Las Vegas among US cities given grant by Smart Cities Council

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

The names of the 2018 Readiness Challenge Grants winners are finally declared by the Smart Cities Council – Birmingham, Alabama; Cary, North Carolina; Las Vegas, Nevada; Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky; and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The victorious cities will get 365-day expert, vendor-neutral mentoring as well as free customised products and services from organisations including Qualcomm, Battelle, SYNEXXUS, CompTIA and IES. In addition, on-site Readiness Workshop will be carried out as part of the council’s initiative to receive information from each workshop and work towards the development of a shareable Readiness Roadmap which offers guidance for the community’s smart city programme implementation.

Using the Smart Cities Council’s Readiness Roadmap, Birmingham will provide a collaborative framework for many ongoing smart city projects including Open Data portal, smart street lighting and community Wi-Fi.  On the other hand, Cary will utilise the Readiness Roadmap to take forward several of its smart city projects including "One Cary” – a move to have a 360-degree view of the entire city via the creation of a single core platform.

With the help of the training and assistance received from the Council, Las Vegas will work towards its goal of becoming a fully connected smart city by 2025. Louisville/Jefferson County and the Council will work together to utilise smart technologies to overcome challenges related to transportation, telecommunications and public safety. With its Readiness Roadmap, the Council will support Virginia in creating the foundation for various initiatives including the establishment of a cybersecurity and privacy plan as well as the creation of sustainable funding for smart city projects.

Elsewhere, the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port by cargo tonnage, is getting ready for a digital transformation with IBM’s cloud-based IoT technologies. The preparation starts with the development of a centralised dashboard application which collects and processes real-time information related to water, weather and communications. Latest from the homepage

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The National Space Council Approves Four Recommendations for Reform

On Wednesday, the U.S. National Space Council held their second public session since President Donald Trump revived the group in June. During the meeting, they approved four recommendations, and while these recommendations won’t change the commercial space industry in any fundamental or unsurprising way, they could streamline regulatory activities and keep national space ventures moving apace.

The Council’s first approved recommendation asks the Department of Transportation to develop a better system for licensing spacecraft so that a craft can use the same license at multiple launch sites. Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy secretary of transportation, told SpaceNews that such a licensing change is already under review.

The second suggests that the Office of Space Commerce and the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office be consolidated and placed in the office of the Secretary of Commerce. This recommendation also suggests arranging a new scheme to authorize missions. This system would oversee “non-traditional” commercial space activities that may not have a clear regulatory agency under the Outer Space Treaty.

The Council’s third approved recommendation suggests that three groups – the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Commerce Department, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – work together to develop “protections for the radiofrequency spectrum facilitating commercial space activities.”

The final recommendation suggests that the Council’s executive secretary, Scott Pace, work to develop recommendations for export control reform by the end of 2018. The goal is to address the current system that considers a commercial spacecraft that lands in another country an export.

According to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, this is a primary complaint of space companies. He said the Council’s recommendation will allow the Departments of Commerce, State, and Defense to continue working on the issue, and their efforts could ultimately “enable more commercial activity while protecting national security.”

The recommendations aren’t exactly earth-shattering – or space-shattering – and space companies won’t see big changes anytime soon. Still, the National Space Council does appear to be laying the regulatory groundwork needed to ensure the commercial space industry continues growing. This makes sense given that NASA has plans for a Moon mission in the next few years before looking to Mars and beyond.

The post The National Space Council Approves Four Recommendations for Reform appeared first on Futurism.


Renfrewshire Council gets to grips with fuel poverty in IoT pilot

Renfrewshire Council gets to grips with fuel poverty in IoT pilot

Renfrewshire Council has seen a 600 percent return on investment from a project that uses IoT sensors to tackle health and heating problems experienced by tenants in social housing. 

A pilot project carried out by local authority Renfrewshire Council in Scotland has helped to tackled fuel poverty in social housing using IoT sensors, according to a report from Scottish Housing News.

