Last update on Jan. 25, 2016.



I have written quite a bit about artificial intelligence (AI) over the
last 20 years - and perhaps even earlier than that. (Searches in our
blog go back to 1999)

This in itself is an indication that things aren't moving all that
quickly. But looking back - in particular at the capabilities of smart
phones and their apps - I can see that progress has been made. Certainly
not through big bang events, but slowly and steadily nevertheless. And
this is how progress should be made around artificial intelligence
because it will absolutely transform human society and we need time for
that to happen.

And it is crucially important that we remain in charge of the process.

Give the way that issues relating to the environment, climate and
innovations such as the nuclear energy have had a huge effect on
humanity, it is clear that we will need to stay in charge. The fact that
we have nuclear treaties in place and have not used nuclear bombs since
WWII - and that we have been making progress at COP21 in Paris - are
indications that we can operate as a global society.

Looking at AI as a process of evolution, not revolution, some of the
doomsday scenarios - like the prediction that robots are going to
replace us - should be tempered by the fact that from a scientific point
of view such an outcome would be at least a century away. This would
mean that AI will continue along the lines of its current evolution, and
that humanity can stay in charge. What needs to happen within the next
decade is an international organisation along the lines of the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty and the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change Treaty (which forms the basis for

Already private industry has set up a working group to manage AI in
drones and has asked the government to come up with regulations.

All of this is important and needs to happen, and the signs are that
international collaboration will eventually lead to some sort of a
treaty on AI.

However, this should not us stop looking at the many benefits that AI
will have to offer in the short- and medium-term of this century-long
development and this will be more in line with our recent smartphone-

This brings me to the topic of smart cities. Those cities that are
opening up their data and using the currently available AI software
products (advanced algorithms, predictive analytics, learning
adaptability) will be able to create new applications. Such applications
and services could take you around town based on the input you provide
to set up a guiding tour, shopping tour, transport suggestions. In
relation to a tourist tour, for example, you could look for themes like
archaeology, modern history, architecture, parks, children activities,

Or people planning to move from one place to another could key in
specific data regarding information on schooling, age care, health care,
work, etc to get an intelligent response back to where the best places
are for those people to settle in relation to schools, healthcare and
community facilities, transport and so on.

Businesses could find the best location in relation to the availability
of the type of people they need, where the lowest rents are, the most
prestigious sites, transport and so on.

Retail and trade applications that work both ways - for both the
providers and the customers - are another area where AI is going to
flourish over the next five years or so (the sharing economy).

This is the AI area that cities should look at in their transformation
to a smart city. These AI products work well if there is a holistic
strategy towards a smart city, as the applications will operate across
the various silos on which most city bureaucracies are still based. Once
a strategic plan is used to generate a much flatter structure, and to
address the reluctance of bureaucrats to create an open government and
open data platform, AI will be of great benefit in the running of a
smart city and will create economic and social benefits for its citizens
and businesses.

Paul Budde


Huntlee, a new township under construction in the Hunter Region of NSW,
could soon become Australia's first off-grid town. An Australian
property developer, LWP Property Group, has commissioned a $1.1m study
to see if 7,500 new homes can run entirely off-grid. The Australian
Renewable Energy Agency is providing $442,000 towards the study, and
Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, a Canadian project developer, will
carry out the feasibility study.

The aim of the study is to develop a model that has 10 times the
penetration of renewables of the current grid at an equivalent cost - a
microgrid mix of 60% solar-plus-storage and 40% gas generation seems

For more information on the Huntlee off-grid study, see full article


I totally agree with the strategy that Yinchuan, the capital of the
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in China, has developed for its smart city


The city government purchases services from private companies. Those
companies are responsible for the costs of building and operating those
smart city functions. This business model solves the government's
financial problem of having to raise a large amount of initial
investment as well as the need to constantly update government technical
knowledge systems. The investment is recovered and revenue is generated
through the smart city operation and asset securitization. This also
brings earnings in stock appreciation to provide continuous capital to
support smart city development.


