reworkcities

Future Cities: Smart Citizens & Interactive Installations

Usman Haque is founding partner of Umbrellium, a team of architects, designers, commercial experts, producers and creative technologists, and Thingful, a search engine for the Internet of Things. Trained as an architect, he has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and dozens of mass-participation initiatives throughout the world. 

At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, Usman will discuss the paradoxical structures of urban collaboration, and ways that the paradoxes can be harnessed in constructing participative architectural systems, with specific reference to Usman’s interactive environments, urban spectacles, collaboration platforms and other concrete examples.

What’s your vision of a smart city?

I am not interested in a “smart” city – I don’t think that means anything. I am interested in a city where people are directly engaged in meaningful decision making, where they feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for their neighbourhoods and where technological platforms are designed to support and encourage heterogeneity rather than homogeneity.

Engaging the public seems to be a common characteristic in Umbrellium’s projects, is what the public wants from a smart city? If so, why?

In a world where decisions we make impact not just those that are right in front of us but also those on the other side of the planet it is important for us all to be part of both framing complex urban issues as well as deciding how to deal with them. Engagement is key to any kind of future urban sustainability.

What is Thingful and how can it help create a smart city?

Thingful.net is a search engine for the Internet of Things that aims to balance discovery (of connected objects & sensors) with an entitlement framework, through which owners of those things can control whether, and how, they can be discovered at all. Thingful emphasises the power of data owners (be they individual consumers, community organisations or commercial entities) to control how, where and why their data is accessible to others, in an environment where trusted sharing can take place.

How important is it to explore new technologies at events, such as RE.WORK?

It is almost impossible to cleave a definition of technology away from a definition for society, but I would prefer to place more emphasis on exploring that which is socio-political and cultural rather than merely technological.

Usman Haque will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCITIES

Future Cities Will Be Living, Reactive & Think for Themselves

The Cities Summit, organised by RE.WORK, will take place over two days on 4-5 December, at The Crystal, London, and will showcase the opportunities of accelerating technologies and their impact on our urban areas.

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. What will this really look like? How will our urban landscapes change? What impact will this have on infrastructure, communities and citizens? At the RE.WORK Cities Summit we’ll explore how emerging technologies such as advancing robot-human interaction, digital installations, ‘living, responsive cities’, sensors and environmental monitoring, mobile robots, pocket drones, urban data collection and 3D printed materials will change our cities to ensure they are sustainable and efficient in the future.

The summit will take place at The Crystal, a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens, and one of the world’s greenest buildings. Industry leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and startups will come together to explore the cutting-edge technologies on the horizon that are going to disrupt and inspire change for our future cities. Meet fellow innovators with the same passion to reshape our future cities.

Discussions will include:

  • Interactive Installations, Digital Interface & the Crowd
  • Automation in the City: Robotics & the Pocket Drone
  • Supplying Power to the Off-Grid World
  • Synthetic Biology & The Living City
  • Wellness, Happiness and Re-Imagining the City
  • Smart Cities: Where are we now and where are we headed?

Mirko Presser, Head of Research & Innovation at Smart City Lab, Alexandra Institute, said: “Sharing our experiences at high quality events should be a priority to all of us. I am looking forward to doing just that at RE.WORK Cities Summit in London.”

Oluwaseyi Sosanya, Founder, Sosafresh, who will be presenting the 3D Weaver at the Summit, said: “I am most looking forward to sharing my work with an audience from diverse backgrounds and the opportunity for true cross pollution of ideas.”

The agenda will also feature:

Usman Haque, Founder, Umbrellium & Thingful. Trained as an architect, he has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and dozens of mass-participation initiatives throughout the world.

Daniel Becerra, Managing Director, Buffalo Grid. Buffalo Grid brings power as a service to off grid communities enabling all those mobile phones which the UN identified as the biggest contributors to economic growth in these regions.

Andrew Hudson-Smith, Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London. Andrew’s contribution to knowledge and outreach in the fields of the Internet of Things, smart cities, big data, digital geography, urban planning and the built environment have been wide ranging with an impact strategy focused on policy, outreach and public understanding of science.

Alberto T. Estevez, Director, Genetic Barcelona Project. Alberto explores cities that learn from the ideas and advantages of nature and new technologies in science, biology and genetics that can give us the possibility to re-think and re-work our cities.