The pilot has been underway since July 2016 and collects real-time data on temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels at 50 homes in and around Paisley. The sensors enable the council to flag up problems and take measures to alleviate them.

For example, high levels of carbon dioxide could signal that there are issues with air quality and ventilation, while low temperatures and high humidity could be an indication that a tenant is unable to adequately heat their homes and thus represents a case of fuel poverty.

The project, which saw tenants in terraced housing, high rises and cottages opt into the programme, has uncovered a number of problems with their homes, such as damp, heating systems issues and fuel poverty.

Read more: Smart thermostats gain traction in Europe and North America

Big ROI for project

The IoT network has already delivered an estimated 600 percent return on investment to the council, by preventing costs associated with property damage caused by problems going unfixed. The network was installed by a consortium of organisations, including CENSIS (the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems) and technology suppliers Stream Technologies and Boston Networks. Smart asset management company iOpt Assets is collecting and managing the data.

David Amos, head of policy and commissioning at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The health of our tenants is of paramount concern. iOpt Assets’ easy to install technology gives us the ability to spot problems they have with energy or any issues with their housing that might affect their health. It will also help us take preventative action, where necessary, to protect, manage, or even improve our homes – from damp and moisture detection, to issues with air quality.

“The council is working with partners to create an environment in Renfrewshire that supports the testing and deployment of innovative Internet of Things technology and we were delighted to have facilitated this successful test with iOpt Assets.”

By the end of the year, IOpt Assets hope to roll out the IoT network to 2000 homes around Scotland.

Read more: WinterSense aims to tackle weather-related travel delays

The post Renfrewshire Council gets to grips with fuel poverty in IoT pilot appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

A key White House science council is still vacant — but the Trump administration doesn’t plan to kill it

Months later, there’s still no one sitting on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

A White House council that’s supposed to study everything from nanotechnology to biological warfare has sat dormant for more than seven months under President Donald Trump — but the administration says it’ll staff up and resume its work soon.

Chartered in its modern form in 2000, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology long has operated as the White House’s main interface with academics, industry experts and others who can help shape the government’s approach on a wide array of complex, cutting-edge issues.

Under Trump, though, there’s no one on the council, known as PCAST. It’s one of many science-and-tech advisory arms at the White House that’s still severely depleted in staff, a series of vacancies made all the more striking by the president’s previous push to cut federal research spending.

In the meantime, PCAST’s charter, technically, is set to run out: Obama’s executive order authorizing the council expires at the end of September.

At the moment, a spokesman for Trump’s tech team told Recode the president is on track to sign his own executive order re-establishing PCAST this month. The process of staffing it will then fall to the leader of the White House’s other research team, the Office of Science and Technology Policy. But that office, known as OSTP, still has no director, and the president has offered no timeline for when he’ll nominate someone for the job.

Even then, filling the ranks of PCAST might prove especially difficult in the coming months.

For one thing, Trump’s approach to science issues, including his move to withdraw the United States from a major international carbon emissions reduction pact, has drawn opposition from the academic and business communities. And Trump’s other recent, controversial actions and comments — from his moves on immigration to remarks about Charlottesville, Va., in August — already had prompted many tech executives to cease advising the White House.

Amid the turmoil, veterans of the last administration’s science-and-tech team stress the group is essential.

“The PCAST under Obama wrote more than 20 or 25 reports that dealt with recommendations to the president on matters of pressing concerns related to science and technology,” said Cristin Dorgelo, a former chief of staff at OSTP, in an interview this week.

Under Obama, PCAST included the likes of Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet; Eric Lander, a top academic at MIT; Maxine Savitz, a former leading executive at Honeywell; Christine Cassel, the planning dean of Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine; and Craig Mundie, a former Microsoft executive. It tackled a range of issues, like advanced manufacturing, big data, health IT and more.

For Dorgelo and others, though, there initially was reason to believe that the Trump administration considered nixing PCAST altogether. The uncertainty arose from a report published quietly by the Congressional Research Service, lawmakers’ personal think tank of sorts, earlier this month.

