Currently, there is a major, multi-million pound experiment in Bristol to create the smart city of the future.
The Bristol is Open project includes high speed broadband, sensors everywhere and a £12 million supercomputer that will power a smarter city. Some of the key aims include decreasing air pollution, traffic congestion, improving assisted living for the elderly and enabling self-driving cars around the city.
It was therefore inevitable that the second MoMo Bristol event needed to focus on ‘The Internet of Things’.
With over 80 mobile experts and influencers in attendance, the session featured talks from Paul Wilson, Director at Bristol is Open in addition to two guest speakers from Mubaloo Innovation Lab; Mike Crooks, Head of Innovation and Tom Hallam, Technical Lead.
Mike and Tom started the evening’s agenda, focused on the role of Bluetooth beacons within the Internet of Things. Mike delved into contextual IoT, discussing how companies should be looking to approach IoT and what is possible; which we’ve discussed on our blog.
Mike discussed that a major challenge with IoT is understanding what the benefit is for things to talk to each other, for both companies and end users. Already, vast amounts of data is generated every day; IoT is only increasing this. As a result, it’s important to distinguish between Big Data (the data that a company or person may need for the long term view) vs Small Data (the data that matters to you in the moment).
When it comes to beacons, Mike explained that “beacons should add value to apps, not the other way around”. As we have written about recently, Beacons, and by proxy, Bluetooth is increasingly being seen as a key connecting technology for Internet of Things; thanks to its ability to have proximity detection and with Bluetooth 4.2, mesh networking. Within Internet of Things, beacons are now able to connect with digital devices but also the physical device that they might be attached to. This is thanks to Bluetooth’s role as a receiver and controller; at a local level.
Following Mike, Tom delved into the technical aspect of both beacons and IoT. During his talk, Tom showed ‘Thingful’, an IoT search engine, which provides a geographical index of connected objects around the world. This included everything from iBeacons to energy, radiation, seismograph, weather and air quality sensors, all the way up to ships, aircraft and even animal trackers anywhere, around the world.
Seeing the joined up picture of the level of connection left the audience stunned. When considering that by 2020, there will be an estimated 38.5 billion units, hooked up to IoT, according to Juniper Research, we haven’t even touched the surface yet.
Following their presentation, the team gave a live interactive demo of a beacon project, demonstrating Big Data to Small Data and contextual interaction. The demo was used to demonstrate automated actions on digital devices, based on hyper-location, to help trigger information and data to people.
Whilst IoT is becoming a bigger topic, thanks to smarter cars, smarter heating systems, and connected equipment and assets that companies deploy; organisations and people are still working to find the best use cases and end user benefits.
Paul Wilson, Director at Bristol is Open and our second guest speaker, discussed this topic during his talk, “A programmable city? Bristol is one of them”. Paul discussed what is happening in Bristol and the aims for the future of making Bristol a hotbed of innovation.
‘Bristol is Open’ is a joint venture project between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council, funded by the local, national and European governments, with academic research and funding by the private sector. It is delivering research and development initiatives that contribute to the development of making Bristol a smart city, through IoT.
Paul explained how through sensors and data, cities will be able to respond in real-time, to everyday events. These events that are being tracked and monitored for improvements that can be made for congestion, waste management, entertainment events, e-democracy, energy supply and services for the elderly and the general population. To prove his point, Paul showcased the ‘open programmable city’ platform, which uses digital infrastructure, made public through an ‘open data’ portal.
Overall, the aim of Bristol is Open is to enable better interaction between people and places, through machine-to-machine communication, creating a inspirational connected city. As part of the Smart City Forum Leadership Team, Paul gave us a fantastic insight into the mission to accelerate smart city sustainability.
IoT is built on networks of data-gathering sensors, network connectivity, cloud computing, middleware platforms, software & human interfaces. Mobile Monday Bristol’s event was a reflection on the breadth of the potential here, where IoT is influencing plans for transport, cities, facilities, leisure, financial services and even farming.
From those creating products and services, to those looking at media targeting and new customer interactions, we’re starting to see these worlds come together. The latest MoMo event delivered great insight to people from different industries, with different perspectives and experiences with IoT.
To attend the next event, focused on Healthcare in March, or to speak at one of the events, you can contact chris@weareaudiophiles. com. Alternatively you can keep up-to-date with the latest events on Twitter and LinkedIn.