San Francisco

Enabling New Lifestyles in Cities - A debate at LLGA | Cities Summit

During the Parallel Session, Enabling New Lifestyles, participants gathered to talk about the changing face of public health issues in cities today, and what new solutions are emerging. The panelists drew on their experience working with STD screening, technology for aging in place, and accelerating community health outcomes. In all cases, technology is playing a critical role in public health concerns and solutions, alike. During the session, a few key characteristics of such technologies emerged:

LLGA2013 15.5.213 Parallel Session D

 (1) Provide in-the-moment interventions

  Participants saw plenty of ways in which mobile technology, advanced sensors, digital displays, and other digital tools have   provided a new opportunity for on-the-spot interventions.

For example, Alexander Börve, an orthopaedic surgeon and creator of iPhone app iDoc24, discussed the proliferation of “hookup” apps that help connect users for casual sex purposes. In high-density urban centers, individuals can publish and browse profiles through a variety of mobile apps — Tinder, Grindr, BangWithFriends, among others — to connect with instant dates, outside of traditional spaces, such as bars and clubs. The shift has interrupted many public health programs ability to provide safe-sex education and intervention, he noted, by removing a specific location where information and access can be provided at the point of contact between potential partners.

Instead of viewing such apps as a problem, however, the group saw opportunities to leverage the popularity and pervasiveness of these apps for encouraging positive behaviors such as STD and HIV testing, providing information about safe sex, and perhaps—in the case of infections such as chlamydia, for which public health officials try to notify partners of infected individuals—improving anonymous data collection and outreach.

Esther Dyson, of EDVenture and HICCUP, discussed the promise of a coordinated public health campaign, that could attempt to provide dozens of interventions into the average community member’s day. Among other ideas, technology tools could be used to provide on-the-spot feedback to program participants and community members about various behaviors — encouraging walking and biking, discouraging elevator use, etc. — through mobile apps, informational displays, and more.

(2) Leverage on-the-ground, non-digital relationships

Technology tools can provide a certain amount of access to community members, helping provide information at just the right moment. But that information needs to be actionable, too.

Participants discussed the need for technology tools to tap into existing networks of physical-world providers and infrastructure—health clinics, transit systems, bike lanes, emergency care, food service providers, property managers, and schools—to ensure that when information is given, it’s connected to programs with funding, resources, and expert knowledge that can provide an intervention that promotes or protect’s the user’s health.

Laura Mitchell, of GrandCare Systems, spoke about the way in which her company’s technology links senior’s personalized care needs, determined by doctors and overseen by medical professionals, with off-the-shelf technology to help seniors age in place. The technology is a critical piece of the puzzle. It helps alert family and providers when something unusual or unexpected happens. But those family and providers are needed to help put real-world plans into action when something is wrong.

(3) Use technology to reduce cost of care

Across the board, many participants were optimistic about the opportunity of technology to provide an inexpensive baseline of care for more people, helping reduce baseline costs and reserving more costly, expert-necessary care of those who actually need it.

For example, Dyson, whose HICCUP campaign doesn’t provide funding to partners, suggested that coordination of existing funding and programs could be tied together. How might that work?

Börve, whose STD Triage app allows users to have a photograph of their genitalia evaluated by experts for possible infections, noted that 69 percent of their users do not have an STD. Despite the high number of infections — 20 million new std infections in the U.S. each year— there is also a large amount of overscreening. At one university health clinic, only 40 of 1,500 students who were screened tested positive. There is a cost for paying for screening services, and the benefits of screening extend beyond just the individual who is treated for a positive result. By using low-cost interventions, like the screening app, clinics and public health officials can focus spending on patients with known cases and on preventive measures.

Similar advantages also exist for elder care, where regular, remote monitoring can help flag potential issues before they become untreatable, and reduce unnecessary doctor visits for routine checkups and screenings.

(4) Address the digital divide

As technology becomes an increasingly important tool for cities to help manage and address public health, it will also be important to ensure that all residents have access to those tools.

Participants discussed some strategies for ensuring fair access for to these new tools, from public WiFi, to text-message based alerts, to encouraging pay-as-you-go  packages for Internet access from mainstream providers (which would allow low-use customers, such as seniors and many other potential customers, to access inexpensive important services without subsidizing heavy-bandwidth users).

Several of the participants also discussed the importance of working on age-appropriate interfaces, designed to make technology accessible to users with limited sight or familiarity with technology, when such services are aimed at seniors.

Celeste LeCompte is an independent researcher and journalist, focused on innovation and the environment, based in San Francisco and Guangzhou, China.