Anna Mavrogianni, Lecturer in Sustainable Building & Urban Design, The Bartlett, UCL. Anna’s research includes energy efficient retrofit technologies; building energy use modelling; the adaptation of the built environment to a warming climate; the impact of urban heat islands and climate change on energy use, thermal comfort and health.

Jonathan Steel, CEO, Change London. Jonathan has created a new model of technology-enabled not-for-profit organisation, which is helping to improve health, liveability, and economic outcomes for urban centres - primarily in London but increasingly in other cities.

Larissa Suzuki, PhD in Software Systems Engineering, University College London. Larissa will explore the architectural design and business models for ultra‐large and highly interconnected systems which have the power to orchestrate people, technology, and organizations into socio-technical ecosystems that remain, even on large scale, flexible and innovative.

Early Bird passes end tomorrow!

Discover the technologies on the horizon that are going to disrupt future cities! Book your tickets now to save: re-work.co/cities

Tickets for startups, students and academics are available for reduced rates. If you’d like to send a team, get in contact to see what discounts are available to you - email us hello@re-work.co

World Cities Day tweet chat today!

We’ll be getting underway with our World Cities Day tweet chat in just under an hour! Here are some of the questions we’ll be exploring with Usman Haque:

Will there be a struggle between the power of data & control, and creativity in ‘smarter’ cities?

What can communities do to empower transformation of their own city spaces?

How can smart cities help increase connection between it’s citizens & encourage bottom-up innovation?

What role does the government have to play in smarter cities AND smarter citizens?

What are some of the most exciting citizen-led 'smarter citizen’ projects?

How can data be used to help cities and citizens?

How does an emphasis on 'environments’ instead of object-centric 'sensors’ change the vision for a smart city?

Join us over on Twitter and get involved with the discussion!

We’ll be tweeting the questions from @teamrework

Can Sensors & Autonomous Robotics Improve Transport in Our Cities?

Paul Furgale is the Deputy Director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich. His current research is focused on long-term autonomy for mobile robotic systems, including perception, mapping, localization, and planning over long timescales and in dynamic environments.

We caught up with Paul ahead of tomorrow's RE.WORK Future Cities Summit.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

By rethinking the mix of public and private transportation, we can reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources of energy, resulting in cleaner, greener cities without sacrificing convenience associated with having a car.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

The current biggest obstacle for bringing fully automated driving to our cities is the slow speed of regulatory frameworks for automated mobile robots operating in public spaces.

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?

The robotics industry will experience a huge growth over the coming decade. This will require highly skilled individuals across the disciplines of Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics.

What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise that will affect our future cities?

I am personally most excited about the technology behind indoor and outdoor position estimation using only the sensors available in your smartphone. If we solve the problem of continuous position estimation of devices, and connect this information centrally so that devices can always access up-to-date map information, it will unlock a wealth of applications from fully automated driving to indoor navigation assistance to navigation assistance for the disabled to immersive gaming within the real world.

Paul Furgale will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCITIES

Re-Working Our Future Cities: Is Biodesign the Answer?

Alberto T. Estévez is director of the Genetic Barcelona Project. At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, Alberto will explore cities that learn and take ideas from the advantages of nature. Science, biology and genetics lend to creating new technologies that give us the possibility to re-think and re-work our cities.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

To take profit of the advantages of nature, through the genetic creation of plants for produce building materials, heath and light in a more sustainable way.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

We need to research before, and we have now not more budget for it. We are searching founds: do you know someone interested in promote one of the industries with more future?

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?

To know and understand genetics.

What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise that will affect our future cities?

Genetics, of course, applied to architecture for improve better cities.

Alberto T. Estévez will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCities

Cities Should Empower Citizens to Not Only Consume Services but to Design Them Too

Charalampos Doukas is a researcher and IoT Maker, and is passionate about combining different hardware systems with software and services using the Internet. We caught up with him ahead of his appearance at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

We are an organisation that (among other activities) we are focusing on user engagement, training and delivery of technologies that enable citizens to become part of shaping the future cities process. Believing strongly in the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, we lead projects that deliver tools for individuals, startups or SMEs to build solutions that involve connectable objects and communication with services and applications.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

The biggest obstacle is proper technology adoption, in the context of identifying, implementing and deploying useful and meaningful solutions for the citizens. The technological obstacles of the past (communication, sensor size and prices, power consumption, etc.) don’t exist anymore, at least in the same extend that has prevented connectable objects and services to be deployed in large scale. What is holding back the integration process, is the lack of appropriate bottom-up designed use cases that would demonstrate the usefulness of the emerging technologies to both citizens and stakeholders (such as city authorities).

