Have you ever wanted to change the world through digital technologies? Over 100 participants had this in mind when they descended upon Imperial College London last weekend to take part in the UK’s first Urban Prototyping (UP London) Hackathon.
Multi-disciplinary teams of developers, programmers, technicians and designers competed for a chance to win over £100,000 worth of awards including up to £80,000 cash in follow on funding. Teams were challenged to create a technology based prototype that would result in real-world changes to either the environment, local economy or local community.
But what is a Hackathon?
Simply put, a Hackathon allows teams of hackers to ‘hack’ large data sets (such as weather / transport / traffic data) over a short amount of time, in this case one weekend.
1st City Protocol Workshop: Building together better cities
16-17 July 2012, Barcelona, Spain
By Orestis Tsinalis
The 1st City Protocol workshop was an event co-organised by the Barcelona City Council, Cisco, and GDF SUEZ with participants from 22 companies, 33 cities, 19 organisations, and 17 universities. Imperial College London was represented in the workshop by a team of researchers from the Digital City Exchange programme.
The City Protocol is a new initiative that aims to bring together stakeholders from the industry, city councils, non-governmental organisations, and the academia with the goal to create a common global-scale framework for collaboration and innovation in cities.
Ovum-DCE Smart Cities Europe 2012
The Lancaster, London 19-20 June 2012
You can find the Chirpstory for the event here.
In many ways the event revealed the broader problems with discussions around smart cities. There is the aspirational vision – cleaner, less-congested, less polluted and more prosperous cities – contrasted with the complex reality of current “smart” ICT projects, often mired in difficulties around business models, administrative jurisdiction, privacy and security issues and any number of other complex multi-stakeholder problems that crop-up when you try and integrate the physical and digital worlds; problems which go far beyond the scope of a simple technological fix.
Tuesday 22 May 2012, Crayon London
By Koen van Dam
After previously attending the Internet of Things Meetup Meetup #6, it was only a matter of time before DCE would return to another edition of this informal get-together of a community focused on machine to machine communication, open data and trying to change the world. For IoT Meetup #8 the talks had a smart city/smart home/energy focus.
Before the three speakers gave their short presentation sparking off some interesting debates, Owen Davies explained the recent rebranding of Pachube to Cosm. In addition to providing a fresh new design and a name which is easier to pronounce (no more feeling smug hearing other people struggle with this after finally getting it right yourself), the new website wants to offer users more than just a place to store their data to be processed elsewhere.
Wednesday 28 March 2012, Crayon London
By Koen van Dam and Claire Thorne
The “Internet of Things”, the vision of a world where physical objects are connected and part of a world-wide information network, has been a buzzword for more than a decade now. With the widespread use of smart phones, the availability of cheap sensors and microcontrollers and the rise of data sharing platforms such as Pachube (pronounced as “patch bay”), groups of enthusiastic people are working on making this idea come true and developing business plans taking advantage of the recent momentum.
In cities around the world people are gathering at monthly “IoT Tech Meetups”: informal, evening discussion groups with speakers presenting their work/ideas/businesses.
Technology Visionaries RAEng lecture series
Wednesday 22 February 2012, the Royal Society, London
By Claire Thorne and Koen van Dam
Unsure of how many notable FREng’s to expect in the audience, we arrived at the Royal Society (the current base for the RAEng during their refurbishment). With twenty-four FREng’s on the delegate list, including one on stage, we weren’t disappointed (but possibly just a little underdressed!).
The lecture by Prof Nigel Shadbolt FREng (Prof of Artificial Intelligence, University of Southampton) was part of the RAEng’s Technology Visionaries series and promised a whistle-stop tour through the vast topic that is Open Data.
Thursday 17th November 2011, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
By Claire Thorne
Just in case you were exhausted from Day 1, or you weren’t quite paying attention at 9 am, Prof Don Marinelli was on hand. Delivering his keynote, entitled ‘A Curriculum for the 21st Century: Storytelling, Architecture, Technology & Experience’ , with all the gusto and drama of (a State-side) Brian Blessed, Don spoke and we all listened. He presented the innovative and multidisciplinary Master of Entertainment Technology – focusing on Storytelling, Architecture, Technology and Experience – at Carnegie Mellon University which he co-founded (watch co-founder Randy Pausch’s ‘last lecture’).
Wed 16th November 2011, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
By Claire Thorne
Dr John Baird (Head of RCUK’s Digital Economy programme) launched the second, annual Digital Economy All Hands meeting with an overview of UK DE portfolio, highlighting recent major investments including Digital City Exchange (£6M over 5 years) and MediaCity UK.
John took the opportunity to summarise the DE programme’s achievements to date: investment of more than £138M, funding 96 projects with 400 users since 2008. He went on to announce the four DE sub-themes – Communities and Culture, IT as a Utility, New economic models, and Sustainable Society – in the context of the DE networks call.