Urban Systems & Services - A debate at LLGA | Cities Summit

The Urban Systems & Services Parallel Session was moderated by Barbara Hale, the Assistant General Manager of SFPUC. Barbara focused the session on how cities are becoming massive interconnected systems and how to use technology as a tool to improve the quality of life of citizens. Parallel Session C

Speaker 1: Modupe Ajibola, CEO, OTG Playa

First up to speak was Modupe Ajibola of OTG Playa whose presentation centered on the role of technology in Africa and how it is slowly moving from a luxury to necessity. For example, there are already over 140 million cell phones in Nigeria making it one of the world’s largest mobile telecom markets. These devices had a multiplier effect creating many new jobs and services that were not available before. The problem is that many in the educated workforce are content in taking these newly created middle class jobs when they should be working in the white collar sector. For example, many of the electrical engineers end up working in call centers because it creates a life much better than they had growing up. While the progress is noble, it should be taken a bit further. These engineers should be working in R&D creating products for Africans by Africans. People in Africa want iPhones and iPads, but they don't want to pay a premium price. They end up buying Chinese knockoffs that break a few months later. Perhaps Africa could copy the U.S. and move to the subsidy model for mobile phones? By encouraging these engineers to start developing products and services for Africa and the rest of the world, the needs and wants of the people can be addressed while keeping the money inside the continent.

Speaker 2: Gianni Minetti, President & CEO, Paradox Engineering

Gianni Minetti followed by focusing on the open standards needed to network all the infrastructure for our cities. The shift from rural to urban is only accelerating, and he presented several facts to back this up. For one, 1.3 million people are moving to cities every week. This means that there are now 21 cities with over 10 million people. Paradox Engineering wants to put lighting, pollution monitoring, and power all together in one open system. While this may seem like something obvious to do, the problem is that many cities have separate systems for each infrastructure component. Not only is it expensive to build redundant infrastructure, it creates a spectrum crunch. By building an urban multi-utility network, we can make technology a tool, not a hurdle. By using open standards we can future proof the networks ensuring ROI protection for cities.

Speaker 3: Bill Oates, Chief Information Officer, Boston

Bill Oates spoke about how the city of Boston was using technology to solve its problems. The smartphone application, Citizen's Connect, has proven immensely popular, which isn't all that surprising considering 35% of the city's population is between 20 and 34. With the application, citizens can report potholes, streetlight outages, graffiti, and other problems. After seeing how much citizens loved using the app, city workers got their own version allowing the city to more efficiently dispatch workers and catalog repairs. Version 4.0 of the app, slated to be released by the end of the year, will allow citizens to be notified when the problem they reported is fixed. Embracing the recent trend of gamification, the new version of the app will allow citizens to thank the workers who fixed their problem. The app has allowed citizens of Boston to interact with government in ways previously not possible. Taking the application a step further, the city of Boston unveiled Street Bump, which uses a smartphone's accelerometer to passively detect potholes. Interestingly enough only 10% of the bumps reported were potholes; the other 90% were the 307,000 utility castings in the city. Using technology is essential for cities that wish to thrive in the 21st century. Bill Oats highlighted the point that if you stay at the status quo, you're falling behind. Historically, government has been very risk averse, but technology doesn't have to be risky. Those that avoid it completely will be left in the dust.

Speaker 4: Philip Playfair, CEO, Lowfoot

Last to present, Philip Playfair explained how his company pays people to use less energy when consumption (and thus prices) is peaking. The main purpose is to encourage consumers to shift power consumption from peak to off peak. His company has contracted with 6 companies with over 5,000 smart meters. In a way, the software can act as a virtual peaker plant. When demand exceeds supply, energy usage can automatically be reduced. The consumers are compensated for this inconvenience via monthly payments. Additionally, the software measures carbon savings to show consumers how shifting their energy usage benefits the environment. In order to increase engagement Lowfoot has added gamification aspects to the product. For example, users get badges for saving energy and can brag to their friends over Twitter or Facebook. While solutions like Lowfoot can marginally reduce power consumption, the main problem is that energy is too cheap to motivate people’s decision making. In order for huge shifts in consumer behavior, energy prices need to go up.

Conclusion

Whether it’s using mobile applications to encourage engagement or unifying infrastructure communication systems, technology is changing how cities operate. While governments have been traditionally viewed as slow and cumbersome, in order to keep up with the ever evolving world, cities need to speed up deployments of innovative solutions. The problem is that government procurement has been very slow and risk averse. In order to help solve this problem, cities need to adapt new processes to accept technology with open (but vigilant) arms.

Reported by Chris Mojaher

You Never Forget Your First One: Winning LLGA2011 for San Francisco catapults SOCRATA

Not every day does an early-stage startup get an opportunity to shine on the world stage. In early 2011, Socrata then a 12-person software startup in Seattle with about 15 customers, was nominated for a Living Labs Global Award in Stockholm, by the City of San Francisco.

The Living Labs Global award recognizes innovation in cities, creating a highly visible global forum to reward cities and their technology partners for daring to try bold new approaches to solving problems. A perfect opportunity for a startup.

Socrata was fortunate to have partnered with one the world’s most innovative cities. Years before Open Data became mainstream, San Francisco realized that its data was a strategic, but idle asset, with vast untapped potential to increase the city’s service capacity and transform its relationship with residents.

San Francisco started opening up and releasing its data years ago. As the initiative gained momentum, however, San Francisco realized that it needed a scalable platform that can support the entire data-to-information continuum, from capture and collection to distribution and consumption, in the most cost-effective way possible.