Keep reading

Smart Cities Need Smarter Business Models

Larissa Suzuki is a PhD Candidate in Software Systems Engineering at University College London and DCE Imperial College London. Her research aims at contributing to a growing body of knowledge in smart cities and urban data management. 

At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, Larissa will discuss the architectural design, business models and value chain for ultra‐large and highly interconnected systems which have the power to orchestrate people, technology, and organizations into socio-technical ecosystems that remain, even on large scale, flexible and innovative.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

The greatest opportunity we see is the realisation of platforms which will have the power to orchestrate people, technology, and organizations into a smart city ecosystem that remain, even on large scale, flexible and innovative. As there is no blue print for smart cities yet, cities wishing to become smart cities will need to create integrated plans with other cities and learn from their previous initiatives and results, instead of creating plans from scratch and in isolation. This would help cities to work together towards a common goal, which would be of benefit to the creation of interoperable cities which uses and re-use existing common standards and regulations. The participation of businesses, government, universities and the community in the creation of smart cities plans has the potential to ensure cities to overcome the barriers of growth and innovation, which will enable cities to develop new technologies at city-scale.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

The biggest obstacle is the lack of proper business models. By failing to follow appropriate business strategies, many cities have reduced the likelihood that they could succeed. My research suggests that what hinders the physical digital integration in smart cities is a combination of inappropriate businesses strategies (value chain, value proposition), technical hurdles (standards, common model, big data, etc.), social effects (technology take up, public engagement, etc.).

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Internet of Things, Sensors, Smart Textiles, AgTech 3.0 & more!

Here’s the latest news from the RE.WORK Team!

The IOT community met in San Francisco last week. What did you miss?

The Internet of Things Summit brought together industry leaders, influential technologists, researchers & startups to explore emerging trends in the IOT and discuss their impact on future business sectors and society. 

We heard about the agricultural revolution 3.0, avalanche detecting drones, computers without batteries, IOT common standards, smart textiles and much more!

“It was a fantastic event with very enlightened individuals and companies that will change the world.”  Colin Adderley, Project Manager, City of Calgary.

View an overview of the event here

Our upcoming IOT Summits take place in London in March and Boston in May. 

3 weeks until the RE.WORK Future Cities Summit!

Our annual RE.WORK Future Cities Summit in London is only a few weeks away! Join us to explore data-driven cities, low-cost sensors and transportation, air pollution monitoring and IOT, 3D printed architecture and augmented reality urban settings. 

Last few remaining passes available! Register here

World Cities Day Q&A with Usman Haque

To celebrate World Cities Day we held a tweetchat with RE.WORK Future Cities Summit speaker Usman Haque, Founder of Umbrellium, on Smart Citizens vs. Smart Cities. 

Q: “Will there be a struggle between the power of data & control, and creativity in ‘smarter’ cities?”  

A: “There’s always struggle for power. Smarter cities support creativity/flexibility for long term stability, it’s pragmatic.” Usman Haque.

Q: “What role does the ‘community’ have to play in creating 'connected cities’ with ubiquitous sensing?”  

A: I question the use of 'ubiquitous’: someone, somewhere always makes a decision (or creates an algorithm) to 'sense’ here and not there, now not then, this not that. There is no ubiquity to sensing. So the question is who gets to choose what gets sensed, and what sense is made from it; that’s where community comes in”. Usman Haque.

View the full conversation here

Internet of Things - The London Edition

We’re bringing the IOT community together in London on 12-13 March 2015 for the Internet of Things Summit

Sessions will include:

  • Wearables & Body Computing
  • Open Data
  • Future Cities
  • The Connected Home
  • Advanced Healthcare
  • Smart Textiles

What impact will IOT have on your business? 

Discounted tickets end on Friday 21 November. REGISTER NOW for your discounted ticket.

Other News not to be Missed!

This 3D Weaver Could Change the Face of Architecture & Medicine

Oluwaseyi Sosanya is Founder of Sosafresh, a loom specially designed for weaving in three dimensions. His 3D weaver technology, and the structures it can create, include applications in medical, architecture, vehicle, aerospace, and sportswear industries.

