All posts by michael

Blanco Urban Venue is New Client

Blanco urban venue is a new event, wedding and meeting venue in downtown San Jose California. We are thrilled to be doing the marketing and social media for Blanco which will be opening in Fall of 2019. Be sure to check it out and book a tour to see the many indoor and outdoor  meeting and party options at Blanco.  Blanco-venue Front of building

Big Data + Built Environment = Smart City

night-time-in-downtown-baltimore-marylandBig Data + Built Environment = Technology Experts & City Counterparts Working Together in Building and City Planning, Design, Construction, and Management. Yes, that’s the formula. And developing big data applications that collect data, analyze it and provide scenarios for cities is key. Recently we published a post about “That IT Guy” and this is where IT is key to the future of Smart Cities. Bridging the gap between building and city planning with the Chief IT Innovator (you have one, right?) to integrate the needs of both departments as well as engineering and architecture is essential to the development of your Smart City. Jenn McArthur’s article is insightful, extremely well written and worth a read and share.

The relationship between information and urban settings is the central focus of an entirely new field of research called Big Data and the Built Environment. Until recently, there was a knowledge gap between big data experts and their counterparts in building and city planning, design, and management. Computer scientists have expertise in cloud computing and can manage large data sets, but typically don’t understand the broader context of building performance. On the other hand, building management companies and utilities collect enormous data about their assets, but lack the expertise to develop analytics to inform operational decision-making. Architects and engineers could similarly use this data to design better buildings, drawing on the lessons learned from current building performance. Bridging this gap is essential for developing a Smart City.

Read the full article here.


Arid Smart Cities Should Tap into This Model Incorporating IoT

Hydropolis-1-600x449With water shortages, climate change, and the advent of Smart Cities with the Internet of Things, could this be a solution for your city or country’s planning and implementation?

The aim of this project is to propose a scheme that is based in developing the biggest necessary activities for the human race around salt water: the production of energy, housing, agriculture and ecological restoration. Aquaculture will be possible thanks to the contribution of seawater. This scheme will meanwhile be reproduced to infinity in space but also in time as long as the intake of sea water is possible.

Read the full article here.

That IT Guy – Drives Business Innovation Today

thatitguy40 years ago we saw Apple delivering its first Apple II in 1976. Atari, Commodore and yes, Texas Instruments, were the most common computers found in offices. In August of 1976 Computerland had 14 stores and Radio Shack was popular with their TRS-80 Model 1 that had just been released.

Back then, most of us working in offices eyed our computer equipment with love and a great deal of distrust. It was so easy to wipe out all your work or the entire office’s files. Companies started hiring “IT guys” to deal with the “blue screen of death” and the numerous operator and hardware induced errors. The IT guys were beloved while being mostly ignored by the corporate office and structure. To many, they were a necessary evil driving overhead costs up during this fascinating yet nightmarish scenario of early technology meeting business.

Fast forward to today. IT has become a driving force in business and personal lives. Those geeky imaginations? Just look at what they’ve done and imagine what these bright, hardworking, dedicated technology professionals may invent going forward. No longer focused solely on buying, maintaining and upgrading hardware and software, they’re seeking ways to monetize and deploy new capabilities and related innovations.

InformationWeek talks about the “new IT” transition and poor visibility holding IT teams back. However, many companies outside of the technology industry have integrated IT seamlessly into their business goals, R&D, and service or product delivery to clients. One industry that’s embraced IT is engineering.

I’m not talking about software or hardware, I’m talking about the engineering firms that design your roadways, wastewater and water treatment plants, environmental mitigation and recovery plans and more. Just take a look at Tetra Tech, CH2M, and AECOM and others.

Almost all their projects have a strong IT component. They have integrated the technology of today with strategies for tomorrow, helping to plan, design and build Smart Cities, Stadiums, Transportation Systems, and more. Their IT executives and team members are heavily involved in developing new programs and offerings for their clients, work closely with the decision makers in their companies, and are sought out by engineers, scientists and business professionals for their insights and practical application of their knowledge.

Andi Mann, author of the article for InformationWeek, is right. The technology industry is moving forward and the “New IT” leaders, as she calls them, are gaining ground and making impacts that help give their companies a competitive edge. That “IT Guy” is your differentiator and these engineering firms know it.




Uber Refugee in the Midst of IoT

We frequently hear of the success stories about technology professionals who started in their garage, without a college degree (or high school diploma). Rarely do we hear about a story like this one from Pirates to MIT to Silicon Valley, this Uber man is living the American Dream.

How this Vietnamese refugee became Uber’s CTO

by Octavio Blanco @CNNMoney August 12, 2016: 7:32 AM ET

 By the time Thuan Pham was just 12 years old, he had already had several brushes with death.

160810185133-thuan-pham-saigon-780x439 (1)While escaping Vietnam with his mother and younger brother in 1979, a violent storm battered the dinky, wooden fishing boat carrying the family and dozens of other refugees. Pirates later robbed them. And once they landed at a refugee camp in Indonesia, they lacked shelter and sanitation for weeks.

“My mother decided that it was better to risk our lives…rather than grow up without opportunities for a better life,” Pham said. “That’s what you do as an immigrant: You are willing to trade your life for freedom. Sometimes you get lucky and you get to live.”