In May 2011, San Francisco and Socrata won the Living Labs Global Award for their innovative plan to migrate the city’s Open Data to a new cloud-based Socrata-powered platform. On March 9th, 2012, Mayor Edwin Lee affirmed City’s ongoing commitment to Open Data through the manifestation of this plan, aptly named data.sfgov.org. The website puts City data online in a way that makes it useful to citizens, businesses, developers and even city employees.

Jay Nath, the City’s Chief Information Officer told The San Francisco Chronicle, “We had all this raw data, and you had to be an uber geek to figure it all out. This platform makes it easier.”

The new Socrata-powered San Francisco Open Data Cloud offers a wide variety of feature, architecture, and performance enhancements, including:

  • Simple, easy-to-use, citizen interfaces that allow non-technical users to interactively explore data, visualize it, and share contextually-relevant information with others, on the site, across the web, and on social networks.
  • Automatic full-text indexing of every data set’s content to facilitate online search, in addition to the ability to download the data in multiple, open, machine-readable formats.
  • Automatic API access to every data set, via the Socrata Open Data API (SODA) and access to technical support and online developer resources, which will lower the access barrier for civic developers.

Mayor Lee told TechCrunch, “Making City data more accessible to the public secures San Francisco’s future as the world’s first 2.0 City. It’s only natural that we move our Open Data platform to the cloud and adopt modern open interfaces to facilitate the flow of information and develop better tools to enhance City services.”

Jay Nath adds, “Two years ago, when we launched DataSF.org, Open Data was a visionary experiment in reinventing the government of the future. Today, with increasing worldwide adoption, we view Open Data as part of our new cloud infrastructure to deliver citizen, social, and programmatic interfaces to government services, in a much more cost-effective and agile model.”

San Francisco will continue to be one of the nation’s trailblazers in data as a platform for innovation. Socrata, now boasting over 50 of the world’s top public sector organizations like New York City, the World Bank and the United Nations, has grown by leaps and bounds since then and is now the recognized market leader in Open Data. The people of Socrata will always remember fondly the first award that recognized their work with one of the best cities anywhere in the world!

http://blog.sfgate.com/cityinsider/2012/03/12/hello-cloud-its-us-san-francisco/#comments

http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/09/san-francisco-open-data/

MindMixer partners with San Francisco to launch ImproveSF

   Last year, we published this post about MindMixer, an online tool designed to bring citizens and officials together to brainstorm on ways to improve their cities. MindMixer has partnered with over 100 government organizations across the U.S.to provide a flexible, convenient interface for local collaboration.

Now the online community engagement service has joined forces with the City of San Francisco and its new Office of Innovation to create ImproveSF, a site devoted to providing ideas for and feedback on municipal projects. San Franciscans can submit ideas to challenges, vote on proposed projects or challenges, and review others' submissions. Office of Innovation staff oversee the proposed challenges and help to judge the submitted entries. Participants are awarded points for submitting ideas, which they can redeem for prizes in the site's Rewards Store.

One of the challenges currently open for voting is "What are the best ways for SFMTA to improve your transit travel time?" which includes a list of six possible solutions for citizens to review and comment on. While I would like to see the option to submit an original idea to this challenge outside of the six provided, this sort of online voting system is a great start to encouraging dialogue between San Francisco residents and those in charge of planning and decision-making.

Providing an interface that allows for public comment and collaboration 24 hours a day, 7 days a week goes a long way towards opening up discussions that used to be limited solely to public meetings. For those who can't make meetings because of scheduling conflicts or mobility constraints, MindMixer's ImproveSF is especially empowering.

More and more cities are getting on board with online community engagement as a way to reach out to citizens for broader, more diverse public feedback. We'll keep you posted on the latest trends from MindMixer and other innovative public outreach tools in the coming weeks, some of which have been submitted for this year's Living Labs Global Awards. Stay tuned!

~ Allison Bullock

Smart Lighting in San Francisco

For this year’s Living Labs Global Awards, San Francisco requested showcases that would help the city develop an integrated wireless network for its streetlights and other urban services. The idea is to find a way to remotely control and manage the city’s lighting system to save energy, mitigate light pollution, and allow for flexible adjustments to lighting depending on the season and time of day. A wireless energy management system would allow San Francisco to reduce its operating costs while also helping the city take a major step towards its goal for a zero-emissions electric system by 2030. Several showcases were submitted this year to respond to San Francisco’s challenge. One of these is Intelligent Streetlights, submitted by energy technologies company Petra Solar. Their solution would involve a smart grid communications network that could be used for centralized, citywide management of not just streetlights, but also electric vehicle charging stations, parking monitoring, and meter pricing.

Petra Solar’s project would involve retrofitting over 18,000 existing streetlights throughout the city. The system would maximize the use of solar energy through high-efficiency solar panels mounted to streetlights, all of which would be integrated into the wireless communications network.

