Singapore Is Taking the ‘Smart City’ to a Whole New Level

In Singapore’s “Smart City,” sensors deployed by the government will collect and coordinate data on an unprecedented level.

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This is huge. In most parts of the world there are projects monitoring data to solve unique problems such as the performance of road networks and demand/capacity management of public transport.

Smart City appears to be the stuff that Philip K Dick’s dystopian novels of a society where privacy ceases to exist and the Government knows everything including when people are smoking in a non-smoking area (like the 38 year old man who was fined around $14,000 after being filmed repeatedly throwing cigarette butts from his high rise apartment)  through to all journeys made by every single vehicle, supporting dynamic road toll pricing to reduce peak hour traffic congestion..

According to the story, Singaporeans trust their (one dominant party) Government and the statements being made about data being anonymized such that the ‘Smart City’ can deal with the efficient functioning of the city in all aspects from health to highly performing transport networks without identifying individuals.

Of course they have been leaders in this direction for some time, for example with tolling systems and enforcing T3 lanes using technology to ensure there are in fact the minimum required number of people in a vehicle to allow them to enjoy the benefits of ride-sharing in special lanes. They have even used smartphones to identify the ‘bumpiness’ of bus rides.

In theory, technology like this has a lot of value in a benevolent democracy for law abiding citizens. In many of my blogs I have said that providing my privacy is maintained, I want a retailer to know that I have a lawn and trees and offer me a leaf blower from their over-stock problem when I am in my car and within 1 km of their store.

I’m even happy (as suggested in this article) for a health department to be able to monitor toilet waste in order to identify the spread of infectious diseases (as long as it doesn’t add to my horrendous water usage bills).

You can very quickly see of course where this could go if privacy wasn’t honored. Recent battles with Apple for example in order to access data from a terrorist’s iPhone are examples where ethics and regulations start getting complex.

There is also the risk of hacking and criminal elements could find all sorts of ways of gaining information of value to them, or of disrupting networks as we see on TV and in the movies. Individuals using recreational drugs would of course have a problem with this technology if a change in government changed the rules around privacy and anonymity.

Imagine such technology in a corrupt society, with leadership wanting to maintain strict controls on their society. Singapore isn’t just looking at using this technology to improve living standards there, they want to export it and be seen as a showcase as do market leaders in this technology like IBM. I would welcome this technology in my country, but it wouldn’t be hard to come up with a list of countries where technology like his could spell disaster on an epic scale, where governments perhaps represent strong minorities rather than the will of the masses.

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Posted in Crime, Crime Prevention, Government, Hacker, Hacking, health, Internet Privacy, location based apps, Location Based Consultant, location based marketing, Location Based Servces, Location Based Services for Health, Privacy, Public Transport, Ride Share, rideshare, Road Tolling, Road Tolls, Smart City, Smartphones, track crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Uber conquered London | Sam Knight

The long read: To understand how the $60bn company is taking over the world, you need to stop thinking about cars

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This is a fascinating insight into the world of Uber. It’s a 15 minute read, but if you want to get an insight into one of the most disruptive business models in recent times, I think it is time well spent.

There is plenty of logic in the maths of what they are doing and people are climbing over each other to join Uber, from graduates to the unemployed. They don’t seem to be making a lot of money, but perhaps they are attracted by the concept of being your own boss.

I suspect that this is the type of business where smart people will make good money for a time and will work their way to owning driverless cabs in the long run. That appears to me to be the long game. You get a truckload of drivers to build a business for you using a very smart Information Technology system, build up a customer base (there are already more Uber drivers in London than there are Black Cabs) and a customer base who are increasingly happy to share rides. I mean, if you had a bus that picked you up at your door and only had 3 other passengers, but was no dearer than any other bus, why would you bother driving, unless you like driving?

Why would you rush into a job where the more successful you are, the more likely you are going to be out of work, i.e. with driverless cars? I don’t know, maybe they don’t see that playing out any time soon and they don’t have the outgoings that normal taxi companies have.

One of the things that I see time and time again is people become very loyal to a concept that they see as helping them achieve their goals once they have signed up. But for the smart ones there probably are opportunities to take advantage of the next wave, after all, Uber typically doesn’t own cars, it owns a system, so someone still has to own them.

Can a business with a system and very little in the way of assets become highly profitable? Ask people like Steve Tindall who founded one of NZ’s most successful retail businesses, The Warehouse. He built big concrete warehouses, turned them into shops and invited product distributors to stock it in return for a transparent view of their Point of Sale system.

What isn’t fully clear in the case of Uber is the end game. It is not drivers picking up customers. In the long term there probably won’t be drivers. It is also pretty much the first of what will be a long list of copycats, ‘like Uber but better’. It will change the industry, it will have a significant impact on both public transport and on the traditional taxi sector.

I wonder if there is something for the freight industry here. That network is desperate for drivers and yet drivers are going to Uber in many cases because they can’t get other work, or want to be their own bosses.

Ultimately with urban population growth, we want fewer cars on the road, especially those with only the driver in them. One way or another society seems to find solutions out of left field. Ways that seem totally obvious once they are on the way, but are incredibly difficult to get off the ground by start ups and almost totally impossible within existing traditional business models.