Fortunately, Pham’s family got lucky. And they eventually landed in suburban Maryland.

One immigrant’s path from cleaning houses to Stanford professor

Pham worked hard in school, fell in love with computers and gained admission into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied computer science.

After graduation, he headed to Silicon Valley and became an integral part of the tech industry’s transformation.

In 2013, he was hired as Uber’s chief technology officer. Since that time, Pham, now 49, has built Uber’s engineering group from 40 engineers to more than 2,000. The company’s technology has gone from handling 30,000 trips a day to millions.

In addition, Pham was recently named one of 40 Great Immigrants of 2016 by the Carnegie Corporation, the nation’s oldest grant making foundation.

Here is Pham’s American Success Story.

What was life like as a child in Vietnam?

When Saigon fell in April of 1975 we lived through four years of Communism. My uncles were sent to a concentration camp and they died there.

My mom, younger brother and I left in the middle of the night. We crammed about 470 people on a dinky, wooden fishing boat — the MT-2377. As we set out, everyone was throwing up.

Read the full article here.

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs wants to make your daily commute less crummy

The subdivision of Google's parent company looks to revolutionize the transportation landscape.

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It looks like Uber is going to be subsidized by Alphabet's subsidiary, Sidewalk Labs. The pilot, and yes I'm going to call it a pilot as it is happening because of the DOT's Smart City Challenge, will be implemented as part of the Columbus, Ohio project.


Flow, as Sidewalk Labs named it, is the platform whereby they'll improve traffic flow, change how drivers find parking, and offer (through Uber) ride-sharing for low-income people.

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Discover Seville IPv6 Smartcity Pilot – Think Big – The Innovation Blog

In this post we describe how an IPv6 end-to-end solution has been implemented in the whole value chain of a given Smartcity Pilot.

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Good comparison between the benefits and challenges for CTOs, CIOs, and smart city innovators. This pilot program in Seville maps out their process for their solution architecture.

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How Will Developing Smart Cities Integrate with Evolving Technology? |

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Smart City development has really taken off around the world. CTOs and CIOs are grappling with the real world problems of managing, planning and purchasing the right tech for their organization to move toward becoming a smart city. This post has some interesting thoughts in it.

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How Will Developing Smart Cities Integrate with Evolving Technology?

smart cities smart people Rome wasn’t built in a day. And nobody had to worry about running fiber or installing spycams in Rome, either.

Developing a new city is no mean feat. Redeveloping an existing city presents its own unique challenges. Factor in the advent of smart technology to either of these scenarios and the complexity increases exponentially.

Should this be part of your master plan, phasing in smart tech for communications, water and wastewater, transportation and traffic, parking, gas, electricity, solar, environmental and water resource management, emergency response, civic guides and entertainment? Or should you opt for integration as you go? The sheer cost can appear insurmountable for cities of all sizes depending on the state of their current infrastructure and resources. Fortunately, there are some interesting options for those cities deeply interested in developing as a “Smart City”.

Many cities are opting for an incremental phased approach on a project by project basis. This can range from intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to increase efficiencies, safety, and traffic management; smart water technology to address leaks, water loss, other system failures, manage capital cost and conservation; to smart lighting tech for streets and neighborhoods that increase energy efficiency and the sense of safety citizens feel in lit areas.

Other cities are scrutinizing options that will allow total redevelopment of large areas of their jurisdictions via master planning and/or developing new communities that boast smart technology at inception. Obviously there are many more options available to city, county, state and federal agencies.

Yet there remains the problem of the evolution of technology. Smart City solutions need to perform many computations in parallel, support many simultaneous and interconnected services, need to move and store massive amounts of data, and need to be secure, resilient, and scale on demand. Sophisticated cloud computing ‘stacks,’ combining virtualization and container technologies, software-defined networks and storage, are the answer — letting cities build and integrate solutions rapidly, and automate data center operations. But running container-centric clouds is complicated and technically challenging: requiring specialized expertise few cities can call upon today.

About 20 years ago I was involved in the development of a proposal for the privatization of SR 522 in Washington State. At the time, I had mixed feelings about having a private company responsible for the management of the maintenance, the collection and distribution of tolls and frankly, having a private entity be responsible for a public transportation system. As I learned the benefits I turned into a believer of public/private partnerships and the resulting benefits for citizens and government alike.

What really piqued my interest when exploring the technology evolution problem for smart cities was a conversation I recently had with Christian Renaud of 451 Research regarding the movement by technology companies to offer “Smart City as a Service” (SCaaS) similar to SaaS or “Software as a Service” which many of you are already familiar with. Sounds interesting, but what about the hardware that delivers all this capability? The cost alone to continue to upgrade it could be prohibitive.

Cisco, IBM and others have developed or are developing Smart City Operations platforms. These appear to be viable options going forward and may solve a number of issues in regard to funding as well as relevance. Is a Public/Private Partnership an option? How will cities finance the ever evolving skill set and technology changes that continuously require ongoing education and implementation?



Columbus Named 1st Smart City | Go By Truck Global News

Columbus, Ohio, won $40 million from the USDOT for its smart transportation plans.

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