Even in a city with world-famous fog, the system is expected to significantly reduce energy and operations costs, saving an estimated $6 million USD over 10 years – not to mention the benefits of reduced emissions and cleaner air. With an investment in intelligent energy technologies, San Francisco stands to gain unprecedented flexibility and control over its urban systems while reinforcing its status as one of the most sustainable cities in the U.S.

~ Allison Bullock

Code for America partners with San Francisco

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/30575113 w=400&h=225]

CfA Culture from Code for America on Vimeo.

This is a public-private partnership you’ll want to pay attention to. We introduced you to Code for America back in April. They’re a non-profit that selects several entrepreneurs to work on civic projects in their partner cities. 2011 was their first year, during which they partnered with Boston, Seattle, and Philadelphia. The results were numerous and intriguing (check out their annual report here).

For 2012, they’ve announced a few new ventures. They’re partnering with several more cities this year in addition to launching Code for America Accelerator, a start-up incubator focused on creating the next generation of government vendors. This spring, they’ll be holding several hackathons to identify the best entrepreneurs for the job. Once the team is identified, they’ll work with city partners to choose which departments are most in need of new tools, for improving things like permitting applications or records requests. See the San Francisco Chronicle article for more details.

Code for America has the potential to do for city governments what Silicon Valley has done for the tech industry. Imagine what our world would be like if the fastest, most pleasurable service experiences we had were those interactions with city governments!

-- Terra Curtis 

Developing Countries Developing Solutions

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/30485000 w=400&h=225]

Introducing mo from LUNAR Europe on Vimeo.

At least three of our partner cities in this round of the Living Labs Global Awards are seeking solutions related to transportation. Lavasa, México City, and Guadalajara, each within a developing country, want to find ways to boost alternative transportation and keep infrastructure maintenance ahead of deterioration.

According to the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP), by 2030 almost three quarters of the world’s population with reside in cities, with most of that urbanization taking place in developing countries. In order to maintain health and achieve sustainability in the long term, these cities must stay ahead of the game in developing the transportation infrastructure, policies, incentives, and solutions that encourage limited use of fossil fuels. Several recent concepts are relevant to the challenges faced by these cities. BitCity, a conference on Transportation, data, and technology in cities was held November 4th in New York City. The conference, which will be ongoing, is meant to highlight innovation and expose the barriers currently preventing cities from implementing that innovation. Recorded sessions can be viewed online here.

A second transportation-related tid-bit to come across the radar screen is Mo (short for mobility), which uses smartphone technology with a “bike tag” to link travel data and different modal systems. The idea is to provide users with more choices about how to get around and incentives for making responsible travel decisions. (See the video above.)

Two other mobile apps stood out in a recent scan – Avego’s instant carpool app, Shout and Reroute.it, a mobile web app (works on any smartphone) that compares the cost, travel time, calories burned, and CO2 emitted for several different modes of transportation (e.g. walk, bike, transit, car, or taxi).

Shout is a free mobile app that helps you arrange carpool rides with friends, family, and coworkers in real time. Current “Shout Hotspots” – locations where a critical mass of users has been reached – include Orlando, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Houston, Texas; Bergen, Norway; and Kinsale, Ireland.

Reroute.it was developed by fellows in the Code for America program this summer. It is meant to provide users with full information, and in theory they will use that information to make sustainable, responsible transportation choices. Because it relies on several open data sources, its full features are not available in all locations yet, but it will work everywhere. Seattle and San Francisco are fully featured, with Philadelphia soon to follow.

While some of these solutions may not be appropriate for developing countries’ cities currently, these locations are rapidly adopting mobile technology and present models for how to stay ahead of the curve.

-          Terra Curtis

San Francisco's Tall Order

Market StreetNow you’ve seen the official announcement for Living Labs Global’s Award for 2012.  Twenty cities will pick twenty solutions to pilot locally in a scheme to benefit both cities and companies.  Broadly speaking, the cities we’ve partnered with in this award round are concerned with six large topics: energy, health, housing, sustainability, tourism, and transportation.

While there are reasons to be cautious about public-private partnerships like those we promote through the award, the overwhelming sentiment today is that these sorts of relationships are fundamental to the success of innovation in cities.  In a recent interview, San Francisco mayoral candidate Phil Ting said,

"Using Web 2.0 tools, Sunshine (Ordinance information) requests and a little old-fashioned incentive-based marketing, we were able to do in less than two months and for just $1,000 what it would have taken City Hall two years and millions of dollars to accomplish."

In today’s economic environment, these relationships are crucial.  San Francisco is one of our partner cities this round; they are looking for new solutions to use its street light poles for integrated, expandable wireless monitoring and controls to consolidate the city’s wireless systems.  This comes on the heels of an announcement that the city will provide free wifi along the Market Street corridor, an area of the city that has received a lot of attention lately as the focus of an economic stimulation and transportation improvement project.

The solution San Francisco seeks, though, goes beyond leveraging street poles as wifi infrastructure.  They want a comprehensive solution to the provision of many urban services – street light control, electric vehicle charging, parking monitoring, and the promotion of public safety and energy efficiency – by leveraging the public infrastructure already in place.

