BLOG: Digital City and Data Changers

Wisdom from a Machine Guru, Acclaimed Professor, and Innovator in Infrastructure – based off a live panel I hosted at the SAP for Utilities Conference.

We live in a transformative time, one that has given entrepreneurs and enterprises similar playing fields to disseminate, influence, and establish new partnerships that guide transformative change. We see this in many new business models, methods and channels. With such exponential growth happening before us, the greatest value we find, is sitting down with thought leaders that carry the experience and knowledge across various areas of expertise – from far reaching domains. In my discussions, we take the time to pause and reflect on how they are leading their circles of change while influencing our next technology evolution.

We often discuss provocative questions; should we continue to move forward with this great speed, if yes, in what manner? How are our largest global industry sectors, like Energy and Natural Resources, Healthcare, Retail, Telecommunications, and Transportation industries preparing themselves, and moving at the same pace? How are utilities, cities and their governments, and most importantly, their people applying attention and resources in this always-on world?

Throughout the upcoming SAP for Utilities Conference, SAP’s largest industry event in North America, provocative answers to these questions can be seen sprouting from the work of key game changers across industries. On Monday, September 11, I have the distinct privilege to host the founder of machine, Comcast’s’ Enterprise Internet of Things service, Alex Khorram; acclaimed Stanford professor and digital cities thought leader, Michael Steep; and industrial machinery expert and IoT technology maverick, Derek Dyer, as they share how this transformational change continues to impact industrial machinery, agriculture, technology, and infrastructure, alike. Our panel will be (and is) helping to drive our state and local governments to think differently about how they support the cities in which we all reside in, work in and raise our families.

The goal of any digital or smart city is to improve urban infrastructures while minimizing costs, fostering innovation across industries, and improving the quality of life for each of its’ citizens. To achieve this ultimate state, the fundamental fiber allowing cities to progress in this direction – is data. Keeping both data and this this goal in mind, the themes I will explore with our panelists during our Digital Cities: The Art (and Data Science) of the Possible panel discussion include;

 Crossing the digital cities data layer

Commercial markets within cities are under transformation. For example: as autonomous cars are introduced, their networks will connect with and converge data from banks, other companies, and city government functions including traffic monitoring. This will create new opportunities for companies to monetize off the data. Instead of a city being thought of as bricks, mortar, and transportation infrastructure, we will think about a city as data layers interconnecting everything.

 Smart machines’ rapid impact

Leading predictions show the imminent rise of smart machines and their impact on business investments and applications. With more sensors and data, new offerings emerge amid cities and their local utilities. For example, Comcast has recently started working with its commercial partners to enable businesses and cities to gather, transmit, and analyze data about the operation of connected devices distributed throughout their locations. Using the service, organizations are empowered to use data collected from their IoT devices, learn from it, and make better-informed, data-based decisions to improve how they serve customers, tenants, and citizens.

Technology by way of utility

The fuel that makes a smart city run is data – generated by individuals as well as physical infrastructures (for example highway toll collection). Making data useful requires a backbone of systems that integrate computation, networking and physical processes, and includes sensor networks, monitoring/collecting equipment, data analytics — and humans. Citizens, city authorities, government management, infrastructure and service delivery, local enterprises, not to mention, technology and application providers — must collaborate to make the smart city successful, with the end goal of making this data actionable and self-serving. The goal: Creating smarter neighborhoods, districts, counties…cities.

I’m looking forward to spending time with these thought leaders, and hope our audience members walk away with a better understanding and ideas of how to apply IoT, Big Data, machine learning and intellectual reasoning to any phase of their digital transformation journey.

Interested in attending SAP for Utilities Conference? There is still time to join us in Huntington Beach, California. Register here and be sure to follow us @SAPIndustries #utilities, #SAP4UTL @jamespiacentino or email me at [email protected]