As a virtual world modeler, an area of research I want to pursue is how we can provide participatory opportunities to imagine the design of smart cities/communities that will improve the quality of life for stakeholders. In 2015, I studied the Internet of Things and created a taxonomy for a government agency. It really got me thinking about the societal transformation possible. 2015 was a banner year in that I participated in three events that have profoundly shaped my view of the future. These were:
- Federal Consortium of Virtual Worlds (FCVW) Workshop
- NIST Global City Team Challenge Expo
- M-Enabling Summit
The FCVW event is described on the Research page where a virtual world region was created for the workshop.
While performing the literature review on IoT, I learned how Europe had several funded projects for smart cities made from the Horizon2020 initiative. The US had some catching up to do! So when the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) hosted the inaugural Global Cities expo in Washington DC, I paid myself to attend. Before I left I searched for anyone at UCF or the region for interest in attending. No one could be found. Later I discovered that Vanessa Zabala was there too! She now has responsibility and influence for economic development for the Central Florida region. Stay tuned for updates.
The King and Queen of Holland were there to illustrate how the Netherlands is equipping as a smart country. Of 64 really neat projects showcased, there was only one that dealt with security. One dealt with helping meet the needs of an aging population. The others dealt with recycling, emergency management, medical simulation and the like. Funding was made available if teams could be coordinated for projects. In fact, the National Science Foundation had funding for municipal, smart community projects. Later, I attempted to get approval from NIST to have UCF’s main campus classified as a smart city/community in order to apply for funds. I was turned down as a municipal partner was required. The poster below was from the Expo.
NIST Global City DHA poster for medical simulation
Meanwhile, across town in DC, another event also involved the Internet of Things.
The most dangerous conference I ever attended had so many service dogs that they interacted with one another. It was tricky to navigate due to the number of scooters and people walking around with white canes. What a wonderful event with stakeholders, service providers, tech giants, and researchers like me. My eyes were opened about how many people knew what was coming in terms of capabilities relating to the Internet of Things. I wanted the event to be extended so that I could follow up with several attendees. The keynote was provided by Dr. Stephen Hawking. This event made me want to challenge the status quo in terms of creating inexpensive hardware and software that can tackle wicked problems. We need to create smart, enabled communities!
And here we go:
Let’s do this! Who is with me? Funding helps, but I appreciate those who have the will to find ways to make smart enabled communities happen. It has been said that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.