Teaming Up on Innovation: France and California Seeking Common Ground

By Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn is the Director of Digital Strategy for Meeting of the Minds.

Oct 25, 2012 | Announcements | 0 comments

Meeting of the Minds co-founder Gordon Feller will be working with Électricité de France, the world’s second largest electric utility company, and with the French Consul-General in San Francisco, to convene a special session of the California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies (CaFFEET) on November 5th and 6th at the University of California, Berkeley.

CaFFEET aims to promote technical and scientific exchanges on energy efficiency between France and California, both of them being worldwide leaders working to develop connected and smart low-CO2 economies.

Gordon will chair the session “Making the City More Attractive with ICT” on November 5th at 3:45pm. For more information, visit the CaFFFEET website.

The session’s 5 panelists include:

  • Alex Bayen, Professor, UC Berkeley CITRIS
  • Carolyn Hogg, CIO, City of Fresno; Robert Tse, Community Planning and Development Specialist, USDA-Rural Development California; Joseph Oldham, Sustainability Manager, City of Fresno
  • Khaldoun Al Agha, Professor, Paris Sud University and Action Line leader at EIT ICT Labs

EDF and the Consulate are collaborating on the 2012 CaFFEET program with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, a University of California-Berkeley research institute.

With a focus on “The Smart City: What Is the Added Value?”, CaFFEET will bring together city officials, researchers, global companies in energy, water and ICT, and start-ups

They will be asked to answer two key questions:

  • How do smart city approaches increase city attractiveness and city resilience?
  • How to manage the cyber security risks associated with the smart city?

What kinds of technology-centric approaches are helping cities to move beyond the older ways of addressing urban problems? CaFFEET will examine a few emerging solutions, and one of these is the Mobile Millennium project, led by UC Berkeley, which collects GPS data inside drivers’ cell phones to understand traffic conditions, then broadcasting it back to provide real-time traffic information.

One premise of this year’s CaFFEET: using ICT solutions brings substantial value to cities, but may increase their vulnerability to cyber threats. Cyber attacks — whether by hackers, terrorists, or organized crime — are real, as are high-impact non-malicious events such user errors.

Industrial control systems — utilized by electric, water, gas or public transportation operations, ICT solutions — are now being deployed to allow control and communication in much more advanced ways than in the past.

This raises several pressing security challenges:

  • The number of interfaces between city control systems and the outside world dramatically grows, especially with the growing use of sensors and intelligent communicating components. This increases the number of access points for a potential cyber attacker. These access points can be physical (e.g., through a smart meter) or virtual (e.g., through an internet-connected system).
  • Software products (e.g., Windows) are interfacing with urban solutions, and these often come from the traditional IT world. They are not well adapted to the kinds of industrial environments where one finds an electric or water utility.
  • Operators of industrial control systems have a strong safety culture, but are usually not trained in security (or in cyber security).

Here’s a list of a few of the cyber attacks which have targeted cities:

  • One of the first incidents was seen in Australia in 2000 and targeted a water system. As explained in one published case study, the attacker managed to remotely cause raw sewage to spill out into local environment, including a hotel. This attack was followed by many others, according to the Repository of Industrial Security Incidents (RISI), which observed in recent years a tremendous increase in the number of municipal water control-system cyber attacks.
  • The deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division analyzes three cities targeted by hackers who accessed infrastructure through SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems.
  • In Poland a teen hacked a city’s train network and derailed four vehicles.
  • In April 2012 hackers successfully penetrated the networks of several natural gas pipeline operators in the US.

Discussion

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.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States

Today, over 2 million Americans are living without access to clean, running water. The newly released ‘Close The Water Gap’ report by DigDeep and the US Water Alliance pulls back the veil on America’s hidden water crisis.

This is the first-ever comprehensive look at indoor water access across the United States, and its findings are explosive: Race is the strongest predictor of vulnerability. In six states (plus Puerto Rico), progress is actually backsliding. More than 44 million Americans are served by water systems with recent violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Link Between Climate Change & Water

The Link Between Climate Change & Water

When thinking about conserving water, we should also be focusing on how more efficient water use correlates with energy savings. Studies show that when households participate in water savings programs, they also conserve energy and reduce strain on the power grid during peak demand periods while saving consumers money on their utility bills.

Water utilities can also dramatically increase their energy efficiency and reduce overall energy usage by adopting locally based solutions. For many municipal governments, drinking water and wastewater treatment plants are typically the largest energy consumers, often accounting for 30 to 40 percent of total energy consumed. Overall, drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately two percent of energy use in the United States, adding over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Using Data to Reduce Public Health Risk

Using Data to Reduce Public Health Risk

Addressing the impact of heat on health is well-aligned with MCDPH’s vision and mission “to make healthy lives possible” by protecting and promoting the health and well-being of MC residents and visitors. The climate has significant impacts on our community’s health. Through extensive surveillance and community surveys, we have demonstrated the importance of local public health data to increase buy-in from new and existing partners and obtain funding to address this significant public health issue. We encourage other health departments to consider the power of data and collaboration as they seek methods for protecting the public’s health from a changing climate.

Share This