Much of PCAST’s budget currently comes from another part of the government, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Its involvement is a long story — blame it on Congress — but the DOE office is actually one that Trump has targeted for cuts, largely because of its work on climate change. That’s reflected in the DOE’s budget request in 2018, which also included this note: “The PCAST advisory committee has dissolved and [the DOE Office of Science] is not aware of any plans to reform this committee in FY 2018.”

The White House, however, says PCAST isn’t going anywhere, though there’s fear it might just have fewer dollars and staff than in the past. If that ultimately pans out, Dorgelo said it would be severely limiting for the science and tech advisory council, which relied on those funds to bring together academics and industry experts outside of Washington, D.C. “OSTP would find it near impossible to operate the committee … without the support of DOE funding,” she said.

Recode – All

Recode Daily: Terrorism strikes Barcelona, Trump dumps another business council

Plus, Sheryl Sandberg and Tim Cook provide some good news, you can’t stop the pivot to video, and the eclipse conspiracy.

A van driver deliberately zigzagged through a crowded pedestrian street in Barcelona yesterday, killing at least 13 people and leaving 80 injured. It was the worst terrorist attack in Spain since 2004, and the sixth time that assailants have used vehicles as deadly weapons in a European city. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the assault. [The New York Times]

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch criticized Donald Trump for his Charlottesville comments: “I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis,” Murdoch wrote in a private but widely distributed email. Murdoch’s stance gives him distance from his father Rupert, as well as his own Fox News unit. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg donated $ 100 million worth of Facebook stock to her favored nonprofits and charities; Sandberg’s contributions are becoming an annual tradition. And yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company would make separate donations of $ 1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League; Apple will also match employee donations to human rights groups on a two-for-one basis until Sept. 30. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]

President Trump scrapped plans to convene a council of corporate executives focused on improving U.S. infrastructure. The unnamed 15-member panel was supposed to focus on improving broadband access nationwide; the decision comes after the collapse of two other White House advisory boards. But tech has apparently not totally bailed on Trump yet — the American Technology Council will continue its work. [Tony Romm / Recode]

Digital publisher Mic laid off 25 staffers from its news and editorial departments — specifically the people who don’t work on video. Site publisher Cory Haik presaged the restructuring last week in an op-ed for Recode. It’s called a “pivot to video” — and here’s why publishers are going to keep doing it. [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Here are four key questions that will shape the outcome of Uber’s latest financial mess. While early investor Benchmark is suing ex-CEO Travis Kalanick and the board searches for his replacement (stay up to date with Recodes storystream), deep-pocketed suitors are circling for a piece of the $ 70 billion ride-sharing startup. [Theodore Schleifer / Recode]

Top stories from Recode

The New Yorker and The Economist magazine covers blast Trump.

Media is not holding back.

Not everyone is a Facebook. Small companies are thriving even while surrounded by tech giants.

Takeaways from the success of Anker, Roku and Airbnb.

Can bike-sharing services take cars off the road?

LimeBike President Brad Bao talks about what has to happen first on Too Embarrassed to Ask.

This is cool

I am not saying the eclipse isn’t going to happen. I’m just saying there are two sides to every story.

Recode – All

A Scottish Council Just Approved the Country’s Largest Solar Farm

Scottish Solar

The Moray Council has given Elgin Energy the green light to build a 20MW solar farm near Urquhart in the Scottish Highlands. The 47-hectare (.18 square mile) Speyslaw site will be outfitted with around 80,000 solar panels.

Elgin Energy is the company behind a 13MW project in Perthshire that is currently Scotland’s largest solar farm, and the company is going to great lengths to ensure that the new build doesn’t interfere with the land’s current agricultural usage.

“Existing field boundaries will not be disturbed and mature hedgerows will provide generous screening for the site,” they wrote in a statement, according to BBC. All cabling for the project will be buried underground as well, allowing sheep to graze in and around the site.

