For Release Friday, September 20, 2013
TORONTO – Maybe the game-changer is 3-D printing. Or maybe it’s robotic cars and “autonomous driving,” an innovation that may well mean we’ll never again have to learn to parallel park. Maybe it’s “the Internet of everything” – the idea that sooner or later almost everything will be connected via the Internet.
It’s obvious big changes are coming to cities worldwide and to daily life. During last week’s “Meeting of the Minds” conference in Toronto, much of the talk was about “a smarter and more connected urban future.”
We heard of reinventions, “smart cities” and Big Data. Rogier van der Heide, chief design officer for Philips Lighting, mentioned “a thin layer of technology all over the city.” We heard from people who invented a way you can lay claim, online at least, to an area of your city and create social and information networks for anyone you admit into your network, all of whom presumably carry mobile devices that tell them the information you want them to have.
Already, some 13 billion devices worldwide are connected, said Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer of Cisco Systems, who predicted that will soar to 50 billion by 2020. Yes, the Internet of Everything, indeed.
We heard about IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge, making grants to 100 cities around the globe, “enabling cities to make transformational changes which have resulted in many new insights.” Turns out my own city (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) was one of the first to receive a Smart City Challenge, in 2010. Who knew?