wide cybersecurity breach yet. And though some companies have ramped up security following attacks, as Atlanta plans to do, it seems that most cities aren’t adapting their security before an attack happens.

That’s bad news, because cities will likely be at particular risk moving forward. Many are seeking to automate processes that humans used to do, and more city systems are connected via the Internet of Things. These future “smart cities” plan to digitize huge portions of city infrastructure — street lights, traffic systems, pollution monitoring, water systems, and even city residents’ vehicles.

“The potential attack surfaces of a city is a huge challenge,” David Raymond, deputy director of Virginia Tech’s IT Security Lab, said to The Washington Post on potentially hacking cities in 2015. “The digital pathways between all of the entities and organizations in a city is often not well managed. In many cases, there’s no overarching security architecture or even understanding of holistically what the city looks like.”

“No one is thinking about the security implications,” he added.

It’s not yet clear at what point Atlanta will give in and pay the ransom to get its data back. But as more cities rely on digital processes, the dangers to both citizen privacy and security are going to multiply. Imagine a hack that takes out not just a city’s computer systems, but also its electrical power, plumbing, and even control of your own car.

If the future lives up to even a fraction of these predictions, Atlanta may have gotten off easy.

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Asia Pacific smart city spend to top $28.3 billion in 2018

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IDC report expects spending to accelerate over the next five years, says Rene Millman.

Spending on technologies to enable smart cities programmes in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan (APeJ), is set to reach $ 28.3 billion in 2018, according to new figures released by IDC.

In its first Worldwide Semi-annual Smart Cities Spending Guide since it began tracking these projects in 2006, the analyst firm has looked at the technology investments associated with smart city use cases. IDC finds that as these initiatives gain traction, spending is set to accelerate and hit $ 45.3 billion by 2021.

“This research spans an exhaustive compilation of worldwide Smart City projects across 41 categories of use cases,” said Gerald Wang, head of Public Sector at IDC Asia Pacific.

“This is expected to aid both technology buyers and market suppliers to have a greater grasp of the broad trends and niche opportunities, as well as best practices in regional and global smart city programmes.”

Where the money goes

IDC predicts that the key investments for connected projects in APeJ will be in intelligent transportation, data-driven public safety, and resilient energy and infrastructure. Wang added: “A deeper dive suggests different prioritisation across first-, second-, and third-tier cities in the region”.

The report finds that intelligent traffic transit and fixed visual surveillance systems are already seeing a big push from governments in APeJ, in order to streamline traffic and make communities more secure. Together, these two use cases represent more than 36 percent of overall spending throughout the forecast period, says IDC.

However, use cases for Vehicle to Everything (V2X) connectivity and ‘officer wearables’ (such as Fitbits and smart glasses) will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45 percent and 43.3 percent, respectively.

State/local government and transportation are the two leading adopters of smart city technologies. Services account for the highest single spending bloc overall, with a 32.5 percent share last year. The sector is likely to experience linear growth to hit $ 16.7 billion by 2021, according to IDC.

Hardware was the second largest technology group in 2017, with $ 31.7 billion of spending, followed by software (with an 18 percent share) and connectivity (with 17.8 percent). Throughout the forecast period, software is expected to grow fastest to reach $ 8.3 billion by 2021, according to IDC.

“With the fast influx of populations to urban areas in APeJ, it will be a challenge for all governments to supply sufficient fresh water, universal access to cleaner energy, the ability to travel efficiently from one point to another, and a sense of safety and security,” said Ashutosh Bisht, IDC’s research manager for Asia Pacific.

“These are the kinds of promises that smart cities must fulfil if they are to stay competitive and provide a decent quality of life to their citizens.”

Internet of Business says

This is one area where many Asian countries – including Japan – are streets ahead of much of North America and Europe. Fast-expanding cities in China, South Korea, and Japan, together with Singapore, are forging ahead with connected services, automation, smart transport, and more.

In some cases, they have a more relaxed and encouraging attitude to technologies such as pilotless air transport, while keeping pace with US achievements in autonomous and connected cars. As a result, the West has a real challenge on its hands to strike the right balance between legacy services, safety, and light touch regulation for the future.

That said, China in particular lacks regulations to protect its citizens’ private data from mass exploitation by government and others. In Europe, GDPR prevents initiatives such as China’s upcoming compulsory social ratings system, which seeks to control people’s behaviour via the way they use public services, transport, and other connected networks.

Read more: Smart city hotspots: FLIR manages traffic using thermal imaging

Read more: Poles apart: Five cities putting smart streetlights to new uses

Read more: Intel:”Smart cities give every person back 125 hours a year”

Read more: Gartner: Four strategies to make smart cities work for citizens

Read more: Cisco announces $ 1 billion smart cities fund

Read more: EHANG passenger drone boasts successful manned test flights

Read more: South Korea most automated nation on earth, says report. The UK? Going nowhere

 

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Travis Kalanick is joining the real estate startup City Storage Systems as CEO

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Kalanick invested $ 150 million in the company through his 10100 fund.