We caught up with Oluwaseyi ahead of this appearance at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit next month.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

Textiles have already changed the face of urban architecture. With the advancements in digital manufacturing I see textiles playing an even stronger role providing material that can be made on demand to spec with very little waste. Essentially rethinking how textile composites
can be use as new building materials.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?

The biggest challenge I face at the moment is scale. Scaling the process and getting it integrated into a building material takes strong support from industry. In order to get this materials out there, collaboration with a company willing to rethink their manufacturing process is essential.

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?
Crossover for other industries is something that will push the textile industry to challenge existing manufacturing processes and develop new textiles that may enter new industries.


What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise that will affect our future cities?

I am personally most excited about the increasing access to technologies that were once a challenge to engage with. At the moment we, the consumers, are becoming more empowered with the new platforms being developed that give us access to create our own products and experiences. Future cities will be full of IoT devices that tailor to customers specific needs and communicate with each other to reduce energy loss improve connectivity and increase overall performance. Many of these devices will be made by the user themselves with the desired experience and level of engagement.
At the moment we are in a bit of a renaissance. The maker movement is changing the mindset of many people. We are now empowered with the tools to perform very complicated operations. What is inspiring is that we are at a point where so many people are open to exploring. Musicians, artists, designers, and engineers are crossing fields building their own tools and are open to collaborations.


Oluwaseyi Sosanya will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCITIES

Future Cities Need 'Intelligent' Local Energy Systems

Andreas Koch is a chartered Architect and registered Energy Consultant, working in the field of energy efficient construction. Since 2012 he has been leading the research group “Energy Planning and Geosimulation” at European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER). The group’s research focus lies on energy system analysis and the spatial simulation of local energy systems.

The main focus of his research is the development of city wide energy and climate protection strategies and the spatial simulation of local energy systems. At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, Andreas’s presentation will introduce the spatial analysis applied to local systems as well as the object oriented and agent based simulation approach developed. 

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

The main challenge to me seems to increase the quality of life in cities for everybody. To do so the energy sector can deliver better services based on clean and low carbon solutions.

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Building for Climate Change - Imagining the Future City of London

Anna Mavrogianni is a Lecturer in Sustainable Building and Urban Design at the Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, The Bartlett, UCL, with several years experience in architectural design, environmental design consultancy and built environment research.

Anna believes climate change poses unprecedented challenges to our cities - as the frequency of heat waves increases, overheating risk will be amplified in cities due to the urban heat island phenomenon, and the energy retrofit targets that will make buildings increasingly airtight and insulated. At RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, she will present a series of tools and methodological frameworks developed at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE), aiming to facilitate the adaptation of our urban housing to warmer weather, ranging from a suite of sophisticated local urban climate models to a simplified indoor heat vulnerability index for UK cities.

We had a quick chat with Anna and hear her thoughts on future cities, emerging technologies and the challenges they face.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

The challenges facing our future urban environments are multifaceted and interconnected. Environmental change, intercultural interaction, social and health inequalities, economic expansion, population growth and an ageing population, are only a few examples of drivers that will potentially shape future cities. These drivers may create risks but also allow significant opportunities for innovation in academic research. We need to break down the existing silos between academic disciplines and built environment professions and work together to design low-carbon, healthy and democratic cities. I hope that these challenges will function as a catalyst for truly cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary academic work, as well as knowledge exchange with stakeholders outside the academic sector, with the aim to reframe existing problems and co-create novel solutions centred around human needs.

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What Is the Value of 'Play' in Our Urban Environments?

Sam Hill is an experience designer and co-founder of design practice PAN Studio, producing interactive objects for installations and immersive theatre, and creating experimental objects designed to find new ways of enriching everyday living. PAN Studio have created an alternate reality game using the internet and mobile devices to create fantasy worlds as virtual “layers” over the real world.

We caught up with Sam ahead of his presentation at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit in London this December.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact our future cities?

If we consider our industry to be “computer games” now, which I suppose it has become, then it’s the potential for these digital systems to engage with physical spaces. As digital infrastructure become more ubiquitous, the properties of digital gaming can pervade the city too. In turn this can change the way people see, use and reflect upon their urban environment.

What is the biggest obstacle to integrating emerging technology into urban infrastructure, cities and communities?
 
