News round-up - September

Written by Niki May Young on 30 September 2012

From the latest research into government spending on smart technology, to the implementation of a commuter cycle route into London, Niki May Young rounds-up September's leading news from around the world.

Global government investment in smart tech will reach US$4.8bn in 6 years

Governments around the world will spend US$2.5bn annually on smart technologies by 2017, according to clean energy research organisation Pike Research. In a study released in May and highlighted  by the organisation in September, governments spent $706m in 2011 utilizing modern technology to meet economic, environmental, and social challenges. The survey concludes that between then and 2017, $4.8bn will have been spent on smart government technology. In North America alone, it speculates spend to be $1bn in 2017. “Cloud-based computing, in particular, offers new options for cities that reduce capital expenditure, provide access to new skills, and reduce time-to-deployment of new solutions,” says research director Eric Woods.

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ZTE launches 4I smart city model in China

Telecommunications giant ZTE launched its smart city strategy for China in Beijing on 13 September whilst announcing a partnership with smart city operators China All Access and Beijing Capitel. The 4I smart city model (which stands for Information, Intelligence, Innovation and I) is an extension of the corporation's I-City model, launched in August 2011. The project hopes to utilise cloud computing to provide a city data centre for ideas on urban construction. Chang Jinyun, vice-president of ZTE, advised that the project could provide around half of the company's government and enterprise revenue in the future, from one-seventh now.  

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London Mayor courts SkyCycle commuter concept

London Mayor Boris Johnson is entertaining a concept design for a cycle superhighway that would allow commuters to travel safely into the city centre by bicycle. The SkyCycle concept, by Exterior Architecture, utilises existing railways by plugging on cycle tubes to remove cyclists from treacherous roads. After contacting the Mayor in February, Exterior Architecture has since held two meetings with the Deputy Mayor for Transport, Isabel Dedring and met with the UK's major rail management company Network Rail. The architects believe SkyCycle could provide a viable solution to the safety and management of London's cyclists which are estimated to make up to 500,000 journeys per day. This is expected to increase to 1.5 million journeys per day by 2020.

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New York 'Hackathon' seeks city sustainability solutions

Hackers, software developers, investors, and thought leaders congregated in New York on 29 and 30 September to take part in the CleanWeb Hackathon - a competition to develop applications that address resource constraint issues through the use of the latest technology. The event is one of a series held around North America and Europe and has gained support from Facebook and the Carbon War Room. 65 participants developed a number of applications including 'Shady routes', which combines existing data sets on tree canopies in New York to provide a more shaded route for pedestrians and cyclists, and 'Green NYC Trips' which utilises crowd-sourcing to input route, time and distance to create routes for pedestrians and cyclists around the city.

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Ningbo signs 23 smart city agreements worth US$1.4bn

One of China's oldest cities has signed 23 agreements with smart city partners to implement new technologies designed to make the city more resilient. The agreements were signed at Ningbo's second Smart City Expo on 10 September and are worth 9bn Yuan (US$1.4bn).  The projects include a cloud computing data centre, the CETC Ningbo marine electronic research institute and the development of the Grosvenor smart city R&D comprehensive industrial park.

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Indian thought-leaders urge government to embrace smart city developments

Thought leaders in Gurgaon, India invited government officials to the region's first smart city conference, hosted by local think tank Gurgaon First on 12 September, in a bid to convince them of the need to improve the city's infrastructure resilience. The event discussed how becoming more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources could result in cost savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental impact. The hosts will now use the event to produce a White Paper to be presented to the government outlining further action they believe is necessary.  

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Oslo implements smart street lighting

The Norwegian capital city is to implement street lighting that will sense and optimise light for fog, twilight and snowfall; inform maintenance when bulbs run out, and be turned on and off by a web portal which monitors sunrise and sunset. The system will replace current photovoltaic sensors which the project's machine-to-machine provider, Telenor, says has an error margin of 40 to 45 minutes for each of the city's 80,000 lights. Lighting efficiencies are being implemented as part of the 'Nordic 8' - a development collaborative between  8 Nordic cities – solutions for sustainable cities.

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AITEC celebrates silver anniversary with Smart Cities conference

AITEC, an events company pioneering the implementation of IT solutions in Africa is to celebrate its 25th year by hosting a smart cities conference in partnership with IBM. “Relatively new to East Africa, adoption of smart city solutions is fast becoming an important milestone for leading cities,” the IT firm said upon announcing its summit which  for the first time will focus on technologies that will make cities more efficient. The AITEC East Africa ICT Summit, the largest of its kind in East Africa, will take place on 24-25 October in Nairobi, Kenya.

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