Instead of following the traditional "single/vertical section" model,
the Smart Yinchuan is built by implementing a holistic top-level design
for the entire city, utilizing various existing information resources,
and vigorously promoting interoperability, data integration, information
sharing, business collaboration, and intelligent services. To push this
new innovation, a model "Research Institutes + Enterprises + Standards
Organizations" is employed. The research institutes are responsible for
innovations that are then delivered to industrial companies, which
transfer their best practices to international/national standards
organizations. The international/national standards are applied to the
smart city projects and new requirements are fed back to the institutes,
forming a "closed-loop positive feedback" ecosystem.


The "Map" positions the space nodes of various elements of the city
through IoT sensors together with a panoramic true 3D map which supports
visual presentation of multi-sector applications based on one single
map, and provides the city administrators with visualization and dynamic
management capabilities. The "Network" refers to a transmission and
sensor network shared by multiple departments that enables direct
dialogue between the "ground" and "cloud" through a high-speed broadband
network. The "Cloud" centralizes all available basic urban data
resources in the city, allowing multi-service data exchange, massive
data storage and mining, and big data analytics.

Read full article from Jesse Berst [2]


A report from the OECD is looking at experiences with municipal
broadband networks in a number of countries including Australia,
Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the
United States.

Sweden is being used as an anchor country for the analysis due to its
widespread use of municipal networks. The models and experience of the
municipal networks in these countries have varied from being highly
successful to not meeting expectations.

Although OECD countries have made tremendous progress in recent years
fostering the deployment of high-speed broadband networks, many
challenges remain. How to enhance and expand these networks in order to
meet the growing demands of the digital economy and also the
availability of broadband networks. This is not only essential for
people to participate in economic and social activities but to create
opportunities for future gains in areas such as employment, education,
health and improved civic engagement.

However, all this depends on these networks being in place, connections
being available at competitive prices and not limited by capacity
constraints. This demand is being met in most places but even in the
most advanced countries gaps arise, such as in communities with sparse
populations, or where there is insufficient competition due to the
substantial cost of infrastructure deployment. In these instances,
municipal networks, primarily fibre networks built, operated or financed
by local governments, public bodies, utilities or co-operatives, are
used in a number of OECD countries to provide service in towns, cities
and regions.

The report says that broadband speed matters, and that the available
evidence indicates that these networks and the broader use of ICTs
around them generate positive benefits, contribute to economic growth,
and make firms more productive. Broadband networks can also be a
substitute for some types of transport for smarter cities and contribute
to the creation of new jobs and firms.

The report also notes that municipal networks play an important role in
providing services for many people in OECD countries. As a result they
are a viable and effective way of supporting the objectives of local
communities, addressing unmet demand and creating new opportunities for
growth and prosperity in those communities, which otherwise would not be

For more information see here [3]


A new report released by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40)
has found that urban centres have collectively committed to reduce their
carbon emissions by three billion tonnes by 2030, equivalent to the
annual carbon output of India. The C40 is made up of 82 of the world's
largest cities - including New York, London, Tokyo, Lagos, Mumbai,
Mexico City and Jakarta - representing over 600 million people and
one-quarter of the global economy.

The decision by global cities to invest in low-carbon development over
the next 15 years has the potential to prevent a combined 45 billion
tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released, or eight times the total
current annual emission of the US.

For more information on the new C40 report, see full article [4].


Neptune Technology Group is one of the many companies that has developed
software applications to assist water utilities and customers better
monitor and manage their water supplies in the US.

The company's NGO app allows utility employees to use smart phones or
tablets to quickly analyse data generated in the field by a variety of
meters. The information can be shared with customers so they can see
when and how much water they use. Customers can then use the information
to conserve water or repair any suspected leaks.

Neptune's AMI app was also developed to assist with water conservation
and provides alerts that identify when and where water is wasted; meters
with leaks or reverse flow; inactive accounts that show water use, and
accounts that use large volumes of water.

The present drought conditions in the US are not the only reason for
optimising water management, as forecasts predict almost two-thirds of
the global population will be living where water supplies are inadequate
within 10 years.

For more information on the water management tools, see full article

Paul Budde

Managing Director

Paul Budde Communication Pty. Ltd.

ph: 02 4998 8144 int: +61 2 4998 8144

web: [6]

The largest telecommunications research site on the internet


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