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Condition One unveils rugged ‘Bison’ rig for outdoor VR documentaries

Digital Photography Review: All the latest digital camera reviews and digital imaging news. Lively discussion forums. Vast samples galleries and the largest database of digital camera specifications.

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Whenever there is a new innovative technology, the naysayers come out and criticize. So maybe the resolution isn’t great (neither were our TV’s for the first 30 or so years), maybe it isn’t true VR and that’s not the right name for it, but it is the precursor for what will be.

Yes it is better to experience the real thing, but often it is seeing a taste of the real thing that motivates people to go travel. The New Zealand tourism industry bets millions on that and even the3D scenes in the Lord of the Rings movie, brought more tourists here and that’s not anecdotal.

Also many people can’t afford to travel and only a small number of people can afford to travel anywhere they desire. Many people don’t have the good health to travel even if they have the funds. Why would you deprive them of the ability to have a travel experience?

As to whether it is commercially viable, it will be one day and without the pioneering and investment of business we won’t get anywhere.

I was having a discussion with a colleague last week about 3D TV and I was saying how disappointed I am that  cable providers are not transmitting in 3D now that so many of us have 3D capable TV’s. I’m sure there are still technical reasons as to why that’s not happening.

For me, I am thankful for the entrepreneurs that took us out of the caves and gave us the ability to appreciate the world we live in today. A large percentage of them went broke trying to give us the types of technologies that people on this article are knocking.

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Posted in disruptive model, Virtual Reality, VR | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why “near me” is critically important for multi-location businesses

As searchers become increasingly mobile, hyper-local searches are on the rise — and multi-location businesses stand to benefit the most.

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Are you missing out on business? I’m going to keep this one really simple. Go and check out the Google account for your business. Just look up the name on your Google browser AND on Google Maps.

Is it there? Is the information current? Chances are it isn’t and you are missing out on opportunities. So many people use this tool today. If you haven’t got it already, install Google Maps on your smartphone.

On the opening screen at the top, it now says things like ‘Try Restaurants, coffee. I tried it from my office just now and it came up with a variety near me. The closest one it offered me was 0.7 miles away.

coffeeSome of them had ratings, many had a brief description, for example The Coffee Club in Clyde Rd said that they were open until 6PM and offered a relaxed chain with coffee and light meals. Chocolate Earth showed as being closed. What was really interesting was that Chocolate Earth must have open at 9AM because when I took the screen shot, it was now showing as open until 4pm. Is that cool or what?

I also saw on the first page a business called Global IT Solutions. I’m pretty sure they are not a cafe and I was able to suggest an edit.

If you haven’t managed your business listing, perhaps you have purchased the business, you can claim the business and verify that it is yours and edit the information provided. Don’t assume the previous owners had it listed and this is a great opportunity to promote the new management.

This is all free and could generate a lot of new business, especially if you encourage people to rate your great service. At the beginning of summer, my wife and I drove for an hour to a cafe restaurant with an awesome view at Muriwai Beach, only to find it was closed for renovations. I kicked myself for not checking on my phone before I left home.

Google CafeJust because a service is free, doesn’t mean it doesn’t represent great value. This isn’t rocket science. If you struggle with this technology, ask your children or junior staff to help. Before you know it, you will be listed accurately, even with photos of your business or your specialty dish.

There is lots more you can do and lots of other services you might consider like having a Facebook page, but start simple. You can check, claim, update and start getting business from Google in less than a minute, so don’t come up with arguments about not having time.

By the way, this is for any business, you could be a corner milk bar that sells Lotto tickets, a second hand book shop, anything at all that is a destination and you can include the days and hours when you are open so people won’t be dissapointed by coming to your business and finding it closed.

You will be amazed how many people are using their phone today to make decisions about what they are going to do in real time. It’s not easy being in the retail and hospitality industry today. If you want more custom, make it easy for people to find you.

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Posted in Business, Hospitality, location based apps, location based marketing, Location Based Servces, Location Based Services, New retail ideas, Retail, retail apps, retail survival, Shopping, The Location Guru | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uber mocks Australian state’s stiff fines, takes away the Ubers

Imagine a world without Uber? Okay, now come back to 2016. Unless you are in Queensland, Australia.