Finding the right applications, perhaps? For communities, at least, emerging technologies need be relevant on a human level. They’re far more likely to be adopted if they can clearly demonstrate having some form of experiential value – that is to say, be playful, humanising, emotionally salient, sensationally enriching or socially connective.
 
What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector?
 
We need more engineers. More makers. Though perhaps our industry gives us a skewed perspective, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of people with good ideas, so much as a shortage of people who can help to realise, prototype and improve them.

What emerging technology are you most excited about - personal or business or society wise that will affect our future cities?
 
Everyone’s coming to grips with connect objects and their possible applications in our day-to-day lives, as products and tools. However, at PAN we’re also very excited about the potential that networked objects have for culture, creative expression and play – located games, immersive theatre and interactive installations. 

Sam Hill will be speaking at RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, London, on 4-5 December. To view the full line-up and register to attend, go to: re-work.co/cities

Join the conversation on twitter with @teamrework and the hashtag #reworkCITIES

Envisioning Future Cities: Pocket Drones, Bioinspired Designs & Smart Citizens

We are experiencing an unprecedented era in the history of urbanization. How we manage the pace of urban growth will be one of the defining challenges of the 21st Century.

The Future Cities Summit, organised by RE.WORK, brings together the most influential technologists, entrepreneurs, academics, business leaders and Government officials to collaborate and reshape our future cities. Attendees of the summit will gain insight into breakthrough innovations that will have an impact on creating sustainable, intelligent and efficient future cities.

The summit will take place at The Crystal, a sustainable cities initiative by Siemens, and one of the world’s greenest buildings. Speakers will present on a wide range of emerging technologies that will shape urban infrastructure, transport methods, energy systems, mobility, architecture and local communities.

The 40+ speakers at the event includes exciting new entrepreneurs, leading technologists and engineers, and world-class researchers. Further details on the programme:

 

Mobile Robots & Pocket Drones

Mobile robots are an increasingly practical proposition for deployment in urban environments. Paul Beardsley, Principal Research Scientist at Disney Research Zurich, will demonstrate progress in deploying mobile robots and robot-human interaction. Robotics are infiltrating our lives to provide more energy efficient homes, more advanced search and rescue missions and additional education sources in schools. As we enter further into a machine world, how can we ensure robots are integrated well into society? Paul will explore the social integration of entertainment robotics and autonomous robots that can be used for scanning the 3D geometry and appearance of an environment.

The goal of the TU Delft micro aerial vehicle lab is to bring drones straight to your pocket. They envision a future where everybody will have their personal drone and use it in daily life, and pocket drones will be as normal as smartphones are today. The lab is home to flapping wing vehicles, hybrids aerial vehicles and the smallest open source autopilot in the world, a 2 by 2 cm device. Bart Remes, Project Manager, Micro Aerial Vehicle Lab, TU Delft, will discuss the future of drones as a personal device, and attendees will see a live demonstration of the pocket drone.

Bioinspired Technology

New technologies in synthetic biology and genetics give us the possibility to re-think and re-work our cities. The Genetic Barcelona Project applies genetics in architecture, from two perspectives: the real, natural and direct working with geneticists, and the metaphorical, artificial and digital using technology. Alberto T. Estévez, director of the Genetic Barcelona Project, will speak at the summit on how designers and architects can take the advantages of nature to create better cities for the future.

Marco Poletto and Claudia Pasquero, founders of ecoLogicStudio, research bio-mimetic models of self-organisation to develop adaptive urban planning strategies, and investigate the integration of biotechnological and digital communication systems for re-metabolising the urban fabric. At the Future Cities Summit, Marco and Claudia will introduce how social insects like ants can become valuable models of bottom up and adaptive design of new urban agriculture networks, and how urban microalgae can be grown in a new breed of digitally augmented “cyber-gardens”.

Responsive & Interactive Design

Usman Haque is the founder of Umbrellium: a team of architects, designers, commercial experts, producers and creative technologists with years of experience in designing and deploying award-winning participatory platforms. Usman states the “smart city” approach suggests we simply need appropriate and accurate monitoring equipment to reveal all the intricacies and complexities of a finite and knowable universe; technology helps us do these things “better”, so, the argument goes, we need more technology. Yet, cities are what Russell Ackoff might call a “mess”. Every issue interrelates to and interacts with every other issue; there is no clear “solution”; there are no universal objective parameters; and sometimes those working on problems are actually the ones who are causing them. Urban data isn’t simply discovered, it is invented, manipulated and crafted; and cities aren’t ‘solved’, they are created through the actions, motivations and decisions of their citizens. Usman will explore what is “smartness” in this context.

