Paul Manwaring | Glimworm

What does your smart city look like?

This is actually a very difficult question. It is a philisophical question whos answer lies to the origin of the city which is people coming together to help each other which forms communities. Smart citizens make smart cities and they do it organically through value exchange. Our approach is to facilate choice and voice in the public domain by creating IoT interactive networks that can allow people to particapate in ways that add valuable data via valuable interactions. It is a fundamental paradigm shift in thinking from traditional process hierarchy (top down) to functional hierarchy (bottom up) — not just user centric design for smart city functionalities and solutions but accelerating user (crowd) sourced organic IoT enabled system creation.

Which hurdles need to be taken?

Another difficult question but to be very tough and critical we have to draw on our experience and admit that making radical changes is difficult and the most difficult aspects of shifting power from locked in solution providers to citizens are the established intellectual property laws and systems and the established procurement process. We cannot create bottom up momentum without bypassing the established risk adverse practices in place and this is why crowd funding, crowd sourcing and citizen empowerment are so valuable in this power shift.

How do you attribute to smart cities?

This is what we are doing with the iBeacon/IoT Living Lab and now the IoT Olympics — we are creating large IoT sense networks in public spaces to enable interactivity that drives this shift. Installing pervasive and accessible open reactive systems accelerates the OPEN data that accelerates positive change.

What is a good example of a smart city?

Jonathan always says (and I agree of course) that a Smart City is a sensitive city — one that changes with the needs of the individual as well as the community. Giving people choices rather than solutions and then taking those choices in the form of data to contribute to crowd sourced solutions in context that are adaptable is what we are hoping to achieve. Some very simple but very powerful examples we see are in disruptive social innovation such as Kickstarter, Air B&B and Uber but also on the hardware side which is very important for us with Raspberry Pi and Arduino which are also realated to other important disruptive tech such as 3-D printing that contribute to the Maker Movement.

What are the dangers of a connected city?

Another very good and difficult question! What we always have to remember and reflect upon is history and that fact that any technology can be malicious in the hands of the wrong people. The dangers are as many and massive as is the potential for good so we have to have the balance of creation, control and power in the hands of the many instead of the few. This is why crowd sourced systems generation is important as well as keeping these systems and the data they create open and accessible.

Are you worried about a possible economic and social divide because of new technological opportunities?

I think the answers from the previous question apply- as power is distributed more evenly and even more balanced in favor of the people so will the social and economic benefit — we already see positive shift in the disruptive social innovations mentioned above such as Air B&B, Uber, 3-D printing, Crowdfunding, etc.