by Annabelle Gawer, Associate Professor in Strategy and Innovation at Imperial College London
This piece was originally published in The Conversation.
Amazon, the e-commerce internet giant, is launching its first smartphone. Media attention is focusing on whether the phone’s features, such as its rumoured 3D interface, are really as cool as portrayed in its trailer video which aims to wow early users. But by entering into the fray of an already hyper-competitive mobile phone industry, Amazon is doing a lot more than adding another gee-whizz feature to a smartphone.
This launch tells us a great deal about CEO Jeff Bezos’ strategy for his company – and what it might mean for the future of competition and innovation in our increasingly digital world.
Have you ever wanted to change the world through digital technologies? Over 100 participants had this in mind when they descended upon Imperial College London last weekend to take part in the UK’s first Urban Prototyping (UP London) Hackathon.
Multi-disciplinary teams of developers, programmers, technicians and designers competed for a chance to win over £100,000 worth of awards including up to £80,000 cash in follow on funding. Teams were challenged to create a technology based prototype that would result in real-world changes to either the environment, local economy or local community.
But what is a Hackathon?
Simply put, a Hackathon allows teams of hackers to ‘hack’ large data sets (such as weather / transport / traffic data) over a short amount of time, in this case one weekend.
Istanbul,13-14 September 2012
By Pantelis Koutroumpis
The first of its kind World Intelligent Cities Summit took place in Istanbul on the 13-14 September. The agenda included prominent figures from the Turkish government and local authorities together with international experts presenting best practices for the development of connected and sustainable cities. While primarily a business and policy summit it was a rather interesting meeting in terms of the common direction towards a more sustainable future where ICT plays a critical role.
Idris Gulluce, Deputy & Chair Committee on Public Works, Reconstruction, Transportation and Tourism of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) talked extensively about the importance of local culture and social understanding for the success of smart policies in cities.
The Digital Tipping Point: engaging customers through social media
Sean Mahdi, Director, Pricewaterhouse Coopers
18.30-19.30 17 May 2012, Imperial College Business School
Blog by Tao Feng
Sean Mahdi’s speech identified fundamental c hanges of the banking industry in the past decades. Building revenue heavily on financial leverage is no longer suitable due to increased regulatory intervention and industrial competition. A new business model is required to fully utilise digital technology to seize the opportunities among the customers, especially for those who have broadly interacted with the Internet.
In order to have a better understanding of this challe nge, research has been conducted by PwC with almost 3000 banking customers across the major markets.
Ovum-DCE Smart Cities Europe 2012
The Lancaster, London 19-20 June 2012
You can find the Chirpstory for the event here.
In many ways the event revealed the broader problems with discussions around smart cities. There is the aspirational vision – cleaner, less-congested, less polluted and more prosperous cities – contrasted with the complex reality of current “smart” ICT projects, often mired in difficulties around business models, administrative jurisdiction, privacy and security issues and any number of other complex multi-stakeholder problems that crop-up when you try and integrate the physical and digital worlds; problems which go far beyond the scope of a simple technological fix.
Tuesday 22 May 2012, Crayon London
By Koen van Dam
After previously attending the Internet of Things Meetup Meetup #6, it was only a matter of time before DCE would return to another edition of this informal get-together of a community focused on machine to machine communication, open data and trying to change the world. For IoT Meetup #8 the talks had a smart city/smart home/energy focus.
Before the three speakers gave their short presentation sparking off some interesting debates, Owen Davies explained the recent rebranding of Pachube to Cosm. In addition to providing a fresh new design and a name which is easier to pronounce (no more feeling smug hearing other people struggle with this after finally getting it right yourself), the new website wants to offer users more than just a place to store their data to be processed elsewhere.
Wednesday 28 March 2012, Crayon London
By Koen van Dam and Claire Thorne
The “Internet of Things”, the vision of a world where physical objects are connected and part of a world-wide information network, has been a buzzword for more than a decade now. With the widespread use of smart phones, the availability of cheap sensors and microcontrollers and the rise of data sharing platforms such as Pachube (pronounced as “patch bay”), groups of enthusiastic people are working on making this idea come true and developing business plans taking advantage of the recent momentum.
In cities around the world people are gathering at monthly “IoT Tech Meetups”: informal, evening discussion groups with speakers presenting their work/ideas/businesses.
Tuesday 6th March, Imperial College Business School
By Antoine Vernet
Anthony Finkelstein, dean of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at UCL and a professor of Computer Science was at Imperial College Business School on March 6, to give a talk entitled “Engineering Challenges of the Digital Economy”. His talk addressed discrepancies between technical issues of software development and the necessity to address consumer demand and to build sustainable business models for software companies.
The discipline of software engineering needs to rise to the challenges presented by the digital economy. In his talk, Anthony Finkelstein addressed 10 challenges facing software engineering in the digital economy.
Wednesday 8th March, Imperial College Business School
By Richard Foulsham
Lem Lasher, as Group President of Global Business Solutions and Chief Innovation Officer of CSC is in a unique position to assess the influences upon and potential future direction of the digital economy, having both the analytical capabilities of a leading edge consultancy and a business that’s involved in the day to deployment of IT around the world within his remit.
During this lecture he shared with us some of the “points of view” that his organisation has developed around “next practice”, likely developments that clever players in the IT market can use to gain an advantage, and identified some of the areas that he thinks will grow and become important as the digital revolution gets underway.
Technology Visionaries RAEng lecture series
Wednesday 22 February 2012, the Royal Society, London
By Claire Thorne and Koen van Dam
Unsure of how many notable FREng’s to expect in the audience, we arrived at the Royal Society (the current base for the RAEng during their refurbishment). With twenty-four FREng’s on the delegate list, including one on stage, we weren’t disappointed (but possibly just a little underdressed!).
The lecture by Prof Nigel Shadbolt FREng (Prof of Artificial Intelligence, University of Southampton) was part of the RAEng’s Technology Visionaries series and promised a whistle-stop tour through the vast topic that is Open Data.