Big Urban Data

Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, phone GPS signals - to name a few. Cities and urban environments are the main sources for big data, as an increasingly amount of the data shared and collected is geolocated, which is creating big data that helps us better understand our cities and shape them for the future.

Andy Hudson-Smith, Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, will speak at the summit to explore systems such as The City Dashboard and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) in terms of data collection, visualization and analysis. Joining these up creates a move towards the Smart City and via innovations in IoT a look towards augmented reality pointing towards the creation of a 'Smart Citizen’ and ultimately a Smart City.

Data collection and analysis in urban environments are also utilised by Change London, a non-profit that is working to create a nationwide network of air-quality monitors in the UK. Their largest current project is AirSensa - the most detailed air quality monitoring sensor and data platform in the world. Jonathan Steel, CEO of Change London, has created a new model of technology-enabled not-for-profit organisation, which is helping to improve health, liveability, and economic outcomes for urban centres.

 

Sustainable Energy

The UN says “Mobile phones are the biggest contributor to economic growth in off-grid rural populations”, but keeping a phone charged when off-grid can be difficult and expensive. At the  Future Cities Summit Daniel Becerra, Managing Director at Buffalo Grid, will discuss how Buffalo Grid has created a reliable, affordable way to deliver power to off-grid communities - using clean solar power, no less.  This ability to charge phones cheaply and locally is an easy solution to bringing remote, rural villages into the information age. The phones and network infrastructure already exist; what is needed is a way to power them. Buffalo Grid can also be used to provide power for a range of vital uses from medical to educational applications, bringing economic growth to rural communities around the world. 

For further information and to register, go to: re-work.co/cities

For media enquiries, interviews and images, please email: scurtis@re-work.co or call +44 020 3287 0590

Innovating Smarter Urban Centers for a Sustainable Future

Lisa A. Chase, Writer and Editor, Harvard University Graduate School of Design 

Photo: Shutterstock

The future lies in the world’s cities. For an expanding and increasingly mobile global population, for policy-makers, developers and designers, the focus is on the urban landscape. Yet the prospect of more than half the world’s projected 9 billion people living, working and doing business in cities from New York to Shanghai presents daunting challenges. By 2030, twelve megacities will each be home to more than 20 million people.  Yet municipal governments in both highly industrialized and developing economies are financially and politically constrained in their ability to accommodate these rapidly expanding populations. Simultaneously, the planet faces critical natural resource scarcity and potentially devastating climate-related impacts. How can urban planners, politicians and designers reconcile these competing and conflicting trends to craft cities that are vibrant, efficient, socially and environmentally sustainable?

On December 13 at London’s historic Tobacco Dock, RE.WORK Cities will explore these questions and present provocative – and potentially surprising – solutions for crafting the 21st century urban landscape. Moderators including The Guardian‘s Jemima Kiss and the BBC’s Simon Frantz, along with  thought-leaders from academia, business and the public sector, will explore how design and technology are shaping intelligently designed, highly livable and environmentally balanced cities. Policy-makers, entrepreneurial technologists and designers including Mischa Dohler of Kings College London, theThings.io founder Marc Pous and Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT’s SENSEable City Lab, along with luminaries from Columbia University, the BBC and IBM will envision the future of the global built environment.  Presentation topics will include the future of urban mobility, environmental efficiency and sustainability, the role of the internet in creating smarter and more equitable cities, and the concept of the urban center as a living, breathing, biological ecosystem.

While increased urbanisation challenges cities to provide resilient infrastructure and public services while reducing natural resource use and environmental impacts, RE.WORK Cities will showcase the rich potential to create more efficient, socially and environmentally equitable urban spaces.  The focus at RE.WORK Cities will be on creative and intellectually collaborative solutions, rather than high-volume keynote speeches and personalities. The global challenges are urgent, the possibilities are limitless, and the future of the world’s cities will be shaped by bold and disruptive thinking.  RE.WORK Cities is your chance to be part of the 21st century urban solution.

https://www.re-work.co/cities

#rework 

It’s World Cities Day tomorrow!

