Tag Archives: smart city

Smart Cities, not only new Research Papers but also exciting forecast!

The debate about SMART CITY is booming, both as an opportunity to drive a more sustainable economic development and an incubator of innovation and transformation that can merge the Virtual World of Mobile Services, Internet of Things and Social Networks with the Physical Infrastructures of Smart Building, Smart Utilities (i.e. electricity, heating, water, waste, transportation, and unified communication&collaboration infrastructure).

William J. Mitchell stated it many years ago “Our cities are fast transforming into artificial ecosystems of interconnected, interdependent intelligent digital organisms”, but now there is a growing agreement about leading advisors like Forrester, McKinsey, Pike Research, ABIResearch and investors, including public ones like the EU SETIS Roadmap (next figure), that the transformation of the metropolitan landscape is driven by the opportunity to embed intelligence into any component of our towns and connect them in real time merging physical world of objects, humans and virtual conversation and transactions.

EU SmartCity Roadmap

Let’s start with some examples of smart city investments:

· South Korea : Songdo (Incheon) privately developed city : $35-$42 billion, climbing, flagship of Cisco’s Smart + Connected communities, ubiquitous tele-presence

· India: Lavasa, IPO $437 million (planned), Hindustan Construction Company ,Wipro and Cisco; Kochi: 90K new jobs, Nano City,

· China is the country where the transformation is more quickly: 18+ cities have announced smart city plans. Ningbo:“smart city action plan” $6.4 billion in 5 years, 87 individual projects. premier Wen Jiabao speech @Wuxi: “Internet + Internet of Things = Wisdom of the Earth.” Plus: Caofeidian ($450 billions by 2030) Beijing, Shanghai, Wuxi, Chengdu, Wuhan, Kunming, Foshan, Shenzhen, Shenyang ($40 million), Hunan cluster (8 cities) and Guangzhou.

· United Arab Emirates: Masdar, $22 billions (Project by Norman Foster)

· Many other leading Smart Cities: King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC, Saudi Arabia),Malta, Skolkovo (Russia), PlanIT Valley (Portugal), Dubuque (US:Iowa), Holyoke (US:Massachusetts), San Diego (US: California), Amsterdam (NL EUR1,1 billion by 2012), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Singapore, Sydney, Yokohama & Fujisawa (Japan), Curitiba (BR).

Recently several analysts provided some exciting forecasts, for example:

· ABI Research on smart city : $8.1 billion spent in 2010, $39.5 billion by 2016. There are 102 active or completed smart city projects (EU 38 cities, NA 35, APAC 21, MEA 6)

· Pike Research on smart city : over $100 billion will be spent in next 10 years

· Lux Research: “Technologies for Future Cities: Integrating Efficiency, Sustainability, and Environmental Concerns”: by 2032, over $40 trillion should be required to retrofit and expand dated urban infrastructure in Brownfield cities, adding to investment for building new Greenfield efficient future cities like Masdar in Abu Dhabi: $22 billion and Songdo in Korea: $42 billion.

There are many consulting companies that have dedicated teams on smart cities that are publishing new reports, for example:

· McKinsey has previously stated that “Over the next 15 years, 600 cities will account for more than 60 percent of global GDP growth” and provided a tool “Global Cities of the future” for “Exploring the globe and view data on the dramatic urban growth expected by 2025”, in another research focused on How green are China’s cities?, and in “What Matters online” has identified the “What matters about Cities” as a core topic in which is involving some of the best thinkers from around the world in the discussion.

· Forrester launched a Smart City Tweet Jam and published many researches addressing the different segment of Smart City stakeholders, for example: Helping CIOs Understand “Smart City” Initiatives, Securing Smart City Infrastructure, Smart City Leaders Need Better Governance Tools.

Not for profits organization are also working seriously on this topic, for example:

· As part of the SMART2020 program The Climate Group has published, Information Marketplaces: The New Economics of Cities, that was written in partnership with, Arup, Accenture, Horizon and the University of Nottingham, in order to investigates how technology can be used in cities to meet the growing challenges of expanding urbanization.

· ICLEI, that published the Global Report “Financing the Resilient City, A white paper” seeks to build Sustainable Communities and Cities by enabling local governments achieve justice, security, resilience, viable economies, and healthy environments. The four initiatives are: Resilient Communities and Cities, Just and Peaceful Communities, Viable Local Economies, and Eco-efficient Cities. For an overview you can read the Resilient Cities profile brochure.