Image Credit: Elgin Energy

The northeast of Scotland is well-suited for solar energy projects because it typically enjoys clear skies and long daylight hours. To take further advantage of these characteristics, Elgin Energy is also seeking planning permission for a 50MW farm near the city of Elgin.

A start date for the Moray build hasn’t yet been announced, but once completed, the amount of clean energy produced by the farm should help Scotland achieve its clean energy targets.

A Global Trend

Solar energy has reached a point where it’s both cost-effective and relatively straightforward to install. All over the world, the technology is being implemented on both the commercial and residential scale to help people meet their energy needs.

The World’s Largest Floating Solar Farm [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Last month, Indian Railways rolled out a train that’s topped with solar panels to provide power for its on-board lighting, fans, and other components, which is expected to save the company Rs41,000 crore ($ 6.31 billion) over the next decade.

Earlier this year, China became the largest producer of solar energy in the world, and in the U.S., former president Jimmy Carter is using a single solar farm to provide electricity for half of his town.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s affordable, efficient solar roofs are putting solar energy in the hands of the individual, and they could have a profound effect on how the nation meets its energy needs. Ikea has launched a line of solar panels and home battery packs for consumers in the U.K., and Lucid Motors is even proving our cars could be powered by solar energy.

Ultimately, solar is proving to be the energy source of the future, and this latest build in Scotland is likely just one of many new projects to come.

The post A Scottish Council Just Approved the Country’s Largest Solar Farm appeared first on Futurism.


Vice President Pence To Lead National Space Council and Get U.S. to Mars


Not If, When

On June 30th, President Trump revived the National Space Council and made Vice President Pence its chairman. During a tour of Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, July 6, Mr. Pence reaffirmed the American commitment to putting humans on Mars.

“Here the Hubble Space Telescope, the New Horizons, and so many other technological wonders lifted off the Earth to give us a glimpse of our fellow planets, the distant stars and the infinite galaxies that are a window into our very past,” Pence remarked at Cape Canaveral. “And here from this bridge to space, our nation will return to the moon, and we will put American boots on the face of Mars.”

Image Credit: Michael Vadon/FlickrImage Credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr[/caption]
After almost 25 years of dormancy, Trump’s executive order reinstated the National Space Council in order to centralize space policy oversight which is currently spread among several federal agencies. Pence will now assist the President in choosing other board members in his role as the councils’ chairman.There are many different plans to get humans to Mars, from both a variety of countries and private companies. China plans to be collecting samples from the surface of Mars by 2020. The UAE plans to have a human colony on the Red Planet by 2117. Japan’s space agency will be taking on the moons of Mars by 2024. SpaceX has set deadlines of 2018 and 2025 for unmanned and manned missions to Mars, respectively — and Boeing is planning to compete with them. Finally, with a mandate from President Trump, NASA has a plan to get us to Mars by 2033.In other words, the real question isn’t if we’ll get to Mars, but when (and how).

The post Vice President Pence To Lead National Space Council and Get U.S. to Mars appeared first on Futurism.


Revived National Space Council will guide Trump admin policy

Today Donald Trump signed an executive order reviving the National Space Council, an organization that existed in two previous iterations, from 1958 – 1973, and more recently from 1989 to 1993. President Obama raised the idea of reviving the council…
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Six members of president Trumps advisory council on HIV/AIDs have resigned

The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) is a body responsible for providing recommendations and information to the president, as well as overseeing the nation’s strategy for combatting the illness. On Friday, six members of the council resigned, writing in an op-ed published in Newsweek that they can no longer be effective under a “president who simply does not care.”

The letter was written by Scott Schoettes, who was joined by five other members: Lucy Bradley-Springer, Gina Brown, Ulysses Burley III, Michelle Ogle, and Grissel Granados. In the letter, he explains President Donald Trump’s administration hasn’t taken steps to formulate a strategy for combatting the illness, “and—most concerning—pushes legislation that will…

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