To celebrate we’ll be holding a tweetchat at 3pm GMT with Usman Haque, Founder of Umbrellium. Join the discussion using the hashtag #reworkcities - we’ll be tweeting from @teamrework 

We’ll also have a special offer to bring back Super Early Bird price tickets to RE.WORK Future Cities Summit, for one day only! Visit the event site tomorrow to take advantage of the offer: re-work.co/cities

Q&A with Craig Hollingworth from Concirrus

Craig is an expert in the emerging technologies, Machine 2 Machine (M2M) and Internet of things (IOT) marketplace, having held senior positions in O2, Telefonica, France Telecom, Orange and Masternaut. 

Concirrus was formed to make it easy for companies to design, build and operate solutions for the IOT. With 10-years of experience combined with a proven methodology and a cloud-based platform for managing ‘Things’, Concirrus has simplified the World’s of IOT and M2M into a multi-award winning service for our customers.

What is the greatest opportunity in your industry to positively impact business and society? 

The Internet of Things has an impact on literally everything you can imagine.

For businesses it can remove assumption. Businesses can now collect in-depth information about their product or service in real-time. Then by understanding and organising that information, it can allow companies to take a fresh look at their current practices and generate business change. 

We’ve had a client that has literally turned his entire business around because of the Internet of Things; he went from selling cable to selling an entire service.

For Society, it’s also huge.  With everything becoming more and more connected we have the ability to understand so much more about ourselves, our environment, our world.. just everything. Concirrus recently wrote a blog post about the impact the Internet of Things has on healthcare, from assisting in the operating theatre, to helping us loose weight and stay fit, to how we look after our elderly easier… it almost feels like the possibilities are endless.

What will be the key skills/jobs required in the future for your sector? 

We’re looking for anarchists, we want people to break traditional economic models and know how to disrupt standard business processes. It’s the only way we are going to progress. At Concirrus we like to empower our staff to encourage innovation, there’s never a wrong answer.

What are the main drivers for the IOT revolution? 

The recession has been a little bit of a tinderbox in this respect, during the recession people had to look outside of the box to drive down cost, they had limited budget to do so and therefore innovated. Another key factor is simply the advancement in technology - processes are cheaper, sensors are easier to integrate into devices, communication is faster and simpler, everything is much more accessible. What were once ideas can now be made into reality. 

What are the challenges of integrating IOT into your business?

Fear of change is definitely a factor but for those who overcome that fear and integrate, it’s still not easy, there are knock on effects of everything.  We had a client in the North of England who implemented a small IOT project which fundamentally changed everything for them, they had to change their finance department, their software, their sales department…the lot, it even changed how they were valued in the marketplace. This was when we learnt that the final stage of our service, after-care, was critical.

What are the key factors to plan for post-implementation? 

I would say, be agile, be ready to keep improving and making your product and service better and better. At Concirrus we have a 5 step process, Discover, Design, Deliver, Deploy, Debate, this process repeats itself over and over again. After implementation it’s all about Debate. Here we discuss what went wrong, what went well, how the solution is working, what information we’re collecting and how can things be improved. We discuss these things all the time, once assumption is removed, we can really get to work!

 

Craig will be sharing his expertise and speaking at many of our upcoming events including RE.WORK Technology Summit London, Internet of Things Summit San Francisco, RE.WORK Cities London, RE.WORK Health Summit Dublin & Internet of Things Summit London.

Connect with Craig & Concirrus on Twitter, Linkedin & Facebook

Q&A with Lewis Davey on Future Cites

We spent a few minutes speaking with Miles Davey from Lewis Davey to look at smart cities, clean technology and sustainability. 

Q1. You work across industries of Town Planning, Sustainability and Cleantech. How do you encourage collaboration between these three sectors?
Many of the businesses that Lewis Davey work with have a wide ranging interest across Town Planning, Sustainability & Cleantech and naturally we also look to promote the other parts of our offering to our customers. It’s just a case of asking “Is there anyone else we should be speaking with?” Often we end up in meetings with a Head of Planning and a Head of Sustainability.

From our experience, Future Cities tend to tie together a lot of different divisions within a business - sometimes someone has been appointed to lead on this, other times others have an interest in Smart Cities and take a lead off their own back.