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has found his new job. The controversial Silicon Valley entrepreneur is joining a startup called City Storage Systems that focuses on repurposing real estate assets..

Kalanick, who will be CEO, invested $ 150 million into the 15-person startup, according to a statement he tweeted on Tuesday.

That initial investment gives Kalanick controling interest in the company. Two of its businesses focuses on buying and repurposing real estate assets in the food and retail space, according to Kalanick. The company will also work with parking and industrial assets.

“There are over $ 10 trillion in these real estate assets that will need to be repurposed for the digital era in the coming years,” he wrote.

The Los Angeles-based limited liability company — a company of the same name was incorporated yesterday in Delaware, according to state records — will acquire those assets and then outfit them for new use cases.

Earlier this month, Kalanick announced the launch of his personal investment fund, called 10100. In June 2017, the former Uber CEO stepped down from his post at the ride-hail company under pressure from major company shareholders.

This is developing …


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Smart city hotspots: FLIR manages traffic using thermal imaging

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Thermal imaging company FLIR Systems has launched a traffic sensor designed to connect vehicles to smart city infrastructures. The thermal system will provide a line of communication for the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) market.

FLIR’s thermal cameras are often used to detect heat signatures from the air. For example, the company has a partnership with Chinese drone giant DJI to provide thermal imaging in support of precision agriculture, solar panel inspection, and search and rescue operations, among other applications.

FLIR’s V2X-enabled traffic sensor is a step towards embedding that data into urban infrastructures in a way that improves the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

Read more: Councils partner with Telensa on smart city programmes

FLIR’s V2X Technology

According to FLIR, its V2X imaging technology will be one voice in the digital conversation between cars, other road users, and smart-city traffic infrastructures of the future.

FLIR traffic management using thermal imagingThe aim is to make roads safer. FLIR’s ThermiCam V2X (pictured) could support a real-time collision avoidance system that accounts for the movements of all road users, said the company. It can be mounted onto existing traffic signals to read the heat signatures of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists at intersections.

The plan is for vehicles to transmit their speed and direction data over short distances. That information will be combined with FLIR’s ThermiCam V2X, which will communicate the presence of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles.

All of this data could help to warn drivers about dangerous situations before it is too late, or be incorporated into the actions of driverless systems.

Read more: Uber halts self-driving car tests after pedestrian is killed

Read more: GE to provide Enel with software for monitoring power plant assets

FLIR’s thermal traffic management solution

Aside from preventing crashes, FLIR’s ThermiCam V2X can gather enough information to prioritise traffic signalling at busy intersections, making way for emergency vehicles or improving the general traffic flow.

“As car manufacturers design V2X technology into future vehicles, FLIR is being deployed today to ensure cities are ready for their arrival,” said James Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR.

“By detecting pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles in real time, while also enabling communication between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, FLIR ThermiCam V2X will play a critical role in improving the movement and safety of the world’s roads.”

The price to pay for V2X communications

As of yet, FLIR has not provided any details on how its V2X technology will be secured. Clearly, any move to connect the previously unconnected opens the doors to cybersecurity risks.

ABI Research last year estimated that roadways will account for the majority of cybersecurity spending in the transport sector, with $ 5 billion expected to be invested by 2022.

At the time, research director at ABI, Michela Menting, pointed out that, “While the transportation sector places heavy reliance on functional safety and physical security, the cyber protection of connected operational technologies is currently inadequate and will require some significant work.”

“Transport stakeholders will have to implement digital security if they want to successfully realise the efficiencies and cost savings that connected OT promises to deliver.”

FLIR will demonstrate the ThermiCam V2X sensor at Intertraffic 2018 in Amsterdam.

Read more: Battery breakthrough puts superfast-charging electric vehicles on road

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The death this week of 49 year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was struck by an autonomous Uber car in Tempe, Arizona, reveals that smart transport, driverless vehicles, and smart city programmes are ultimately all about people, not technology. That said, any innovative system that improves the safety of our roads for all users is welcome.

Read more: Gartner: Four strategies to make smart cities work for citizens

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Norway Plans a Sustainable “City of the Future”

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Oslo, the capital of Norway, could soon be home to the most future-oriented, sustainable city in the world. Haptic Architects and the Nordic Office of Architecture have just released plans to create a city next to Oslo Airport, known as Oslo Airport City (OAC), that will be the “first energy positive airport city.”

