Future Watch: Home monitoring

Future Watch: Home Monitoring

Future Watch 5: Home Monitoring

Chartered Engineer, Enterprise Architect and one-half of KnowNow, Chris Cooper discusses how technology can be used to improve patient care and provide home care monitoring.

 

G: If a city is starting to go down the smart cities route, and they’ve got the right vision for it, who do they need to get on board to help them with this?

C: I thought you were going to say who do they need to call and I was going to say Ghostbusters. Damn. It’s important that you do this for the people that are living and working in the city. You’re doing it for the city. Don’t forget that. It’s for the people that live, work, and play there. They are the reason you do stuff. For that reason, the first people that you need to pull through are your citizens. I would also look at doing things on a small scale because none of this is about technology. Technology is about a third of any project. Two-thirds of it are the human impact. How do you engage people?  How do you get them to use it? How do you get them to continually use it? How do you change what they used to do to what they now do?

People walking in a smart cityIf you start using technology as a key part of doing that thing, it’s going to have its own issues if that thing now fails. An example of this would be if you’re taking a train home. The train gets cancelled. You’ve still got all those people in Waterloo trying to get back down to the South Coast, so where do they go?

If you’re a Smart City and you lose that communication piece, think about the consequences of, “If it’s gone, what do I do?” You have to start thinking about resilience and a belt and braces approach – i.e. robust & resilient. Do I have a non-digital fall back? If we stop doing hands-on care in the home for example, and this is something that we are going to have to do because there simply isn’t enough care professionals to handle the amount of people that need care, with our ageing and growing senile population.

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Future Watch: 5 ingredients of a Smart City

Future Watch 4 – 5 ingredients of a Smart City

Smart Cities advocate Chris Cooper is a co-founder of KnowNow Cities, who provide a design consulting service for those involved in smart cities. In this fourth part of our Future Watch series Chris opens up about the ingredients and leadership required to turn a city into a smart one.

G: We’re going to have to move on to your smart cities article. If you could just quickly explain what Know Now does for smart cities?

C: What we do with smart cities is we provide a design consulting service for people like architects, developers and local authorities with the idea that if you want to start connecting buildings, homes and workplaces to digital networks and having information flowing from one place to another, you need some type of design that makes sure the data goes where it’s supposed to.

The people accessing it are those that can. So it’s secure, it’s safe, it’s sustainable. It continues to do what it does on the tin because you’re starting to interact in between something physical that will have a lifespan of maybe 150, 200 years versus something that could have a lifespan of weeks or months or years depending on what it is.

Batteries, for example, the maximum I’ve seen a battery last was a wireless sensor one and is up to around 10 years.

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Future Watch: Privacy and Social Media

Future Watch 3 – Privacy and Social Media

Tech legend and one-half of Know Now, Chris Cooper concludes the discussion with Gemma Christie on data security and privacy. They talk openly about how Facebook and Google use your data, along with a great sandwich story. We also take a look at what the future holds for having more control over your own personal digital footprint.

 

G: You wrote your article ‘5 rules of thumb and security of YOUR data’ in 2015 so it’s about a year old now. Do you think there have been any substantial improvements within the last year?

C: No. I think it’s got worse, to tell the truth.

 

G: In what way?

C: We’re seeing more and more stuff being connected without any good agreement on what constitutes good security design. There are a number of standards that are out there, but there isn’t an agreement on the handshake and the trusted exchange of information between devices. There isn’t a mechanism for what I call the ‘lizard principle’ or the ‘lizard tail principle’ for where you could shut something down and confine it and contain where you have maybe a risk or an exposure, and you can sacrifice that particular component.

I think where so many of the solutions that we see coming through are what I call ‘single-threaded decision makers’, so you have one sensor or one trigger that leads to one action, and all it takes is for that one thing to be compromised, and it just sets in chain a whole run of events.

A good holistic design has multiple decision-making points reinforcing a trend. If you’re responding to that trend proactively, it will achieve some type of difference. Where we seem to be, is on things that are going, right, I want to know something about the state of this area, and then once it reaches a certain point then I’m going to go do something else.

An example of this could be: river flow is going up, let’s open up a sluice gate. A sluice gate only has one centre and if that centre is compromised, the sluice gate doesn’t open. People get flooded. That just seems really poor design, a lack of thought on how you make stuff happen and a lack of desire, in my opinion, to invest appropriately in a fit-for-purpose solution that would stand the test of time. We tend to be buying on price for the short term and not investing in a project for the medium to long term.