Q2. Cross-sector collaboration is key to successful smart cities. How do you recommend companies cope with the increasingly diverse number of skills required from data analysis to engineering to knowledge of rapidly advancing technologies?
From our perspective, there is no doubt that specialising in a particular industry, adds value and expertise to the recruitment process through concentrated networks and a deeper understanding. However, identifying and attracting talent still falls back to a reasonably standard methodology. Companies looking to attract the best talent should ask themselves: what’s great about working for us? what sets us apart from their competitors? What is the “opportunity” for a prospective candidate - what progression is there? You also want to spend time thinking about what problem you are looking to solve or what opportunity are you looking to maximise. Try not to be too prescriptive around qualifications, relevant experience – by thinking out of the box you are more likely to attract and find great talent.

Collaborate – speak to relevant colleagues. Get colleagues to talk to their network about what you are doing and what you want to do – you might find out some interesting information on the market that changes how you approach the hiring process. Candidates might come forward as interested in exploring at the opportunity.

Q3. Will private companies or investment from the public sector lead the transition to smarter cities?
I think it’s a mix of both. I was at a recent event and I remember Steve Lewis from Living PlanIT talking about how most the investment was coming from the private sector. Personally I think Private companies should lead on the transition but Local Authorities need to be more involved. Budgetary restraints are holding back some schemes but Smart Cities doesn’t have to be all about implementing an expensive IT system – it can be just a case of talking to a group of neighbouring local authorities and sharing resource around Energy Management, for instance. Politics needs to start looking at longer cycles. Challenges from Climate Change and population growth require us to look 20 years plus into the future and put effective strategies into place. A longer term view will help with how we look at ROI.

Q4. Smarter city implementations must address economic drivers in the city. How can urban planners and technologists ensure economic targets are met?
I think this is where collaboration comes in. If planners, architects and technologists talk to economists and governing bodies about economic targets early doors, then they are more likely to be able to integrate that into the design process. What’s the incentive to do so though if the end client is private sector ?

Q5. How important are policy frameworks and communication networks for future, smart cities?
Very. Planning policy has had an influence on where we build new developments and how we mitigate for climate change. The impacts of climate change and population growth, particularly in cities, will be immense and policy should and needs to account for this. Communication will be vital for a more connected and sustainable world where IT, Engineering and Telecoms come together.

Q6. You can create integrated, connected cities by augmenting the infrastructure already in place. Do you agree?
To an extent yes. The amount of data that is now being created is staggering and a worry though – I wonder whether there’s enough capacity to fulfil the demands? One for the IT boffins…

Q7. What skill set will be most in demand in the next decade to realise smarter cities?
I don’t think there will be anyone skill set and Smart Cities is all about bringing together a melting pot of different skills and talents. However, demand is linked to supply and, in the UK at least, there is a shortage of Engineers. With vast challenges ahead in regard to infrastructure, I can imagine that Engineers will continue to be in high demand

Q8. How should a corporate sustainability strategy align with a future cities plan?
That’s a tough one. What comes first? Most big corporates have sustainability strategies in place and obviously they should take into account their surroundings. Certainly any city wide transport initiatives and such like should be integrated into a sustainability strategy.

Q9. What emerging technologies will be most disruptive for the third industrial revolution?
Energy Storage should play a massive part. As the Grid becomes Smarter and decentralised energy increases how we store our energy will be key.

Q10. Which cities are currently leading the way to a smarter, more efficient and sustainable future?
I’m from the South West so I’d have to mention Bristol. Glasgow obviously did well out the Future Cities as did Peterborough. Further afield Cape Town and Bilbao and Copenhagen have done great things.

Lewis Davey are partnering the RE.WORK Cities Summit taking place in London on 4-5 December. Find out further information on how to attend here

GOOD presents the first-ever GOOD City Index

GOOD’s Human Possibility Issue (hitting newsstands December 18) dives into the first-ever GOOD City Index. Weighing factors like civic engagement, transportation, green space, diversity and work/life balance, GOOD editors culled the data and solicited a network of global correspondents from all over the world to create a provocative and improbable compendium of 50 cities of “possibility.”

GOOD thinks humans are awesome. If you do too, you might enjoy an entire issue of devoted to “human possibility” in it’s myriad, and sometimes unlikely, forms. Subscribe to GOOD today and receive the Human Possibility Issue before it hits newsstands.

RE.WORK Cities attendees will receive copies at the event!