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Making the megacity sustainable through IoT

Fog in Dubai Marina

32.6 trillion liters.

That, roughly, is the amount of water annually lost through leaky pipes before it gets to homes, businesses and hospitals. Put another way, if you could detect those leaks and plug them, you could almost fill China’s Three Gorges Dam to the brim every year with clean, treated water.*

The “leaky pipe” problem highlights one of the biggest challenges we face in the coming decades. Simply put, we’re going to have to figure out new ways to bring basic resources like food, power and water to a growing number of people who increasingly live in large urban centers. These are the defining issues of Sustainable Cities.

Approximately 54% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, a figure that will likely rise to 66% by 2050. China alone will have 221 cities with over one million people by 2025 (Europe has only 35 today). The number of megacities with more than ten million residents will more than double in the coming years.

The good news is that we can do this. The increasing sophistication and declining cost of digital technologies will become a platform for economizing resources and sharing physical space in ways that are both economical and more convenient. Things will be micromanaged, but you won’t feel like you’re being micromanaged.

All kinds of resources are leaking away

Consider the experience of Maynilad, the water agency for Manila. Maynilad serves millions of customers over 540 square kilometers: it manages nearly 7,500 kilometers of water and sewer pipes and 19 reservoirs. In 2007, nearly 20% of the citizens in its service territory could not even get service, roughly half did not have 24-hour service and over half did not have sufficient water pressure to support basic functions and services.

As part of an overhaul, Maynilad pursued an aggressive program to monitor the entire water system with metrics like real-time water flows, while mapping consumption patterns in different geographies. By 2013, it was servicing 94.7% percent of its customers, 97% had 24 hour service and 99% had sufficient pressure. At the same time, Maynilad recovered 640 million liters of treated water.

Or consider power theft. Electric power is the third most lost [stolen] commodity in the world. Some estimate that over 30% of India’s electric power gets stolen on a regular basis, causing chronic blackouts and economic losses exceeding $17 billion annually. These kinds of losses happen everywhere, not just in India. South Africa, Brazil and Eastern Europe face similar challenges. Technology has been developed that can remotely detect unusual usage patterns and thwart thieves. (A substantial portion of stolen power is used in illegal drug operations so it has a positive impact on community safety as well.)

These same technologies to monitor the electricity grid, can be used inside of the buildings and businesses connected to the grid. In fact they will become a gateway for economic revitalization. Studies show that energy efficient buildings achieve higher rental rates and often get “leased up” more quickly: on average, owners claim their ROI is 19.2% higher than on normal projects. In another example of using technology to drive sustainable outcomes, smart parking systems can reduce emissions and energy consumption as well as reduce resistance to coming to crowded down areas. It’s no coincidence that urban campuses like Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley have been incubating start-ups in this market.

Not only for the megacity

Megacities, won’t be the only proving ground either. Lawrence, Kansas, a college city with a population of 90,000 is currently experimenting with using software to reduce the cost and energy involved in treating wastewater by shifting treatment procedures to off-peak hours. These technologies are being tested and deployed in both Megacities and villages.

Microgrid technologies being developed and tested in Industrial Academic centers are being deployed in places like rural India, where sustainable supply of clean renewable energy is a real life changer, providing power necessary for refrigeration, water treatment and other basic necessities.

None of this, of course, will happen overnight. Advanced lighting and energy management systems will have to pass multiple pilot tests before they percolate everywhere. The first widespread “smart” vehicles won’t likely won’t be passenger cars. They may be ships, trains and trucks operating at first in somewhat controlled environments and their performance will be dissected in multiple ways. Technology providers are also going to have to figure out new business models—as a service? Lease to own?– to make these upgrades as painless as possible.

Privacy and security also have to be considered. When Twitter goes down, people make jokes about it on the Internet. If your metropolitan transportation district unexpectedly shut down, the result would be chaos. Making sure systems are resilient, secure and redundant will be just as important, if not more important, than new features.

Again, this won’t be easy. The next few decades will be a time of trial and error. But I believe we’re going to discover we have more resources than we thought, and collectively we will drive Sustainable Outcomes and the technology platforms will be a key component of every city and village. I am excited about this future, I am excited about Sustainability, and I am excited about the technologies to help make it happen.