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I arrived at Newark airport on my first trip to NYC at midnight. There was a sign above the luggage carousel saying, beware of gypsy cabs.  I had been traveling for 24 hours and just anted to get to bed in my hotel in Manhattan. I looked around and there wasn’t a single yellow cab. There weren’t even any staff around, zip, zero, not even security.
A 6 foot something African man in a suit asked me if I wanted a ride and gave me a very impressive looking business card. I said I did, told him where I was going and he quoted me about $75.
The cab turned out to be a Jag and didn’t have a meter. I was anxious and asked if he really was a cab and he responded with “Sir this is a limousine service, would you like to ring my office.” I did and got a good response, knowing that it could still be a set-up.
It was a long drive and he told me about growing up in Nigeria and how he now had a new life in America and after a very long tense drive we arrived at my hotel and he had convinced me to book him for the trip to JFK the following week.
When I checked in, I asked if that was a reasonable fair and the response was, its right up there for a two way trip, but you’ve been had if that was one way. They then explained to me what a gypsy cab was. Basically just people in cars with no passenger license, operating illegally and filling a gap. The first thing I did when I got to my room was ring and cancel the return trip!
I like that Uber has a trust concept whereby you can check out the driver and the fare before you book your journey. I like the concept of the drivers being licensed the same as any other taxi driver.
I don’t like the concept of blocking a new business to protect an old one that isn’t meeting the needs of the people. The taxi industry can easily fight back by changing their business model. Some of them are now putting out apps and before long there will be loyalty systems and more information, emulating the disruptive services offered by companies like Uber and Lyft who are racing around the world faster than the Zika virus.
Imagine banning Kindle to protect the book industry or banning TV to protect the cinema industry. To be fair I haven’t used Uber, mostly because I almost never drink alcohol and have no need for a driver. I use public transport frequently, although not after closing time. I have heard plenty of stories of registered taxi drivers from reputable firms, up on sexual assault and violence charges, so you can’t tell me that regulation makes passengers safer.
In fact when you look at the hospitality industry and what happened when they reduced alcohol levels for drivers, it had a profound impact on restaurants and bars who make most of their profit from selling alcohol. Young people couldn’t afford to pay high prices for alcohol AND a taxi, older people didn’t want to pay the high fares for taxis and there was a slump in the industry. Many premises closed. That hurt the taxi industry too.
Now when I ask people how they get around, the word is Uber. It’s not there by stealth or because it is counter to the ‘system’. It is there because customers want it and because they feel safe and they feel (most of the time) that they are getting good value.
We are not riding faster horses, this is the 21st century and IMHO this is the century of the customer, of transparency.
Businesses don’t own sectors by right, they own it by delivering the services customers want at prices they are prepared to pay.
Even Uber understands that and are planning for a future when they have driverless cars while the taxi industry is still arguing over who should be allowed to drive passengers.
It’s all about customer outcomes.

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Posted in Australia, BAU, Customer Outcome, Customers, disruptive model, driving, New York, New York Taxi, safer driving, taxi, taxi industry, taxis, uber | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Smart clothes peg pings your phone when there’s rain on the way

Peggy is a smart clothes-peg prototype that uses a number of sensors and local weather information to tell you when the washing is dry and ping you when rain’s on the way to prevent you drying the same load twice.

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In Auckland, they say the best way to tell the weather is to look out the window and that isn’t always that trustworthy. We are known for four seasons a day, although El Nino has made things a little more reliable this year.
The Internet of Things or IoT is going to change the way we do things whether we need it or not.
You might say that you don’t need a smart clothes peg to tell you it is going to rain or how long your clothes are going to take to dry. You might say you don’t need a pile of technology that can predict the weather.
I’ll bet that somewhere along the line (pun intended) your predecessors said the same about the electric washing machine. They had perfectly good washboards and a bit of elbow grease never hurt anyone, right?
If I was selling this technology, I would sign up with the national weather service and share the information with the grid, so to speak. Imagine effectively having a network of millions of weather stations all over the country.
As to washing lines, who needs one of those when you have a clothes drier?
So how about some feedback:
1. Do you still use a tub and a washboard?
2. Do you hand out your clothes when it’s dry or use a clothes drier?
3. Do you ever get caught out with clothes out in the rain?

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Posted in climate change, Future, Future Technology, Gadgets, Innovation, Internet of Things, IoT, Technology, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

IBM disrupts the Tour de France with IoT – ReadWrite

Dimension Data is partnering with IBM to analyze 198 riders’ data in the 2015 Tour de France, looking over 21 gruelling days of cycling.

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This is the next generation of a concept that started with Virtual Spectator which was a piece of software that allowed you to follow and visualize the Americas Cup from your PC or laptop. It is also now being used in windsurfing
It is a hybrid of Fleet Management software with intelligent map data and the ability to store and feed data when riders are out of reach.
Sticking with sport for the moment, apply technology like this to football and other sports and it will spawn all sorts of new technologies.
For example, imagine being able to follow a camera that automatically has your favorite player in focus all the time together with their play statistics. It could get annoying with things like offside rules if it is capable of identifying where the player is to the inch, but rules could set that outside of the offering, but allow access to the referees on demand.
This is a precursor to the technology which would allow you to put on VR goggles and watch the match from your favorite players perspective through a 3D headset, and then eventually into a VR haptic suit where you could feel impact with each step and tackle.
It can eliminate all those people in so many sports, with wearables, who sit on the sidelines and monitor every movement on a clipboard (these days more often a tablet, but still manual.
For the future though, this technology (with privacy taken into consideration) would allow cities to finally monitor traffic congestion on all modes including cyclists in order to truly optimize urban networks.

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Posted in 3D Glasses, AR, AR Glasses, Augmented Reality, cycling, Fleet Management, GPS Sports Tracking, Haptic Suits, Intelligent Transport Systems, Internet of Things, Internet Privacy, IoT, ITS, Sport, Sport GPS, Sports GPS, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment