At a recent staff meeting, a CFO asked his team why some buildings the company owned were more cost effective, with lower energy bills, than others. His employees started to throw out recommendations of how to address the high-cost buildings, including consolidating their…
Populations in cities across the world, and in the UK especially, are growing. London is currently home to more than 7.5 million people, and that figure is expected to grow by more than a million by 2029, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Unsurprisingly, this growth further burdens municipal infrastructures, which are already creaking with over-use and under-investment. So how do we arrest the decline, especially in these austere times?
Perhaps one answer is to make them work smarter. There are estimated to be one billion transistors in existence for every person on the planet. Many of these exist in smart sensors, which infest every aspect of the modern city’s infrastructure.
That’s an awful lot of information gathering, but what use is it?
Defining his company’s “Smarter Planet” campaign, John Bentley, partner at IBM, said: “We can bring that information together to get a real-time picture of the way things are working, and make more intelligent decisions about the way that we optimise our infrastructure.”
But before we can work out how valuable a smart city is, we must first determine what it is.
“A smart city is the integration of many services and departments. It integrates commodities such as electricity, water, gas and waste as well as security and emergency infrastructure and transport,” said Bastian Fischer, vice president and general manager of the utilities global business unit at Oracle.
Harare residents may have the most challenging lifestyles on the planet, as the Zimbabwean capital ranked dead last among the new survey of the world’s most liveable cities.
As Reuters is reporting, Harare scored a paltry 37.5 percent in the 2011 Liveability Ranking and Overview by the Economist Intelligence Unit. This is the second time the city has claimed the bottom spot out of a total 140 global cities, just below the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.
Among the factors in Harare the report specifically targeted: the city’s prevalence of petty crime, its threat of civil unrest or conflict, and its quality of public transport. In addition, Harare is home to almost 3 million people, many who live in extreme poverty.
The Economist Intelligence Unit annually ranks cities based on a total of 30 factors including access to healthcare, culture and environment, along with education and personal safety in its survey. Take a look at an earlier report on the world’s most liveable cities here.
“The smart grid promises to bring a number of benefits to both consumers and utilities in the coming years—things like intelligent off-peak appliance use; real-time metering; and customer education on efficiency and conservation. But bringing that kind of experience to fruition is still a work in progress, with some of the blame being placed on utility companies for not being agile enough when it comes to security, interconnectivity, and the like.”—
Using nano-scale materials, a University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist is developing a way to improve food safety by adding a thin anti-microbial layer to food-handling surfaces. Only tens of nanometers thick, it chemically “re-charges” its germ-killing powers every time it’s rinsed with common household bleach.
The final line-up of teams competing for the $30 million (£18.5m) robotic Moon-explorer prize has been confirmed. The prize will go to the builders of the first robot to send back video as it travels over 500 metres of the Moon’s surface. Competition organisers hope to spur the development of low-cost robotic space exploration. The Google-sponsored Lunar X-Prize will be fought over by 29 teams from 17 different countries. Organisers believe that the competition - first announced in 2007 - could have a winner by 2015.
For I.B.M., the future will happen very quickly, company executives said. On Thursday it plans to announce that it will collaborate with Columbia University and theUniversity of Maryland to create a physician’s assistant service that will allow doctors to query a cybernetic assistant. The company also plans to work with Nuance Communications Inc. to add voice recognition to the physician’s assistant, possibly making the service available in as little as 18 months.
“I have been in medical education for 40 years and we’re still a very memory-based curriculum,” said Dr. Herbert Chase, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University who is working with I.B.M. on the physician’s assistant. “The power of Watson- like tools will cause us to reconsider what it is we want students to do.”
Anonymous. Thanks for asking. We reblog from other Tumblr sites, and would be happy to look at your blog for inclusion. What is it? Also, if you tag any post “smarter planet” we can track it for reblogging.
The IBM team who designed Watson has achieved another milestone in the history of computer science. After the Jeopardy! challenge concludes, the team faces the task of developing real world solutions based on this technology.
The impact of a machine like Watson will be felt throughout business, government and society. Join the conversation to find out how the IBM team achieved this historic feat and chat live with IBM Watson Principal Investigator Dr. David Ferrucci, IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM’s SOA Center for Excellence Kerrie Holley and Columbia University Professor of Clinical Medicine Dr. Herbert Chase, hosted by “Man v. Machine” author Stephen Baker.