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.