SCP E85: Getting Smart about Flood Mapping, with Juliette Murphy

The Smart Community Podcast Juliette Murphy FloodMapp

 

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I speak with Juliette Murphy, the CEO and Cofounder of FloodMapp, a predictive flood mapping initiative that uses real time data and Smart alerts to deliver timely and location specific flood warnings. Juliette shares with me her background in environmental engineering in the water resource and hydrology, and how the 2011 Queensland floods sparked her interest in the Smart Community space.

Juliette’s experiences of flooding, both personally and professionally, and nationally and internationally, as well as an app building hobby that started in her spare time, have combined in her work at FloodMapp. Juliette and I discuss the gaps in our communications during emergencies, and also the gaps in accessibility and understanding when citizens receive these communications. We cover the dual meanings of ‘connection’ in the Smart Community and why it’s so important, and well as how well Juliette sees Australia embracing Smart concepts. We discuss what flood mapping is, how FloodMapp (with two Ps) came to be and the accellerator program she and cofounder Ryan Prosser have been participating in. We finish our chat talking about the emerging trends in the climate and natural disaster space, and how technology can and should be a part of solving some of those problems. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen Here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Her background in environmental engineering and how some experiences nationally and internationally led to her interest in flooding
  • How she began building apps as a hobby
  • How the 2011 Qld floods sparked her interest in the Smart Community space
  • The gaps in our emergency communications and in citizen understanding/accessibility of information in of those communications that Juliette wants to fill
  • The dual meanings of connection in the Smart Community, and why it’s so important
  • How she sees Australia embracing the Smart Community concept
  • What flood mapping is and how Juliette is bringing it into real time
  • The accelorator program Juliette and cofounder Ryan participated in and what they learned from it
  • The emerging trends climate and natural disaster, and how technology can and should be a part of solving some of those problems

 

Quotes:

It started getting me thinking, why did this happen? And I know the obvious is ‘cause it flooded and we can’t stop the weather, we can’t stop the climate’ but surely there was enough time for some better planning and understanding to have gone into this.”

“If something is communicated to you but it’s in the wrong language and then it might as well not communicated to you at all.”

“Going through this accelerator program was like a really big learning class, in terms of what people actually wanted. I think we realized now, in our spare time and as a passion project, I may miss some of those steps and I was solving the problem how I wanted it solved or I thought it should be solved for me, but I haven’t really talked to the broader community, bring them along the journey and ask what did they actually see as a solution and what would make the most sense to them.”

“Two of the main struggles we have here in Australia are drought and flood. And these are going to affect different communities in different ways. Anyone who knows Australia knows that we’re not just one in the same, we’re so diverse. There’s places surrounded by tropical rainforest, there’s places that are more dry and desolate, arid climates, and I think climate change is affecting everyone in different ways. It’s really talking about starting a conversation more within communities and within leadership, about how we’re going to adapt as a community and become more resilient to that.”

“…we can have more connectedness within the community. Is there someone facing a disaster who needs help? Can people donate clothes? Can people donate furniture? Technology really serves a purpose in connecting the community to become more resilient together and tackle it as a community problem rather than as individuals.”

 

Connect:

Connect with Juliette via email juliette@floodmapp.com or the Floodmapp website http://www.floodmapp.com

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E84 Smart Community Thinking from the Regional to the Precinct Level, with Pascal Perez

smartcommunitypodcast_blogtitleimage_episode84_pascalperez

Happy New Year! Welcome back to the Smart Community Podcast for 2019. In the first episode for the new year I had a great conversation with Pascal Perez. But just before I tell you about that, I wanted to give a quick shout out to my first patrons! As you might know, I have started a Patreon page over at patreon.com/smartcommpod for fans of the podcast who want to support the show and get access to exclusive content. A big thank you to my first patrons for helping keep this show in your podcatchers week after week. If you’d like to support the show, head over to patreon.com/smartcommpod