Smart City revolution is coming to Italy, too. Some early projects were already done in the past, for example European Smart Cities project compared Ancona (51th), Perugia (52th), Trento (45th) and Trieste (49th) with other early smart EU cities, more recently the Rete città intelligenti was promoted by ForumPA with IBM, including smaller towns effort like Monteveglio with Transition Town or those involved in the ZeroCO2 Communities project.

But it was the FP7 European Initiative on Smart Cities that has ignited many local Public administrations, such as Genova, Torino, Bari, Firenze, Milano, Parma, Palermo to launch new initiatives in order to take advantage of the opportunity of funding (10 000 – 12 000 M€ for a total of 40 000 M€ ). Obviously competition is hard since EU will co-finance only 25 large cities (>500 000 inhabitants) and 5 very large cities (>1 000 000 inhabitants) committing to implement the proposed demonstration, testing and deployment programmes in the 3 sectors – buildings, energy networks and transport and to go beyond the 2020 EU climate and energy targets.

There are also many other efforts in place, one of the most forward looking is at the heart of the design of the EXPO 2015 exhibition (6 month since may 1st 2015, 20 million visits planned), inheriting the legacy of EXPO 2010, whose theme “better city better life” was already connected to the development of sustainable smart cities . Digital Smart City Expo 2015 will be built and operated on state of the art technology, in order to propose a model for Smart Cities of the Future, in terms of infrastructure, operations and services to visitors/citizens. It will also “empower visitors to become food-aware citizens, combining groundbreaking technological services with environmental sustainability as a template for our future cities”.



Smart City from IBM and Innovatori JAM

IBM has presented yesterday, during the Smarter Cities Europe analyst briefing in Milan, a new, very interesting solution (including a Lecture by Colin Harrison, IBM Distinguished Engineer and Master Inventor):  the IBM Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities for building a more resilient society starting from sustainable smart cities using and holistic, ICT enabled approach. IBM Italy also showed a new demo room: “Major Smart Office” based on it (even if personally I was not too excited about the early version of the demo itself, because integration from some of best of breed projects missed a clear focus to the specific needs of a public local administration, as those that are common in Europe; probably the role based dashboard can be improved to make it more effective). This solution is a framework, delivered as part of the IBM Government Industry Framework , that  “synchronizes and analyzes efforts among sectors and agencies as they happen, giving decision makers consolidated information that helps them anticipate—rather than just react to—problems. By using these tested approaches, cities can manage growth and development in a sustainable way that minimizes disruptions and helps increase prosperity for everyone”.  It was derived insight from about 2,000 smarter cities projects around the world (20% in EU) in which IBM was involved or leaded (one of them “Bolzano Living safe”, presented the same day, related to health monitoring of elderly living alone in urban environment, was my favorite), aiming to enable the real-time communication and collaboration, reduce the impact of crisis situations and the overall cost of maintenance and repairs, minimize life-threatening issue and disruptions to public services and activities for citizens and city users. Various ICT components, such as Business Intelligence and prediction, where IBM has a strong reputation, and technologies from selected partners, such as sensors and smart grid and building can be selectively configured to specific needs (even if my first impression was that a monolithic “company ERP like” or “operating system architecture” approach might have influenced the design, that sounds to me more appealing for the new big smart cities of APAC). What makes it more interesting , in my opinion, is that the solution is made available also for IBM SmartCloud, with a subscription model that makes it attractive, in an CAPEX constrained public sector scenario, above all for medium size cities (or consortium of smaller towns). Obviously the core advantage of this SAAS solution  is related to the opportunity of quickly leveraging the outcomes of leading smart cities projects, the gateways to external data sources (including a rich partner ecosystem) and ability of IBM Global services to tune the system to the specific rules, issues and constraints of a local administration, ability to provide quick dynamic power and capability to specific planned events (such as Olympics games or world EXPO), or provide a new infrastructure after a major catastrophic event. You can find the IBM solution brief here . You can also browse IBM redbooks for Smarter Cities Series starting from: “A Foundation for Understanding IBM Smarter Cities”.

I also take the opportunity to invite you (or at least Italian speaking ones)  to the Innovatori Jam 2011 on September 14th-15th, a social Web 2.0 based event, that allow up to 20000 people to discuss and interact on 10 topics (forums), one of them is “Smart Cities” J. This Jam is organized by the” Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri – Agenzia per la diffusione delle tecnologie per l’innovazione” with IBM as technology partner and il Sole 24 ore as a media partner with the support of many “communities” including Think! For Innovation (a not for profit Innovation knowledge foundation) that I support, where you can find my related paper: The Smart City vision: How Innovation and ICT can build smart, “liveable”, sustainable cities.

