Category Archives: Smart cities

Perspective: Learning from urban mobility systems in the Middle East


By Ralf Baron, Thomas Kuruvilla, Morsi Berguiga, Michael Zintel, Joseph Salem, and Mario Kerbage

The Middle East may have been late to urbanization, but this has provided a unique opportunity to shape its urban mobility strategies.

Rather than adopting a piecemeal approach, leaders such as Dubai are following an ecosystem model that addresses mobility holistically.

In this article, contributed by experts at consultancy Arthur D Little, the authors explain this new model and the lessons it provides for other cities across the world as they struggle to meet their own urban mobility challenges. 

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Daimler offers vision of future cities built around autonomous vehicles

daimler future cities

Daimler’s vision of future cities includes autonomous vehicles, such as cars and drones, as shown in this artist’s illustration. Image credit: Daimler

The Daimler and Benz Foundation is funding what it says is a new interdisciplinary research project which looks at the possible effects of autonomous driving on European cities.

The Foundation says the project is aimed at answering the question: How will autonomous vehicles shape the cities of the future?

Formally entitled “Avenue 21 – Autonomous Transport: Developments in Urban Europe”, the Foundation’s team of scientists is examining the question of how European cities will evolve through autonomous driving – and the influence of urban structures on the development of autonomous traffic. 

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Big feature: Historic opportunities presented by smart cities

city by the water

Experts from the Arthur D Little consultancy provide a detailed overview of the historic, “trillion-dollar” opportunity presented by the move to smart cities, in this article by Ralf Baron, Morsi Berguiga, Jaap Kalkman, Adnan Merhaba, Ansgar Schlautmann, Karim Taga

The 100 largest cities in the world produce 25 per cent of the planet’s wealth. To succeed, more and more cities are going “smart” in order to meet their biggest challenges and enrich the quality of their citizens’ lives.

This unstoppable trend is driving double-digit growth in a trillion-dollar global market.

What are the opportunities for telecom companies, utilities, financial institutions, transportation companies, software developers, equipment manufacturers and others in the smart-city market? 

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Minority Report style highly personalised advertising moves one step closer

Cloudian, a provider of hybrid cloud object storage systems, has launched a system which recognises cars and displays advertising appropriate to the vehicle, and possibly its owner.

Cloudian says its HyperStore technology-enabled roadside digital advertising project in Tokyo has transitioned from a proof-of-concept to production use.

Spearheaded by Cloudian, Dentsu, and Intel, the project employs artificial intelligence-based vehicle recognition using HyperStore’s object storage and deep learning capabilities to present relevant display ads to drivers based on vehicle make and model. 

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Singapore: ‘From successful city to smart nation’

Singapore is a city state which blends tradition and modernity.

Now, authorities are looking to take the next step and go from being a successful city to a smart nation.

Among the many technology initiatives the authorities have embarked on is to introduce robots into the lives of elderly people, as well as teach them how to use computers to basic and advanced levels.

This video shows a robot designed to guide elderly residents through a series of exercises to help maintain them in the best possible health, and computer classes.

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Smart cities: A matrix of information superhighways


Tokyo, the world’s most populous city, with almost 40 million residents. Picture by Moyan Brenn, via Wikimedia

Johannes Petrowisch, partner account manager at industrial automation software company Copa-Data, discusses the role of data collection and analysis in the smart cities of tomorrow

The largest ant colonies in the world contain over 300 million individuals and cover areas that are several kilometres wide. Ants mostly rely on tactile and chemical means of communication to keep these huge systems in order.

Luckily, as humans, we have additional tools at our disposal to make our homes and cities more efficient, more organised and, to put it simply, better places to live in.

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UK councils ‘not on track’ for smart city delivery, says new report

red telephone box london

Many local governments are lacking the budget, leadership and capability to progress smart initiatives and connected technology in cities across the UK.

This is the conclusion of a study by a company called Lucy Zodion, which surveyed almost 200 local authorities in Britain.

The research reveals that smart cities are not deemed a strategic priority for the majority of councils in the UK, and identifies barriers to delivery that are stifling progress in many local authorities. 

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NXP to provide smart city technologies to Columbus

nxp smart cities - columbus at night

Columbus to use NXP solutions, including real-time vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication systems and secure public transportation smart cards for a more intelligent urban transportation system

NXP Semiconductors says its technologies for smart cities, including sophisticated vehicle communications solutions, RFID tagging and Smart Card ICs, play a key role in Columbus, Ohio’s winning proposal for the US Department of Transportation’s (DoT) Smart City Challenge.

NXP, through its partnership with the DoT, is working with Columbus to help deploy wireless technology allowing cars to securely exchange data, prevent accidents and improve traffic flow, as well as Smart Card ICs to make secure public transportation access fast and easy for credit- and cash-economy-based passengers alike. 

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Most people don’t know what a smart city is, say engineers

future world

What the future might look like

IET calls for public engagement campaign around benefits of new technology

Only 18 per cent of the British public has heard of a “smart city”, according to research carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). The research is reported in a new IET report, Smart Cities – Time to involve the people, which also reveals low interest in the technologies typically associated with smart cities. For example, only 8 per cent saw a value in being able to order driverless or electric transport from their smart phone.

Cities’ adoption of new technologies has traditionally involved little consultation with consumers. As a result, the report suggests that the public has yet to buy into the idea of smart cities – and be convinced of the value and benefits that technology, delivered on a city-scale, could bring to their daily lives.

New disruptive technologies and applications such as Uber (on-demand taxi services) and Airbnb (online accommodation service) may help to change hearts and minds, but the findings suggest there is still some way to go. 

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Dok-Ing discusses autonomous firefighting truck with Indonesian authorities

Dok-Ing’s autonomous firefighting truck

Dok-Ing’s autonomous firefighting truck

Croation robotics and automation company Dok-Ing is in discussions with Indonesian authorities on the provision of its technologies to help with emergency services. 

Konstantin Darmaniyan, Dok-Ing’s chief technical advisor, held a meeting with the representatives of the Jakarta Province Fire and Rescue Brigade to discuss technical and operational advantages of the MVF-5 unmanned application in their work.

The MVF-5 is Dok-Ing’s multifunctional robotic firefighting system developed to extinguish fires in life threatening conditions and inaccessible areas. The system is operated from a safe distance by using remote-control technology. The MVF-5 extends the reach of fire fighters as to protect high risk industrial facilities and other dangerous environments, says the company. 

Study reveals how the way we live will change in the next 100 years

A team of leading academics has made a number of predictions for how we will live in the future. Many of the predictions were influenced by environmental conditions, with growing populations leading to the development of structures that are better able to cope with space constraints and diminishing resources.

Super-skyscrapers which will dwarf the Shard, underwater bubble cities and origami furniture are all likely to be reality in 100 years’ time. That’s the verdict of the new study which paints a vivid picture of our future lives; suggesting the way we live, work and play will change beyond all recognition over the course of the next century.

The SmartThings Future Living Report was authored by a team of leading academics including TV presenter and one of the UK’s leading space scientists, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, award-winning futurist architects and lecturers at the University of Westminster Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, as well as pioneering urbanists Linda Aitken and Els Leclerq.

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