Lessons could be taken from Barcelona’s 22@Urban Lab project, which has implemented smart street lights, utility monitoring, and several other sustainability-focused projects.  No one solution has yet been comprehensive, though.

Further, while a recent student suggests more than 2/3rds of electric vehicle charging equipment will be sold and used by individual households, citizens of San Francisco (and other large cities) face the challenge of access to charging stations at home.  In California, Assembly Bill 631 was recently passed, which vows to “provide market certainty” for the infrastructure that is needed to support a consumer fleet of electric vehicles.  Therefore, the company to pilot a solution here could open many opportunities for themselves throughout the state.

-          Terra Curtis

Twenty Global Cities Launch Technology Award to improve the living standards of 100 Million Citizens

Twenty global cities, including Barcelona, Cape Town, Lagos, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco, in four continents, join forces with Living Labs Global, Oracle, CityMart.com and The Climate Group in an effort to find innovative solutions that will improve the living standards of more than 100m citizens by launching the Living Labs Global Award.  International technology and service solution service providers will compete for twenty winning spots that will allow them to pilot their solutions in these cities and put their effectiveness to the test.  

Babatunde Fashola, Governor State of Lagos says: “For any modern City, Lagos being no exception, the requirement to leverage innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity and this I believe is the objective of our partnership with the 'Living Labs Global Award”.

“Oracle is proud of the collaboration with Living Labs Global and cities around the world to improve citizen services through innovation and technology achievement,” said Juan Rada, Senior Vice President, Public Sector.  "Oracle is pleased to be the corporate sponsor of the Living Labs Global Award 2012 showcasing technology innovation in the Public Sector.”

Living Labs Global (www.livinglabs-global.com), the non-profit association which promotes new technologies and services in cities will be working with Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadelajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa to select the providers and the solutions that will best tackle key urban challenges such as social inclusion, intelligent transport, urban service automation, urban lighting, open data systems, smart living, and healthcare.

Councillor Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said “We think the Living Labs Global Award scheme is a real opportunity to help find an innovative solution, fully utilising emerging technologies to efficiently and effectively process food waste, resulting in a sustainable energy source for the benefit of Birmingham businesses and residents.”

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington says: "San Francisco is proudly participating in this innovative program to find the best and brightest ideas that will make our city infrastructure more efficient and resilient."

Daniel Hoornweg, Lead Urban Specialist, Cities and Climate Change at the World Bank says “The Living Labs Global Award is particularly useful in that it looks for transformative solutions from all cities around the world. The twenty participating cities have adopted a common standard and process to learn from each other, evaluate, and pilot solutions. This award again shows how cities are best able to learn from each other.”

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such an important group of world cities. It is their vision, their leadership, their understanding of current and future challenges and their belief in the power of innovation that is making the Living Labs Global Award not only possible – but a blueprint for the future of cities everywhere”.

The Awards’ last editions attracted 562 entries from 41 countries with winners including, among others, a smart real-time peer-to-peer parking system in Stockholm and an open data citizen participation platform in San Francisco. Oracle Corporation has been named as the lead corporate partner for the Living Labs Global Award 2012 with CityMart.com providing the technical and social networking infrastructure through its urban technology marketplace. International NGO, The Climate Group, and The World Bank are strategic partners, incorporating the Living Labs Global Award into their flagship “Clean Revolution” campaign.

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Living Labs Global and this impressive array of global cities. We live in an increasingly urban world. The cities’ investment in smart technologies and clean energy, their commitment to use innovation as the best way to both confront urban challenges and improve the living standards of their citizens are crucial in driving the Clean Revolution forward and ensure a cleaner, smarter, better world for all”.

Thomas Ebling, CTO of CityMart.com says: “Living Labs Global Award is an important global process that will contribute to our vision of revolutionising the way local governments invest in and regulate new technologies and services in cities. Its clear process, documented results and accountability are an important milestone and opens the window to large and small solution providers from around the world.”

Twenty Award Categories are being presented and entries are going to be reviewed by international experts against criteria such as climate and community impact, innovation, market relevance and ease of implementation. The Award Categories were defined together with decision-makers in cities around the world. Behind each Category lies the commitment of a city to pilot the winning showcase, with full institutional support to evaluate the impact the solution can have on reaching the community’s objectives.

Submissions to qualify for the Living Labs Global Award can be submitted until the 17th of February 2012. A shortlist of the top 5 Showcases will be presented by each partner city on March 5th 2012. The final Award winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony May 2nd 2012 in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities.

Mischa Dohler, CTO of Worldsensing and Winner of a Living Labs Global Award in the 2011 edition says: “Winning the Living Labs Global Award in May 2011 gave us a pilot trial of our cutting-edge smart parking solution in Sant Cugat. Usually very difficult to achieve, a town hall has actually committed within less than a month to testing and evaluating an innovative technology solution to ease the daily headache of finding a vacant parking space, improve the efficiency, carbon footprint and revenue for the city. For us, as a start-up, this was a major break-through.”

www.twitter.com/livinglabsaward

www.facebook.com/LLGA2012

www.llga.org

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen, Denmark, working with 50 global cities and more than 500 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation in services in cities. In 2011 Living Labs Global was recognized as a major global social innovation initiative by Ashoka. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in our Living Labs Global Showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.  Together, we build Your Market for Mobility.

