Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

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SmartCities

FountainBlue’s December 6 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings’. Thank you also to our gracious host at Hyundai. Below are notes from the conversation.  

As usual, our executives in attendance for this month’s roundtable represented a wide breadth of companies, industries, experience and perspectives. They shared many common thoughts around this month’s topic.

They each agreed that it’s always about the data. (Of course it’s about the data.!) However, instead of thinking about the vast volumes of generated data (which has doubled in the last 3-5 years!), think about how best to filter that data so that it’s immediately relevant, as defined by individual users.

In the context of smart cities and smart buildings, remember that we are talking about 1) physical hardware – from networks to computers to robotics and sensors – and 2) the data generated by all these physical elements (see above), and then 3) the leveraging of that data through software and integrated solutions so that we address specific customer and market needs. 

Below are several specific use cases.

  • Automobile manufacturers are becoming smart mobility partners as well. It’s not just about selling cars, it’s about providing an experience which keeps drivers and passengers connected and safe. 
  • Robotics solutions will help deliver goods to the last mile, within city infrastructure – both physical and digital (networks). 
  • Provide transit for the last mile in crowded cities – transit which is flexible, customizable and safe. 
  • Occupancy maps for buildings and more sophisticated lighting and heating options will optimize building efficiency. The technology is available for the most part, but the adoption may be slow.
  • Doors becoming sensors may help manage security and access into buildings.
  • Sophisticated cameras can help proactively target the type of outlying behaviors worthy of action, and quickly mobilize relevant authorities. 
  • Connecting inanimate objects with each other – car-to-car, car-to-building, sensor-to-building, etc., can help address specific communication and collaboration and safety goals. It will also generate huge volumes of data which need to be managed proactively.
  • Provide low-friction shared mobility in collaboration with local cities, businesses, citizens while also respecting the privacy and security of all participants. Then leveraging aggregated and anonymized data to better understand how we can anticipate and serve individuals, groups, etc., and better anticipate the motivations and behaviors of individuals. There are many business implications if this is done well. 

Below are thoughts on how generating relevant data will lead to new businesses and better business models.

  • With volumes of collected data, you can not just understand who’s going where when, but also look at the patterns of behavior and see what might be impacting specific behaviors. These ‘movement maps’ is machine learning at its finest!
  • The ability to dynamically filter data based on a multitude of factors will create endless business opportunities, especially if the same data set can serve many different niche customers, and deeply serve individual customers.
  • Understanding past behaviors and data, and also current patterns of behavior will help businesses better anticipate and address needs. The possibilities are endless.
  • Having a standard set of protocols and formats will help integrate and manage data. Collaboration needs to happen in order to set these standards.

The group shared some final thoughts in specific areas:

  • Personalization is key – how do you both provide exactly and specifically what someone wants while also dynamically serving everyone else and their specific needs?
  • Security is fundamental. 
  • Privacy is to always be respected. 
  • Collaboration between government authorities, businesses, investors, users, etc., is essential.

We concluded with many thoughts on the Circular Economy and asked ourselves how can we all do good – serving those with some basic human needs, while also doing well? What’s the business case for serving those with the basic needs and who will help bring everyone forward. We didn’t have an answer, but agreed with Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”


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