Ok, on with the episode. Pascal Perez is the Director of the SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong. In this episode he tells us about his background in agricultural and environmental engineering around the world, and how he now applies that in the urban development/infrastructure space here in Australia. Pascal shares what sparked his interest in the Smart Community space and why we need to be thinking about Smart People as much as, if not more than, Smart Cities. We discuss the importance of needs-based/problem oriented technology solutions, why regional areas are currently doing this better than the big cities in Australia, and the difference between a revolution and an epidemic when it comes to technology. Pascal then shares about some projects he’s currently working on with the University of Wollongong and the SMART Infrastructure Facility, how he sees Australia embracing Smart Concepts, and the problems in the current immature landscape of Smart Cities in Australia, including lack of standardisation and a ‘jungle rule’ approach. We finish off discussing the emerging trends of the interoperability and security of sensors and IOT devices that make up our Smart Communities. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Pascal’s background in agricultural and environmental engineering, and how he now applies that in urban development
  • What sparked his interest in the Smart Community space and his believe that we need to be thinking about Smart People as much as Smart Cities
  • The importance of focusing on needs-based technology-enabled solutions, and the reason many regional areas in Australia do this better than the cities
  • The difference between a technological revolution and a technological epidemic
  • How Australia is embracing Smart concepts and what we can learn from examples of Smart implementation overseas, including Hong Kong and Barcelona
  • Projects Pascal is currently working on at the precinct, regional and city level
  • A quick crash course in IoT and what LoRaWAN is
  • The Smart Pedestrian project Pascal is working on in Liverpool, Western Sydney
  • The Health and Wellbeing Precinct project, an all integrated aged care facility that will be part of the UW campus
  • The Smart Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong
  • The problems Pascal can see in the current immature landscape of Smart Cities in Australia, including the lack of standardisation and a ‘jungle rule’ approach, that prevent integration across academia, industry, disciplines and government
  • The emerging trends of interoperability and security of sensors and IOT devices

 

Quotes:

“The word has been in use for nearly fifteen years now and there’s still no definition of a Smart City…It’s the fact that a Smart City should allow us, as individuals or as groups, to do better [with] what we are usually doing, to do new things we’re not aware of, or to enjoy more our life whether in the city or in the suburb.”

“Our group, here at the Smart Infrastructure Facility, really focuses on the fact that the Smart Cities have to be technology-enabled only, and if needed, if required. You can be a Smart City or Smart Town at a small scale without having to rely heavily on technology.”

“We try to improve the livability in cities, the health of the cities, but also the productivity of the cities. If new technologies can help to achieve better these goals knowing that the population increases, density in cities increases, it’s all good. But we always have to keep in mind why we’re developing these new layers of technologies in cities. If it is technology for the sake of technology, I’m sorry we’re not talking about a revolution here. A revolution starts and ends with people. When there’s only technology in the landscape, it’s called an epidemic, it’s not a revolution.”

“Should we be just dropping our arms and say ‘They’re doing it better than us and bigger than us’? No, because they’re gonna do that for themselves and not for us. So, we better find out our own solutions to our own problems, which means we need to grow our own RND and be a bit more ambitious, at the same time, hungry for expertise in teaching the young generation, as quickly as possible, the new tricks of the game.

“[There is a] necessity to go through a sandbox procurement process, so not buying things from the shelf and installing them as quickly as possible to become ‘Smart’, which I think is a dumb thing to do…but trying things, prototyping things, giving us the time and risk to prototype different technologies to see what would be the most appropriate for the problem at hand.”

“We think there’s a lot of research to be done and analysed in creating these sensors, installing these sensors, sharing information with people and seeing how we can do better at transforming data into information and information into what I tend to call actionable knowledge.”

“My frustration, at the moment, in the current landscape of Smart Cities in Australia, is the fact that the market is really immature. On one side, we have a government or governments at large who have been a bit reluctant stepping in and imposing standards….On the other side, [there is] a market where some of the competitors providing these technologies and solutions still think they can kill each other, and so, it’s really the law of the jungle out there…And in the middle we got potential clients like councils who scratch their heads who don’t really know what to do.”

“I think the danger of technological lock-in has never been as high as it is now in Australia. We shouldn’t be scared about it, we should be aware of it. And it’s up to us, collectively, industry, government, and academia and end users to have an educated discussion and communication about it.”

“We’re creating, on one side, a more productive and more efficient city and at the same time, we have to careful of whether the city is still resilient.”

