A New Chapter is Opening for Smart Cities
Who will you meet?
Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.
Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.
Over the course of Meeting of the Minds 2014 in Detroit, my fellow attendees and I heard from a number of subject matter experts in a variety of areas on the evolution of our urban centers. Although it’s difficult to succinctly summarize the learnings from the event, my main takeaways were three-fold:
- There is a continued transition to increased local engagement in solving the challenges that face our cities. According to the leaders closest to these transitions, this is not expected to change;
- As a result, there is also a continued transition to more robust public-private partnerships that are changing the paradigms on how we engage with our local governments and communities;
- Technology advances are streamlining the fundamental changes listed above, enabling efficiencies and customization heretofore unavailable
These shifts are working and resulting in better government, better community engagement, and ultimately, a better experience for people living in cities. To me, this is especially impressive given the complexity of the issues and the disparity of interests (both real and perceived) of stakeholders. This move towards localization has been catalyzed by the financial challenges of the last few years and the forced shift away from federal and state programs that provided support because the funding just wasn’t there. What has filled the vacuum are wonderfully creative experiments that move away from “business as usual” and are driven by cooperation between local governments, NGOs, philanthropic organizations, the business community, and the community at large.
At Meeting of the Minds, we learned that there are several key elements to the evolution from cooperation in theory to successful collaboration in practice. These include:
- The ubiquitous agreement that “business as usual” is not sustainable
- The shift to the broader focus on the economic vitality of our communities
- The increasing comfort with experimentation at the policy level to address issues
- The ability to efficiently individualize interactions, and attain levels of insight previously not available
The last point, which is also an enabler of the first three elements, is focused on the increasing capability of technology which is enabling several shifts to take place:
- More directed experimentation (with diminished consequences if unsuccessful), thereby increasing the appetite for innovation,
- The ability to move towards reduced government, but lose none of the positive governance effects of government, and
- Increasing the relationship between the private and public sector, on an individual basis as well as with organizations.
Some examples cited in the discussions at the event include:
- increased autonomy for restaurant inspectors in New York to personalize the interaction with the local restauranteurs and community
- broad based mapping of problematic real estate in Detroit to develop plans for improvement
- kiosks set up in malls in various cities to enable rendering of services to citizens in a more efficient manner, and
- comprehensive water management systems for floods and hurricanes (patterned after innovations in Europe).
There Is Now A Charted Course
What is so important about the successes and best practices documented at Meeting of the Minds is that the innovation case studies created by these forward-thinking efforts now enable other communities and leaders to have a blue print they can follow to adapt these public / private partnerships, innovative thinking, and integration of technology to:
- Improve governance in a resource-constrained environment,
- Tackle problems previously unsolved by traditional means, and
- Integrate new technologies to lower costs and improve services (e.g., microgrid development)
This new way of doing things ultimately enables companies like Cardano Networks to deploy their capabilities to achieve the largest value addition to its customers. In regards to energy generation and consumption, it drives the integration of the energy value chain in conjunction with the IT value chain to create synergies to make new advances a reality (like, as stated before, the microgrid).
How It Relates to Companies like Cardano
This enablement is key for Cardano Networks, as it fulfills its mission to be the recognized leader of software and service solutions for integrated data and large-scale analytics, thereby enabling customized operational excellence and business value for our customers.
Cardano’s core value proposition is its complex, comprehensive, real-time analytical capabilities, enabling more robust, granular, faster, real-time integrated use of machine-generated data. Additionally, through CAN (Cardano Affiliate Network), Cardano integrates complementary skill sets from its partners to create a seamless solution so that the value proposition of customized and comprehensive use of large volumes of smart grid and related data generation can now be used to adapt current energy systems and implement new energy systems that are all more efficient, secure, safe, and clean.
Cardano’s capabilities lie in its ability to analyze the “Internet of Things” and apply them to energy and infrastructure and then integrate that analysis into the operations of defense systems, government operations, manufacturing, and other small-to-large scale operational platforms. Recent policy and partnership advances demonstrated at Meeting of the Minds shows that the time has come where these types of capabilities can truly be useful to our broader communities.
Meeting of the Minds demonstrated that with best practices spreading to other cities and regions and the continued advancement of technology, the future looks bright for us to improve the economic vitality, environmental impact, and overall quality of life of our communities. Cardano looks forward to being a part of the continued progress.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.
Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Middle-Mile Networks: The Middleman of Internet Connectivity
The development of public, open-access middle mile infrastructure can expand internet networks closer to unserved and underserved communities while offering equal opportunity for ISPs to link cost effectively to last mile infrastructure. This strategy would connect more Americans to high-speed internet while also driving down prices by increasing competition among local ISPs.
In addition to potentially helping narrow the digital divide, middle mile infrastructure would also provide backup options for networks if one connection pathway fails, and it would help support regional economic development by connecting businesses.
Wildfire Risk Reduction: Connecting the Dots
One of the most visceral manifestations of the combined problems of urbanization and climate change are the enormous wildfires that engulf areas of the American West. Fire behavior itself is now changing. Over 120 years of well-intentioned fire suppression have created huge reserves of fuel which, when combined with warmer temperatures and drought-dried landscapes, create unstoppable fires that spread with extreme speed, jump fire-breaks, level entire towns, take lives and destroy hundreds of thousands of acres, even in landscapes that are conditioned to employ fire as part of their reproductive cycle.
ARISE-US recently held a very successful symposium, “Wildfire Risk Reduction – Connecting the Dots” for wildfire stakeholders – insurers, US Forest Service, engineers, fire awareness NGOs and others – to discuss the issues and their possible solutions. This article sets out some of the major points to emerge.
Innovating Our Way Out of Crisis
Whether deep freezes in Texas, wildfires in California, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, or any other calamity, our innovations today will build the reliable, resilient, equitable, and prosperous grid tomorrow. Innovation, in short, combines the dream of what’s possible with the pragmatism of what’s practical. That’s the big-idea, hard-reality approach that helped transform Texas into the world’s energy powerhouse — from oil and gas to zero-emissions wind, sun, and, soon, geothermal.
It’s time to make the production and consumption of energy faster, smarter, cleaner, more resilient, and more efficient. Business leaders, political leaders, the energy sector, and savvy citizens have the power to put investment and practices in place that support a robust energy innovation ecosystem. So, saddle up.