So no, I don’t think how our ethos and how we approach projects, how we are trying to deliver stuff and connect stuff up, is following good systems practice. We’re still seeing a number of poorly-designed, poorly-implemented solutions, especially in the internet space.

The 5 reasons to worry about security

G: In the article that was written last year, you said there are five good reasons we need to worry about security?

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Future Watch part 2 with Chris Cooper - Cyber Security

Future Watch: Cyber Security & Individuals

Future Watch 2: Cyber Security & Individuals

Today Chris is talking to Gemma Christie about the world’s biggest data breaches, data security at your bank, your mobile phone company, the government and where Google are going with security.

 

G: In your original article, you linked to a pretty good infographic that was showing the World’s Biggest Data Breaches (http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/worlds-biggest-data-breaches-hacks/). Some of these companies were eBay and JP Morgan. How at risk are large organizations and of course, the individuals that are subscribing to, buying from or working with these organisations? Are they at risk?

You cannot drop the ball on Cyber Security

You cannot drop the ball on Cyber Security

C: I think every organisation is potentially at risk. You cannot drop the ball on cyber security. You’re only as good as your previous day’s clean bill of health. I think one of the things that a security professional taught me when I was first starting out designing systems, is that the answer from security is no. Think like security. They’re not going to let you do this, so what will they allow me to do because I need that data or that transaction to break through what is a secure area.

Security people do not like leakage. They don’t want stuff that’s their organisation’s to be taken and pushed out into the open world. You don’t want rogue users in your environment, and rogue transactions in your environment. You’ve got different types of thing that you’re trying to protect, and you need different techniques and you need different types of vigilance. Be it from someone looking at a camera because you’re stopping physical intrusion, through to someone looking at trends in data performance because what you won’t see is the process that’s caused it being rogue. But what you will see is maybe the evidence of its existence because you’re processing time is getting longer, you’ve got unused threads and you’ve got database that shouldn’t be there.

Understanding your system and actively understanding what’s going on and being able to report with confidence, “Yeah, I know what’s going on. My data, my system, is safe and secure.” Having that process and those robust checks and balances to make sure people are doing their job and the system is working as designed are key.

 

G: What do you say to organisations that still haven’t put in place those secure systems?

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Future Watch: Chris Cooper on Data Security

Future Watch 1: Data Security.

Chartered Engineer, Enterprise Architect and one half of KnowNow, Chris Cooper talks to Gemma Christie and explains the data security issues that people and organisations still can’t seem to master, as well as next-horizon ideas that we’ll start seeing in the next two to ten years.

 

G: Hi Chris thanks for your time today. We’re going to start by discussing your article ‘5 rules of thumb and security of YOUR data’. Before we get started would you mind giving us a quick introduction to Know Now and your role there?

C: Yeah sure, KnowNow was set up by myself and David Patterson back in Nov 2013. We’re both ex IBM and we are both from the Smart City space. The reason we set up KnowNow is we felt that there is a market opportunity on helping places, cities, districts and communities adopt technology in a safe and sustainable way. Our previous employer was focused on some other stuff and we felt they were missing out on that opportunity. We still have a great relationship with IBM and we’re an IBM business partner.

Group photo of the Integrated Transport cohort with Chris, Second from Right, at Cognicity

Chris, Second from Right, at Cognicity

We’re an award winning team. We won a big data award in 2015 for an idea on using open data to help emergency situations and we were cohort 1 finalists on the on the Cognicity challenge in Canary Wharf.

Find out more about the Cognicity challenge here: http://cognicity.london/cognicity-challenge

It’s been a fun 2 and a half years so far and I’m looking forward to more fun with Mr Patterson.

 

Data Security

G: You have written about data security. Why is this an issue that is relevant to Know Now?

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Why Bristol is top of the UK Smart Cities Index

Bristol is a Top UK Smart City

Yesterday I attended the announcement of the first UK Smart Cities Index of top UK smart cities sponsored by Huawei and researched by Navigant.   A very interesting event hosted by The IET at the newly refurbished Savoy Place.  The result I wholeheartedly endorse with Bristol & London in the top quadrant of leaders.   I am pleased as I had positioned Bristol as my top smart city back in February.  Now the facts prove the sentiment.  C’Mon Bris!