An aerial computer rendering of the OAC, set to be the most future-thinking and sustainable city in the world.
An aerial computer rendering of the future OAC. Image Credit: Haptic Architects/Nordic Office of Architecture

OAC will use only energy created within the city itself, and driverless, electric vehicles will roam its streets. “This is a unique opportunity to design a new city from scratch,” said Tomas Stokke, director of Haptic Architects, to Dezeen. But, what exactly makes this such a sustainable city? Let’s explore:

  • The city will be extremely walkable. Those living there or just visiting won’t have to take any form of transportation, it will be easy for them to walk to most places.
  • The city’s center will be entirely car-free. This will be made possible, in large part, by the city’s innate walkability.
  • OAC plans to use a host of boundary-pushing, green technologies. While not all tech has been specified yet, the city will use driverless cars, auto-lighting, “smart” waste tech, and security tech.
  • The city will only use only the renewable energy that it produces. This will cut down on fossil fuel use and the energy used to transport fuel and energy.
  • OAC will sell excess energy that it produces, and it will also use excess energy to de-ice planes – cutting down the airport’s fuel usage.
  • Only electric cars will be used inside of the city.
  • Public transportation will be extremely close, a cycling route, and a host of outdoor activities that don’t require electricity.

This location might seem random, but it could be ideal for the utopian city being planned. Oslo Airport expects its employees to double by 2050. This city could be a perfect location for their families to reside alongside visitors in transit.

So, how possible is OAC, the sort of place that seems almost too good to be true? “We believe the future of airport city development in Norway and Oslo is not a matter of if, but when,” said Thor Thoeneie, managing director of OAC, to Dezeen.

Construction is slated to begin in 2019 and the city is set to be completed by 2022. This seems ambitious, and the timeline might change, but with the country’s dedication to sustainability, it isn’t so far-fetched that this city of the future will soon become reality.

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Dublin City University, Talent Garden team up for IoT campus

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Dublin City University and Talent Garden team up for new IoT innovation campus

NEWSBYTE: Dublin City University (DCU) and co-working and learning space provider Talent Garden are to launch a new hub for digital innovation this autumn, which will focus on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Talent Garden was founded six years ago and now claims to be the largest European co-working and digital innovation network. It hosts hundreds of start-up companies and works with enterprises such as BMW, Google, and Electrolux in 23 campuses across eight European countries.

The latest hub will be based in DCU’s Alpha Innovation campus, and will provide a workspace for freelancers, tech start-ups, and corporate innovation labs, with capacity for 350 people.

The building will also feature Talent Garden’s Innovation School, a digital skills bootcamp education platform, which will work in partnership with DCU Business School to upskill entrepreneurs and assist corporates on digital transformation projects.

Topics covered in the bootcamp include digital transformation, artificial intelligence, growth hacking, augmented reality/virtual reality, coding, and blockchain. In the future, Talent Garden will host more formal, accredited training, delivered in partnership with the university.

Members of Talent Garden Dublin will also be able to make use of the platform anywhere in the Talent Garden network of facilities across 18 European cities.

DCU and Talent Garden hope that the space will appeal to early-stage startups and larger corporate innovation labs, as well as the existing community of digital and IoT companies based in DCU Alpha.

Epicentres of innovation

Professor Brian MacCraith, president of DCU, said that the partnership placed the university at the “epicentre of the technological transformation” taking place across Ireland and Europe.

“The worlds of work and learning are rapidly blending together, and Talent Garden Dublin offers a unique combination of innovation and education, which will help startups, SMEs and multinationals, navigate the opportunities created by the burgeoning IoT sector in particular,” he said.

“Through this unique partnership, Talent Garden Dublin goes way beyond coworking as it is currently understood in Ireland, and into the fields of accredited digital skills training, corporate digital transformation, as well as creating international connectivity for Irish startups looking to scale up in other markets.”

“In DCU, we have found a University partner with the same entrepreneurial DNA and ambition as Talent Garden, which made the selection process easy,” added Talent Garden founder and CEO, Davide Dattoli.

“The existing DCU Alpha community of digital and IoT innovators is the perfect home for us, while the university partnership will help us to scale our Innovation School offering globally.”

Internet of Business says

The recent success of a similar venture, Liverpool’s Sensor City – which brings together technology expertise, university partnership, a community focus, and a nurturing environment for startups – reveals how well this model works. For example, it was announced this week that Sensor City has received new funding from the British government to explore 5G opportunities.

We wish the new Dublin hub every success – particularly as it may gain the funding from Europe that British initiatives risk losing, post Brexit.

Read more: Sensor City awarded £3.5m to explore 5G community Wi-Fi

Read more: Sensors for all! Exclusive Q&A with Alison Mitchell of Sensor City

 

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Uber Movement launches in UK to help city planners make better decisions

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Millions of Londoners use Uber on a daily basis to get from point A to point B. As each of these trips are tracked and logged by the app, Uber has managed to build an impressive treasure-trove of data, allowing them to optimize pick-up and drop-off points. Now, it’s opening that data to city planners in the UK. Uber Movement is a free tool that lets urban planners access and analyze millions of anonymized trips, in order to make better decisions. The tool debuted in early 2017 in the United States, and now it’s getting its long-awaited UK launch. Uber…

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