Endorsements of Living Labs Global can be found here: www.livinglabs-global.com/endorsements.asp. Award Twitter Newsfeed: www.twitter.com/LivingLabsAward

About Citymart.com

CityMart.com is providing the secure online submission, showcasing and evaluation platform for the Award process as part of a vision to revolutionise the way cities procure, invest and regulate services. CityMart.com is a technology start-up offering a professional networking and market exchange platform that provides new scalability to build a rapidly growing community of more than 1,000 solution providers and 250+ cities.

CityMart.com offers social networking, market intelligence, evaluation and market development tools to all professionals working with innovative services in cities.

www.citymart.com

About Oracle

Oracle Corporation is acting as corporate partner to promote global smart city solutions.

Oracle's Solutions for Smart Cities, which are based on our experience with local government customers and best-in-class technology and applications, enable you to do the following:

  • Smart Innovation - Resolve up to 90 percent (or more) of most government service requests through integrated multichannel services, including self-service Web/chat; local single numbers such as 311, 1823, 133, 115; Facebook; Twitter; e-mail, etc.
  • Smart Processes - Analyze and streamline key areas—service delivery, infrastructure expenditures, constituent feedback, and others—to determine which services to prioritize, extend, consolidate, or even discontinue
  • Smart Infrastructure - Modernize IT infrastructure to enable integration and interoperability within a city’s existing siloed legacy IT infrastructure and embedded intelligence into city infrastructure to enhance service delivery.
  • Link:  http://www.oracle.com/us/industries/public-sector/smart-cities.htm

About The Climate Group

The Climate Group delivers expertise in the evaluation and knowledge exchange around climate issues.

The Climate Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which brings together a global coalition of the world’s most powerful governments, brands and public figures across Asia, Europe and North America. Since 2004, we’ve been working with governments, business leaders and the world’s most influential individuals -- to push for the policies, technologies and investment we need to make the Clean Revolution commercially viable. Together, we have the power to create a smarter, better, more prosperous future for all.

The Value of Open Data

SF Weekly This San Francisco Chronicle article tells the story well: city government makes bold plans to update its information systems; city government lacks the resources to keep up with communications technology development in the private sector; city government opens data; private developers do the work for them. That is the general story behind the Summer of Smart event held in San Francisco this past summer.  Private web and mobile developers came together with employees of city government and others interested in spurring the technological advance of city communications tools.

One of the apps developed at the event, SMART Muni, comes as a direct result of open access to public transit data.  It provides both Muni administrators and Muni riders with real-time data on emergencies or delays in the system by using GPS data feeds sent directly from the vehicles.  The creators of the app, which come from very diverse backgrounds, envision a more fluidly managed system that results in fewer delays and happier customers.

One salient point made by the Chronicle writer was that in the past, citizens’ only method of engagement with the government was through protest, voting, or paying taxes.  Today, they can engage through positive and constructive means, shaping their own civic engagement process.  Happier customers indeed.

- Terra Curtis

 

Take the Old with the New

SF Public LibraryA new history tool combines the insight of San Francisco’s tech community with the value of public data.  OldSF, a website built by Dan Vanderkam and designed by Raven Keller, takes the San Francisco Public Library’s Historical Photo Collection and geocodes the images onto a Google Map. The Library’s full collection contains about 40,000 images, with about half of those containing enough geographic information to be placed on a map.  OldSF currently has geocoded about 13,000 images.  All you have to do is click a dot on the map and one or several photos from that location appear to the right.  Click the image and you see a larger version.

Vanderkam has added a lot of value to the images by placing them on a map, and a lot of richness to the story of San Francisco’s neighborhoods.  He was actually inspired to build the site because he found a mislabeled photograph among the collection when looking for his apartment.  He discovered that the photo was actually taken from his roof, and it is gems like this that many will discover by poking around his new site.  The image above is a photograph of Dolores Park from 1972; the sign reads “Park Closed to Public on School Days.”  Anyone who has been to Dolores Park recently probably has a very difficult time imaging that park ever being so empty.

- Terra Curtis

 

Sharing Catching On?

This weekend, not once but twice did I see RelayRides vehicles in action.  I mentioned RelayRides back in February after returning from the annual Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, DC, where I overheard friendly banter between their Founder and some representatives of the federal Department of Transportation about the need for better carsharing incentives.  After initial success in Boston, the neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing service set out to conquer San Francisco, and now I’ve seen their users conquering the streets of the city as well as those of nature-preserved Marin County. I also recently received a newsletter from Avego, a real-time ridesharing service based in Seattle.  They’ve worked to create a critical mass of riders and drivers to facilitate real-time ridesharing to and from the Microsoft campus outside Seattle with their go520 project.  How are they getting it?  By offering a guaranteed ride in addition to rides arranged on the fly.  This will encourage skeptics to try it out, and the hope is that they’ll be satisfied and establish the needed critical mass for the system to run smoothly on its own.  They’re well on their way; over 1,000 participants have already signed up.

