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.
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?
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.
Project Pods is a very exciting new concept being led by KnowNow information. The project is all about connectivity, relevance, content and local growth. It will also be the birth of the KnowNow Information ‘kn-i platform’.
In terms of connectivity we are enabling free urban wifi. As long as you are on the ‘app’ and near our access point you are in the kn-i connected ecosystem. In terms of relevance, this is all about the user. Making sure we understand what the user wants, what the user will allow and how will all parties benefit from sharing details about where someone is and what they may wish to do. With regards content, we are providing trusted & personalised information, entertainment, Infotainment and hooks to continually use the service. Finally in terms of local growth, we will generate local employment and local economic activity.