The author is the smart city principal and corporate fellow and OSIsoft

The post Making the megacity sustainable through IoT appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Making your content perform beyond just SEO

Content that generates traffic is great; content that generates leads and sales is better. Columnist Janet Driscoll Miller offers tips for content performance, from creation to optimization to conversion.

The post Making your content perform beyond just SEO appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Making your content perform beyond just SEO – Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land
Making your content perform beyond just SEO
Search Engine Land
Another potential optimization issue can be thin content. What if the writer doesn't write enough content, and Google thinks it's too thin? The Yoast plugin for WordPress is helpful for contributors who may not always know basic SEO rules for content
If You're Only Focused on Keywords, Here's Why You're Thinking WrongSearch Engine Journal
How to Get Past the Dreaded SEO (subscription)
Dan Anton SEO: Automation collides with personalizationInternational Business Times AU

all 5 news articles »

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Iot and home appliances: Making your life a little easier


The implementation of Broadcom Wi-Fi and BLE technology is changing the way we live, in regards to our health as well as our lifestyles.  Since the development of internet, things have rapidly changed around us as the many uses of internet are realized.

Today, we have the opportunity for real-time video gaming, music streaming and staying connected around the clock by way of social media sites like Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Google.

How Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connect appliances

Through Broadcom Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies, the power of the Internet can be used to connect devices we never would have considered before. In the near future, we will probably wonder how we ever managed without them.  This concept of connected devices is named the “Internet of Things”, and it is rapidly expanding in use.

Broadcom’s Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) technology integrates wireless technology with home systems such as appliances and thermostats, making it a possibility to turn any home appliance into a remotely controlled device.

The combination of Wi-Fi-based connectivity with WICED removes the guess work out of monitoring energy usage, which allows for lower utility bills. It can also give owners information about their home devices, helping them make better choices in regards to maintenance. Connected home appliances that can be monitored and controlled remotely are an amazing concept that has already been turned into a reality, and is actually considered the norm for many.  There are already numerous connected devices that are making home life simpler.

But massive scale isn’t everything with smart appliances

There are a lot of connected appliances out there now, and not everything has massive scale. GE’s FirstBuild facility is using smaller scale manufacturing to quickly develop more of these smart devices, more quickly.

Some other interesting smart appliance applications include:

SkylinkNet alarm system

The SkylinkNet alarm system is just one of many smart home security systems available today. Window and door fixtures are secured with motion sensors that alert owners when there is an intruder.  It is simple to set up SkyLink’s product and connect it to a smartphone.  It offers a keychain fob that allows users to remotely alarm and disarm the security system, and it provides a button for users to call for help if needed.


Philips Hue is a smart lighting system for the home that integrates LED lighting with mobile technology.  An app connects to Wi-Fi and allows users to control various bulbs and lighting systems within their home.

Nest smart thermostat

Controllable by a smartphone and an accompanying app, the Nest Thermostat is a smart device created by Nest, and it has the potential to lower an energy bill by up to 20 percent.   Nest offers other IoT home devices as well, including a camera security system and smoke alarms.

LG HomeChat

A controller for all smart appliances, LG HomeChat hub makes controlling other devices a breeze, from changing washer cycles, to turning on a robot vacuum and much more.  The hub also diagnoses any problems with appliances, and alerts users.

Kevo Kwikset

With Kevo, a smartphone can be turned into a door key. Available to Android and iOS smartphone users, the Kevo is an electronic deadbolt that interacts with a Kevo Fob and an accompanying app to unlock or lock a door. The app can also be used to send virtual keys to guests that need temporary access.

Withings Body Cardio Scale

Withings’s most recent smart scale, the Body Cardio, can record a person’s heart rate along with pulse wave velocity. The scale connects to a smart phone, sending all kinds of health data to users including muscle, water and bone mass and heart health.

These are just a few of the numerous connected home appliances available today.  With so many appliances becoming connected, what things will be next?  How about an app-controlled coffee maker that allows users to operate it remotely?  Oh wait…That already exists.

The post Iot and home appliances: Making your life a little easier appeared first on ReadWrite.

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