 

Connect:

Connect with Pascal via email: pascal@uw.edu.au

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E83 Spatial Literacy and Understanding Data, with Jack Barton

SmartCommunityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode83_JackBarton

 

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I had a great chat with architect Jack Barton. Jack is an Associate at SGS Economics and Planning, and also Manager of Stakeholder Engagement and Business Development for the GeoSpatial Research Innovation and Development Lab at the University of NSW. He also runs his private practice JBDD. Jack and I have a great discussion about how his upbringing in a regional area, his interest in cities, and his love of digital technology all combined to spark his interest in the Smart space. We talk about why Smart Cities is a good buzz word, and the reasons connections and communication are important in Smart Communities. Jack shares his view on how Australia is embracing Smart concepts, and why long term vision is important, especially during this age of experimental pilot programs. We cover Smart City Standards and what they mean for people working in the space; the importance of digital and spatial literacy, and the need for more people to properly understand data so that they can use is effectively. We discuss how open data can facilitate better integration across disciplines, governments and industry, and finish our conversation on the emerging trends of boring and somewhat old-fashioned things like protocols, accountability, transparency, governance and longevity. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

You can now support the Smart Community Podcast via Patreon, at patreon.com/smartcommpod

If you become a Patron, you’ll get a special episode each month exclusive to supporters. If you would like to feature on the podcast, you can also head to Patreon where you can sponsor an episode. There are options for a full featured episode or adding a promo for your company or an event coming up, with once off and monthly options available. Thanks so much for your support for the podcast. It is my dream for the podcast to be self-sustaining so it can continue to be produced no matter the circumstances.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Jack’s background in architecture and his upbringing in regional NSW
  • What sparked his interest in the Smart space
  • Why buzz words can be useful and the reasons communication is important in the Smart community
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept
  • The need for more long term vision instead of just short term experiments and pilot programs
  • Smart City Standards and why we need them
  • The importance of digital, spatial and data literacy 
  • How open data can facilitate integration and collaboration, and break down silos
  • The emerging trends of boring and somewhat old-fashioned things like protocols, accountability, transparency, governance and longevity

 

Quotes:

“You really need to have a good sense of ethics and not to use technology in a surreptitious kind of way that might be interpreted as surveillance or spying, it has to be something that empowers the communities, that makes places better and can help people work together as a community.”

“Digital technologies really are these pragmatic tools that can help us make life easier and make life better, and importantly can also look at the more disadvantaged areas of cities and communities and be able to address that. At least, sort of make it more visible and rally some energy around helping solve those wicked problems.”

“It’s very important to have evidence-based approaches to things where we’re sharing the objective data that’s scientifically rigorous and then using that to base the discussions on.”

“Experimentation is great, but I’ve seen a few initiatives come and go in my time and I think it does need to be designed with a more long term view and not so much tied to funding cycles. Ideally we want to be looking at the 10 – 100 year window into the future, especially with the challenges that we’re facing right now.”

“Smart Cities is a buzz word but it’s a good buzz word; it can corral people and align people and…it is a little package that can relay a lot of information.”

“[Open Data] is the sort of thing that does save lives. We need to have these systems in place [to share data] for when there are inevitable emergencies and disasters and things. There’s a good driving motivation for that beyond the dollar value of these initiatives.”

“Showing good examples, helping increase spatial literacy too, you can’t do it enough. Show [people what mesh blocks are and how the ABS works and how you can read and write data.

There’s still a fear of opening up data for fear of what might happen, for what you might expose yourself to. As soon as you can de-identify the data, it opens up a lot of opportunities that wouldn’t have been there before and haven’t been there historically because we’ve been hoarding data as silos.”

“You can define privacy as your ability to control your level of publicity, and so we’ve got to be aware [of that] in the way that we can keep what has to be secure, secure, because that is an issue that can have lives at stake, but then to be able to access the data rapidly and in an authorised way is another thing that we’re looking at…when you’ve got important things that could go wrong, you don’t want the data to be the weakest link.”

“Never before have we had this amazing, cumulative, digitised knowledge bank as a species so it really is in our hands to do something with it. It’s a good way to take us into the future, and there’s a lot of work in that for many people, a lot of stakeholders.”

 

Connect:

Connect with Jack via Twitter @jbdd, on LinkedIn or visit the website jbdd.com

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E82 Bringing Science Fiction to Life, with Shara Evans

SmartCommunityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode82_SharaEvansIn this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I had a fascinating conversation with Shara Evans, Technologist, Futurist, Keynote Speaker and Self-Proclaimed Sci-Fi Geek. Shara and I discuss her background, how she transitioned from technologist to futurist, and what sparked her interest in the Smart Community space. We have a really interesting chat about all kinds of futuristic technologies and some great examples of Smart concepts, including self-repairing cities using fleets of autonomous robots and drones.