Lastly, I wanted to mention the launch of Boston’s bikeshare system, Hubway.  On July 28th, the system launched with 60 stations and already more than 700 people signed up for an annual membership.  Boston currently has about 35 miles of bike lanes, most of which have been built under Mayor Menino’s vision for a more bicycle-friendly city.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaTfsTdPsEs&w=439&h=250]

- Terra Curtis

 

Advancing open government/Gov 2.0 in San Francisco

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu_-D44rCwE&w=439&h=250] The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has partnered with the San Francisco Department of Technology to launch Summer of Smart, a three-month intensive program that brings together designers, planners, architects, technologists, developers and other urbanists to create bold new ideas to address pressing issues in San Francisco.  At the conclusion of the program, leading ideas will be presented to Mayoral candidates to inspire lasting change in the city.

The program includes three weekends of workshops covering Community Development and Public Art; Sustainability, Transportation, and Energy; and, Public Health, Food, and Nutrition.  Each weekend, attendees are asked to focus on the following question: What projects and applications should be built around urban issues facing San Francisco, and then presented to mayoral candidates for their feedback and support?

This is perhaps too big a question to start with.  It seems that necessarily the process must start by identifying the existing issues and examining the feasibility of tech or open government-type solutions.  That’s why it is so important that attendees include both those working within the government and those from the tech world.

Some solutions mentioned in their Twitter feed (#sfsos) and on the website so far include:

  • Publicly-visible eBay for government contracts
  • A management system for transit agencies to view real-time delay information, change operations
  • The Neighborhood Game, designed to inspire people to meet their neighbors and learn more about their neighborhood
  • Permit This, aggregating building permit info with building codes

A major success of the program could be simply to bring open government and technology into the mayoral debate.  This video highlights the tech (il)literacy of each of the candidates.

- Terra Curtis

 

Advancing open government/Gov 2.0 in San Francisco

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu_-D44rCwE&w=439&h=250] The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has partnered with the San Francisco Department of Technology to launch Summer of Smart, a three-month intensive program that brings together designers, planners, architects, technologists, developers and other urbanists to create bold new ideas to address pressing issues in San Francisco.  At the conclusion of the program, leading ideas will be presented to Mayoral candidates to inspire lasting change in the city.

The program includes three weekends of workshops covering Community Development and Public Art; Sustainability, Transportation, and Energy; and, Public Health, Food, and Nutrition.  Each weekend, attendees are asked to focus on the following question: What projects and applications should be built around urban issues facing San Francisco, and then presented to mayoral candidates for their feedback and support?

This is perhaps too big a question to start with.  It seems that necessarily the process must start by identifying the existing issues and examining the feasibility of tech or open government-type solutions.  That’s why it is so important that attendees include both those working within the government and those from the tech world.

Some solutions mentioned in their Twitter feed (#sfsos) and on the website so far include:

  • Publicly-visible eBay for government contracts
  • A management system for transit agencies to view real-time delay information, change operations
  • The Neighborhood Game, designed to inspire people to meet their neighbors and learn more about their neighborhood
  • Permit This, aggregating building permit info with building codes

A major success of the program could be simply to bring open government and technology into the mayoral debate.  This video highlights the tech (il)literacy of each of the candidates.

- Terra Curtis

 

Smart City Implementation: NYC and SF

SFParkIntelligent cities projects are not just an idealized concept anymore; they’re actually happening all around us, whether or not we realize it.  New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced about a week ago that NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority had partnered with the Federal Government to develop and implement a real-time traffic tracking system that enables their traffic operations office to make changes to signal timing right from their desktop computer.  In San Francisco, the USDOT’s Urban Partnership Program primarily funded the development and installation of a real-time parking supply and demand tracking system, which this week implemented its first round of demand-responsive parking price changes. The system in San Francisco has many implications for the future of transportation management.  The back-end data structure has been consciously designed to be flexible for future real-time data collection additions, like a feed of real-time boardings on Muni, the city’s public transit system.  In the words of project manager Jay Primus, “[Microsoft] Excel just won’t cut it anymore.”  And he’s right; leveraging relational database technology, which has actually existed for quite a while (the 1970s), is seen as a huge and innovative step for municipal government.  In one simple query, the city could understand how parking demand is related to public transit boardings.  Add real-time, automated automobile, bicycle and pedestrian volumes to the mix, and you’ve got a truly multi-modal management system.

New York’s system is offers the development of one piece of this as well.  They collect traffic volume information from microwave sensors, video cameras, and E-Z Pass readers throughout Manhattan.  They’re verifying the system’s data collection with GPS units installed in several taxicabs travelling throughout the city every day.

Without the financial backing of the federal government, it’s unlikely that either of these projects would have come to fruition.  This is one case where, gladly, money is power.