Navigant Research - Top 10 UK Smart Cities - Bristol

Navigant Research – Top 10 UK Smart Cities – from Navigant Research

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Future of Urban Portsmouth. Really?

Slightly surprised by what I heard.

Today I was at an event hosted by University of Portsmouth at the Emirates Spinnaker Tower (quite possibly my favourite UK structure).  The event was to kick start a discussion on the future of urban Portsmouth.   Prof. Steffen Lehmann had brought some serious players to the panel that was to discuss Portsmouth as a sustainable city by 2030.   Asking the question… What is the vision to get there?

 

IMG_4154

This is KnowNow’s home city in many ways.  David & I were born here, went to school locally and our business is based in the city and one of us is a season ticket holder!   We are a Portsmouth company.  Yet we also have a global outlook with customers in SE Asia, London as well as down the road.   Our home city has tended to lag behind when it comes to being seen as a ‘smart place’.   Now this may have changed.

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Citizens Now Have Consent Part 2

Part 2 – What is happening now…

The Business Case is warming up

Cognicity

Cognicity – the business accelerator KnowNow participated in 2015.

When it came to KnowNow’s innovative new consent tool what we needed was a view of the market.   We needed to move from a hunch to a viable innovation backed up with evidence.

A consequence of being on a business accelerator is that you take a more methodical based approach to your innovation validation.   This means fail fast and do the bare minimum and push only what has a positive response. Do more of that and less of the things that are not so positive. This is an iterative experience.

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Citizens Now Have Consent – Part 1

Part 1: The Story So Far

For smart cities to be considered a success they will have many different types of services e.g. for health, mobility, energy and crime. How services are delivered, measured and valued will be transformed and citizens will now consume experiences and share most things that were previously owned. It will just make sense that way. However, there is a big assumption in this futuristic view.  Consent.

What’s the big assumption?

That citizens will have allowed some quite personal information to be consumed, shared and distributed. Yet, this laissez faire view does not necessarily work for all. In particular when it comes to the European countries with the new GDPR, a growing number of citizens are hesitant about sharing their data freely, according to the latest MEF report some 41% of citizens have this concern. Yet a total clamp down on personal information use is not appropriate either, because no personal information share means no experiences and no transformed services.

So what is to be done?

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Ideas to App Store – Get it right 1st time

One story that I frequently hear from our customers is that they have had some problems getting their ideas quickly and efficiently turned into new applications or services. Oftentimes they have had a previous attempt at building the application, only to give up on the project part way through.

It is gratifying that they come to us to try to resolve these issues but there are some simple steps that you can take in order to improve your chances of a good development cycle the first time.

Ideas

I’ll show the 5 steps that I believe can be used to best nurture your ideas and give you the best possible chance of ending up with a useful, market pleasing and hopefully, money earning app at the lowest risk.

The whole process looks like the diagram below, created by the guys at SkoreApp, which you can see in more detail at this link

The process defined as a workflow using SkoreApp

The idea to app process recorded in SkoreApp

1. Think

An ape looking very thoughtful in a zoo.

How often do you think deeply about your ideas?

It’s really important to eke out a little time for thinking during your day. A little time out from the grind can often help you to de-stress, to remember why you work so hard. Often you will subconsciously enhance your idea without concentrating on it.

It helps to find tools to help you to record your valuable thoughts. I use a combination of Trello and Evernote to capture notes, speech and scans of everything that I think might be useful later.

Once you have had some ideas and recorded them then you can approach the first checkpoint in our 5 step plan.

Can I coherently and concisely talk to other people for a couple of minutes about my idea?

If the answer is yes and you can talk about simple things like “Who is going to benefit from my idea?” or “How will my idea pay for itself?” then you are ready to move to step 2.

2. Workshop

This doesn’t have to be a formal workshop session with paid consultants picking apart your ideas. You can start with a simple conversation with your family, friends and business associates about your great ideas. The key is to get your thoughts in front of a diverse group of people so that you can hear various different user groups talk about how they might use your idea, product or service.

An innovation workshop

It can however be highly cost effective to get the thoughts of experienced people at this early stage. It may be that by spending a little money now, you save yourself a whole lot of money and pain at a later date. They may also be able to suggest ways to optimise your eventual development process and reduce the costs that you are likely to incur along the way. A good workshop should tease out those nuggets that show there is valuable competitive advantage in your idea.

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