Shara shares how this is already being implemented to various degrees today in a range of places around the world, and the future of this technology. We cover driverless cars, drones and hyper loops, and the opportunities and challenges these technologies pose to Australia, as well as how Shara sees Australia embracing Smart concepts. We also discuss the future of work and the new categories of jobs that we will see as our homes and cities become Smarter. We finish off talking about the emerging trend of security, privacy, ethics and the impact of virtual digital assistants, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and other similar devices.

A note on this episode: there are a few clicks and noises in the background in the second half of this episode, so please forgive us for those. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

You can now support the Smart Community Podcast via Patreon, at patreon.com/smartcommpod If you become a Patron, you’ll get a special episode each month exclusive to supporters. If you would like to feature on the podcast, you can also head to Patreon where you can sponsor an episode. There are options for a full featured episode or adding a promo for your company or an event coming up, with once off and monthly options available. Thanks so much for your support for the podcast. It is my dream for the podcast to be self-sustaining so it can continue to be produced no matter the circumstances.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Shara’s background as a technologist and how she transitioned into a futurist keynote speaker
  • What sparked Shara’s interest in Smart Communities and some fascinating examples of sensors being used in cities already
  • Self-repairing cities and how drones and robot fleets might/already are being used
  • Why becoming Smarter is so important, especially in this age of growing population and urban migration
  • Hyperloop and the potential it offers to Australia
  • How future transport technology will revolutionise the way we think about work, commuting and wellbeing
  • Connected and autonomous electric vehicles and the impact this will have on infrastructure, planning and industries that revolve around our current traffic and automobile industries
  • How Shara thinks Australia is embracing Smart concepts, including some interesting examples
  • Why we need to pay more attention to solar power
  • Drones, flying taxis and jobs of the future
  • Security, privacy, ethics and the impact of virtual digital assistants like Google Home

Quotes:

“You might think of Smart Cities in terms of things like sensors or the Internet of Things, but then you also have to draw in to the picture robots, driverless cars, drones and next generation transport like Hyperloop, and all sorts of other things that make a city really Smart.”

“A Smart City is one that has deployed sensors and controllers in various ways that give them real time insights that they can take action on…but it goes well beyond [sensors], it goes to infrastructure maintenance, pedestrian traffic and building temperatures and using green energy, whether it be solar or wind, and getting ready for electric vehicles.”

“Part of the idea with a self-repairing city is that it will be like the white-blood cells in our body, and having a city that behaves almost like a living organism. These little tiny robots will basically wipe out the bad bacteria, the city defects, as they are detected.”

“I think using technology to make increasingly more crowded cities liveable, more efficient and more energy efficient is crucial to humanity because our population is growing. Demographers predict that we’ll have about 9.7 billion people on the planet but he year 2050…and by 2025 60% of the world’s population will live in cities.”

“Imagine being able to buy a nice house or apartment in a regional area but still being able to work in a big city [commuting via Hyperloop]. Such a game changer!”

“What many people are not aware of is that a lot of the vehicles that are commercially available today already have semi-autonomous features. Things like self-parking or cruise control assistance—that’s really a robot driving your car.”

“We’re going to see 3 dimensional vehicle to vehicle networks, highways in the skies, very shortly too. It will be behind the vehicle networks that are on the ground, because I think it will take a while for flying taxis and drone use to really become mainstream, but it’s bound to happen. Our skies are about to change!”

“There are a lot of jobs that are being enabled by technology…Automation, robots and artificial intelligence are going to impact just about every industry and just about every human on the planet. It’s going to happen but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be out of a job. But the boring, repetitive parts of your job may very well be automated and you’ll be spending your time doing the more interesting parts of your job.”

“What people do not realise is that once these [virtual digital assistants] devices are turned on, they are always on, they are always listening for their keywords, the companies behind these devices are recording everything in the background, in many cases transcribing it and in some cases reselling it too. It covers every aspect of your life and not just your personal life but your business life.”

Links:

Connect:

Connect with Shara via her website sharaevans.com and or via social media on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.