In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I had a great conversation with Sarah Wray, the editor at Smart Cities World, an online publication covering all the latest news and trends around Smart Cities and Smart Communities. Sarah and I discuss her background in writing for telecommunications and how that led her to this Smart space, as well as why she believes it’s important that the Smart concepts don’t get kept only in the cities but that small towns and regional communities can benefit from them too. We talk about how the UK is embracing the Smart concepts, and a number of really interesting projects that are happening both in the UK and globally. Sarah and I also talk about how to better integrate across disciplines, and the emerging trends of cybersecurity and of Smarts being visible, but not secret. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.
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What we cover in this episode:
- Sarah’s background in writing for telecommunications and how that led her to being interested in and involved with Smart Cities
- What a Smart City is to Sarah and why she believes it’s an important area
- How the UK is embracing Smart concepts
- Projects Sarah is currently researching or writing about and examples of Smart concepts being implemented around the world
- The importance of open data for integrating across disciplines, governments, industries
- The PR problem with Smart Cities and why tech should be invisible but not secret
- The emerging trends of cybersecurity and privacy and why we should be discussing it in more depth
For me it’s a city that’s always looking to improve, to become a better place to live or visit. I think now cities have a lot more tools to better understand the city and what’s going on, and so they can perhaps make more informed decisions to make those improvements.
I don’t think it’s all about the technology; sometimes the Smartest solution will be very low or no tech….more playgrounds or green spaces or how do we use all these empty buildings. Homelessness is a huge issue in many cities and that has to be part of becoming Smarter. But the solution isn’t aways technological.
I’m from a really quite small town and I’d hate to see somewhere like that be left behind even further. I would like to see places like that also benefit from all this innovation and help to be moved ahead and help the people there.
In our research we found that although 80% of people who we surveyed said they think they have a good or fairly good understanding of [blockchain] technology, concerns about understanding the technology came out as the number one challenge for moving ahead with it.”
“When I tell my friends and family about what my job is, usually they kind of look confused and sometimes concerned. I get a lot of comments about Big Brother when it comes to Smart Cities and I find this hugely worrying, because a lot of us live in cities that are striving to become Smarter in various ways, so I think there’s kind of a public image problem.”
“Cybersecurity is really going up the agenda, but often it feels like something, along with privacy, that cities say ‘yes we have that covered’ but the details are a little bit scant.”
- London’s bid to become the world’s most walkable city
- Profile of Bristol
- The Milton Keynes Data Hub
- The research Smart Cities World did on how well people understand Blockchain
- DECODE project in Barcelona
- CityVerve in Manchester
- Ransomware attacks in Atlanta and the Port of San Diego
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The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.