Innovatori Jam 2011It will be very interesting to test this brainstorming tool in the Italian scenario, since one year ago in England, the Coventry City Council held a three-day IBM Jam (CovJam) to engage in substantial conversation with its citizens and stakeholders about the city’s future. Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, stated: “People know that we can’t change overnight, that we need to take baby steps to being a smarter city with low-cost, practical projects. I was really impressed with some straightforward, not very costly ideas that people would like us to implement over the next few years.”

The five  topics for CovJam were:

  • The Rebirth of Coventry – thinking of ways to improve the urban landscape of Coventry
  • Sent to Coventry – discussing what Coventry wants to be renowned for
  • Aspiring Coventry – looking at how to raise the expectations of Coventry and its citizens
  • Community Cohesion – examining how people in Coventry can get on with each other
  • Citizens in the Driving Seat – discussing how Coventry residents can have control of the city

Ningbo a leading chinese example of smart city

Smart cities are booming in Asia as urbanization is moving at the same pace there.  21 megacities already account for 9% of the world urban population; 97% of the fastest growing cities are in growth markets, 8 in China, 11 in India.  The China’s urban population has expanded rapidly in recent years. McKinsey estimated in a report in 2009 that an additional 350 million people, more than the population of the U.S., would move to the cities by 2015. More than 220 Chinese cities will have more than one million people (there are currently only 35 in Europe). This help to explain why in China, as many as 18 cities (according to a Lux Research report) have announced smart city plans. These include some of the biggest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, and a number of small to medium-size cities, such as Ningbo, Wuxi, Chengdu, Wuhan, Kunming, Foshan, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.

Ningbo is a seaport city in Zhejiang province, not too far from Shanghai since 2008, when a 33 km cross-sea bridge was built, allowing travel to Shanghai in less than two hours, with a population of 7.6 million inhabitants. Last year Ningbo released its action plan for developing as a Smart City (2011-2015) and soon it will held the “China Smart City Technology & Applications Expo”. According to the smart city plan, RMB 40.7 billion  will be invested in projects in the next 5 years (12th Five-Year Plan period). The plan address Five “Speed Ups”: Speed up construction of international strong port, building a modern metropolis, industrial restructuring, building a Smart City, construction of ecological civilization and improvement of life quality. There are 87 individual projects covering logistics, manufacturing, public services, energy, social administration, traffic, healthcare, residential site management, and entertainment services. For example IBM Smart Logistics Center, Ningbo Branch Corporation of Tata of India, BT Cloud Computing Center, Shuguang Cloud Computing Center have come to settle in.  Recently 100 companies and research institutes in Ningbo have formed a huge industrial chain of Internet of Things. The IoT is to generate an output value of RMB 5000 billion in coming 10 years. Currently, the Ningbo companies of IoT are mainly engaged in application solutions, sensors, transmission and telecom, computing, etc. Last year, they generated income of 10 billion yuan (excluding those from operators). With the progress of the Smart City construction, a number of application demo projects featuring the IOT technology are being undertaken, such as smart logistics and smart health care. With regard to infrastructure, the city has had a high-speed intranet and internet that covers all the urban areas, with the outlet bandwidth of 580 G. There are 10.55 million mobile phone subscribers, 840,000 3G subscribers. 1.77 million households have had internet access. With the progress of the Wireless Ningbo project, the 3G-based wireless wideband network has reached every corner of the city. A new-generation wireless network with TD-LTE as the core is to be built soon.  Also Smart Grid is part of the effort: during the 12th “Five-year Plan” period, Ningbo will invest 16.5 billion into the construction of the power grid. In fact  the electricity consumption in Ningbo will maintain a relatively rapid growth, with an expected average annual growth rate of 9.8% in its maximum load and 9.0% in its power supply volume in 2015. Ningbo power grid will develop photovoltaic power and wind power projects, adding an energy capacity of 100Mw. It will strive to achieve a 10% coverage of clean energy including natural gas, wind power, solar energy and biomass energy, thus furthering optimizing the proportion of energy supply. Ningbo will speed up also the construction of rechargeable power stations, three of medium-size and 60 rechargeable piles in the first phase. An official from Ningbo Power Bureau stated that “The average time of power failure will be drop down, from current 45 minutes down to 5 minutes or so. Power failure notification and pre-control can be accurate to every household. People can make reasonable electricity plans, control home appliances, watch TV through power line and so on, all with the help of smart interactive system.”
“China Smart City Technology & Applications Expo” will open from September 2 to 4 in Ningbo, it is China’s first and largest expo on the subject of smart city, and it will consist of the exhibitions and forums. The 21,000 m2 exhibition area has been fully booked by over 300 companies. Information from the organizing committee shows that 70% of the exhibiting companies are engaged in IT business, including 12 world top 500 companies, such as HP, IBM, Microsoft, NEC, HUAWEI, SIEMENS, etc, 4.4 billion purchasing funds by government. It is estimated that the fair is to attract 35000 visitors, including 10,000 professionals and 25000 common people.