- Terra Curtis

 

Smart City Implementation: NYC and SF

SFParkIntelligent cities projects are not just an idealized concept anymore; they’re actually happening all around us, whether or not we realize it.  New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced about a week ago that NYC’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority had partnered with the Federal Government to develop and implement a real-time traffic tracking system that enables their traffic operations office to make changes to signal timing right from their desktop computer.  In San Francisco, the USDOT’s Urban Partnership Program primarily funded the development and installation of a real-time parking supply and demand tracking system, which this week implemented its first round of demand-responsive parking price changes. The system in San Francisco has many implications for the future of transportation management.  The back-end data structure has been consciously designed to be flexible for future real-time data collection additions, like a feed of real-time boardings on Muni, the city’s public transit system.  In the words of project manager Jay Primus, “[Microsoft] Excel just won’t cut it anymore.”  And he’s right; leveraging relational database technology, which has actually existed for quite a while (the 1970s), is seen as a huge and innovative step for municipal government.  In one simple query, the city could understand how parking demand is related to public transit boardings.  Add real-time, automated automobile, bicycle and pedestrian volumes to the mix, and you’ve got a truly multi-modal management system.

New York’s system is offers the development of one piece of this as well.  They collect traffic volume information from microwave sensors, video cameras, and E-Z Pass readers throughout Manhattan.  They’re verifying the system’s data collection with GPS units installed in several taxicabs travelling throughout the city every day.

Without the financial backing of the federal government, it’s unlikely that either of these projects would have come to fruition.  This is one case where, gladly, money is power.

- Terra Curtis

 

Preparing the Populace, 2.0

Despite my enthusiasm for this use case, municipal mobile apps aren’t only good for data collection – they can also be used for information dissemination.  Such is the purpose of the Bay Bridge Explorer app, a driving simulator for iPhone and iPad developed in partnership with a coalition of government agencies including Caltrans, the Bay Area Toll Authority, and the California Transportation Commission.Bay Bridge app The San Francisco – Oakland Bridge is currently undergoing major construction for seismic retrofits.  The project, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2013, involves several temporary or sectional changes to the traffic pattern before its completion.  Caltrans learned the hard way when one of the early changes, the infamous s-curve, led to the death of a truck driver who entered the curve 10 mph faster than he should have.  Then, they responded by installing more and brighter signage.

Now, they’re acting preventatively by providing drivers the opportunity to test the bridge’s new alignment before actually encountering it from behind the wheel.   Users of the Bay Bridge Explorer app are able to simulate the driving experience and also see very detailed birds-eye view visualizations of the new structure.

So far the app has received some bad reviews because it is so detailed and causing systems to crash.  But, bugs are being worked out, and I’m hopeful that it can help prepare at least some for the new pattern they should expect.

- Terra Curtis

 

Preparing the Populace, 2.0

Despite my enthusiasm for this use case, municipal mobile apps aren’t only good for data collection – they can also be used for information dissemination.  Such is the purpose of the Bay Bridge Explorer app, a driving simulator for iPhone and iPad developed in partnership with a coalition of government agencies including Caltrans, the Bay Area Toll Authority, and the California Transportation Commission.Bay Bridge app The San Francisco – Oakland Bridge is currently undergoing major construction for seismic retrofits.  The project, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2013, involves several temporary or sectional changes to the traffic pattern before its completion.  Caltrans learned the hard way when one of the early changes, the infamous s-curve, led to the death of a truck driver who entered the curve 10 mph faster than he should have.  Then, they responded by installing more and brighter signage.

Now, they’re acting preventatively by providing drivers the opportunity to test the bridge’s new alignment before actually encountering it from behind the wheel.   Users of the Bay Bridge Explorer app are able to simulate the driving experience and also see very detailed birds-eye view visualizations of the new structure.

So far the app has received some bad reviews because it is so detailed and causing systems to crash.  But, bugs are being worked out, and I’m hopeful that it can help prepare at least some for the new pattern they should expect.

- Terra Curtis

 

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 companies and research centres in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with a mission to open the market for service innovation in cities and overcoming key technology, organisation and trade barriers.

The Living Labs Global Award is an annual process over 8 months in which cities present their challenges and provide guidance to the business and technology community on future investment plans and needs. Solution providers respond by submitting existing technologies as entries for evaluation by an international jury.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. Facts: More than 557,000 local governments provide services to more than 50% of the world’s population with an annual spending of 3.5 Trillion Euros per year. New technologies can radically improve transport and mobility systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 companies and research centres in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with a mission to open the market for service innovation in cities and overcoming key technology, organisation and trade barriers.

The Living Labs Global Award is an annual process over 8 months in which cities present their challenges and provide guidance to the business and technology community on future investment plans and needs. Solution providers respond by submitting existing technologies as entries for evaluation by an international jury.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. Facts: More than 557,000 local governments provide services to more than 50% of the world’s population with an annual spending of 3.5 Trillion Euros per year. New technologies can radically improve transport and mobility systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.