The official government site states: “The city has made great progress in major projects for smart city construction. A meeting held on July 8th 2011 stated that the schemes for three pilot programs have been completed, which are about smart logistics, smart health care and smart social management. Some breakthroughs have been made and a large number of major projects have been settled so far; a number of other programs have been started, such as smart transport, smart Chengguan, smart manufacturing, trade, energy use, home services, etc.”

Amsterdam a leading Smart City

Probably the European town that is now the most committed to sustainability by leveraging the “Smart city” approach is Amsterdam. The Minister Jacqueline Cramer of VROM (Housing, Regional Development and Environment) declared on 3 June 2009 when launching the “Amsterdam Smart City” initiative: It is a very daring, ambitious plan. These are also the goals of Amsterdam endorsement of Accenture Intelligent City Network. Companies and local government institutions work together in different fields to make the city more energy-saving. This approach not only benefits the environment and health of Amsterdam citizens, but also the spending power and employment. This is the way the cabinet of the Netherlands likes to see it: municipalities addressing the climate and credit crisis at the same time. The experiences gained from Amsterdam amongst others can be applied elsewhere in the world.

Amsterdam Smart City is an ongoing effort lead by Liander, regional grid operator and Amsterdam Innovation Motor (AIM); within a two-year period, fifteen projects will be implemented in the sustainable focus areas: Working, Living, Mobility and Public Space. Many companies such as IBM, Accenture and CISCO are involved in this project or other related ones. For example Cisco will develop the network to connect household appliances to an energy management system; IBM will create the network inside the home, including connecting the home network to the web; Accenture will manage the integration of smart grid technology such as smart meters, oversee the analysis and use of data gleaned from the smart grid buildout, and support other carbon-reducing projects, and Dutch utility Nuon will develop the applications for the energy management system. Amsterdam Smart City is also partly financed by the European Fund for regional development of the European Commission. For Example Amsterdam has more than 500 km of cycle tracks and lanes, plus 900 km of bicycle friendly roads (60% of the total amount) with speed ramps and a maximum speed of 30 km/h. Amsterdam as a whole city has 740 car sharing spots (200 in the center). 90% of all housing in Amsterdam is within 400 m of a car sharing spot and in the center 80% has a car sharing spot within less than 100 m. The ultimate goal of Amsterdam Smart City is to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2025, a feat that would place it ahead of many other cities in the Netherlands and Europe and, perhaps, attract an increasingly sustainability-minded population.

In the newsletters for example the following projects, to reduce energy use, CO2 emissions, congestion and noise, were announced:

  • The Utrechtsestraat in the Amsterdam city centre will be transformed into a Climate street, the most sustainable shopping street in Europe in cooperation with the local entrepreneurs and several enterprises. Multiple stakeholders are learning which technologies, concepts, approach and forms of cooperation are most successful to make the public space, more sustainable on a large scale. The  following Sustainable Working initiatives are planned: Smart meters & grid, Energy feedback display,  Energy scan trough the Energy desk of the Climate agency of Amsterdam, Smart plugs.  Climate Street wants to test what can be possible with the integration of: energy management systems, solar panels, water management and rubbish disposal, guided by smart grid technology, which prompts items to run on time and with the greatest efficiency. Recently the 39 energy scans in the entrepreneur’s area has yielded measures that make cost reductions of almost € 60,000 per year and environmental savings of 172,922 kg CO2 per year possible. In the last few months the first 19 entrepreneurs received a Plugwise set that was installed in their shop/restaurant, giving them insight into their energy use. The Quby of Home Automation Europe, that is used in the Climate street, recently won the “Smart Grids Innovation Award 2011”.
  • The ITO tower in the Amsterdam Zuidas area will be made sustainable with the help of the latest smart building technology for energy saving.
  • Children are learning to use energy economically at primary schools, also using an online portal.
  • 250 households testing new energy management systems in Haarlem, where Lianderin cooperation with Plugwise, provides smart plugs to enable consumers to make more informed decisions about their energy consumption.
  • Onze Energie” (Our energy) program: residents own in a cooperative a windmill park.
  • JCDecaux and Ziut introduce the GrauaLight Dimmer, an intelligent system to dim the lights in street furniture (e.g.  bus shelters, city light panels and billboards) to save up to 40% energy, while maintaining maximum visibility for outdoor advertising posters.
  • The Transmission & Distribution Europe / Smart Grids Europe Congress was held in Amsterdam from 29 to 31 March 2010. The focus of the congress was on how to create an energy system that will be stable, sustainable and profitable, now and in the future, and on developments in the field of smart grids. Amsterdam also hosted to the Smart Grids, Smart Cities, Smart Future Congress that was held on 9 and 10 November 2010. The congress was dedicated to the discussion on the development of smart networks and related issues. A great deal of attention was given to the different Smart Cities: Boulder, Amsterdam, Masdar, Malaga and Malta.
  • The Amsterdam Harbour officially put its new electric charging points into commission at the beginning of February (a similar effort was taken in Venice). As of now, all moored inland navigation and river-cruise vessels are bound to use this sustainable electricity. This is clean and sustainable and generates less noise and less CO2 emissions, and therefore promotes cleaner air.
  • By showing municipal swimming pools sustainable initiatives, these public spaces can learn how to use their energy more wisely. Amsterdam Smart City introduces several sustainable initiatives and technologies, such as the liquid swimming pool covering of HeatSavr, that being lighter than water it counters evaporation.
  • The living lab movement is growing rapidly in Europe. With already 150 locations in the European network of Living Labs. The leading living labs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Finland joined forces and started the Apollon project, which focuses on eHealth and energy efficiency. New solutions are tested across national borders to enhance cooperation.
  • On 20 April 2011, in NEMO Science Center, two years of results will be presented. Four sub areas, 14 projects, more than 50 partners; everything will be on show. The programme will consist of a plenary session, inspiring workshops and panel discussions.

Several best practices are documented: deploying smart grids, testing smart meters and “smart” energy applications with customers on site is a main area of activity for cities. For instance:

  • Amsterdam plans to invest 200 million Euro in a smart grid, particularly investing in the network mid-level. Distributed energy generation is only possible with intense management, regulation of demand and supply through ICT because renewable sources have an higher variability (think of spikes due to clouds in concentrated photovoltaic, quick variable wind speed, plug-in hybrid and electric car connected to recharge stations, smart appliances in home automation or the security risk in case of attempts to hacker the power grid).

Amsterdam is also member of the Connected Urban Development (CUD) cities with San Francisco, Amsterdam, Seoul, Birmingham, Hamburg, Lisbon, and Madrid. It’s a leading initiative with CISCO that aims to demonstrate how to leverage ICT, above all high connectivity and collaboration, in order to reduce carbon emissions, delivering innovative, sustainable models for urban planning and economic development.

The IQPC’s Smart Cities Summit, taking place February 23-24 in Rotterdam, will be an opportunity to learn Smart City best practices from Amsterdam and other European frontrunners

Infomobility: Jungo, Tandem, Viamente

Infomobility is a core component of smart city, green mobility and efficient supply chain. There are many examples of innovative usage of ICT and web 2.0 in reducing cost, time and environmental impact due not only to decreased energy and fuel usage but also related  to lower road usage and pollution (CO2, PMx, NOx).

For example look at:

•        Jungo : a new solution to facilitate car sharing

•        Tandem mobility: for car pooling

A new interesting entry that I met at IBAN Clean technology forum is Viamente

We’ll keep investing in math and cloud computing with the final goal to support a green economy of mobility. In other words, we want to reduce the operating expenses and boost business of our customers while reducing the social costs generated by their need to move people, food and all other goods.

Viamente offers end-to-end solutions for the optimization of pickup and/or delivery routes via a number of intuitive and compelling Web Applications (on the clouds), to manage a fleet dynamically.
It provides interactive route optimization in case of:

•                pickup and delivery applications

•                multiple vehicles with limited capacity

•                management of desired/required time windows

•                Management of fixed and variable appointments

A Demo WebApp is avaliable.

Sincerely, Donato