Today’s times has typically been characterised as the Information Age where technology, computerisation, digitisation has shifted our economic foundations to information, and where information is power.
Sitting with Mark Pretorius and Darin Andersen at CyberTECH in San Diego, the conversation quickly moved to the predict the end of the Information Age by 2020. In its place would be an age of Integration, where digital, biological and technology capability would converge. They outline how right now we have the capacity to monitor and stream in real-time not only the presence and movement of people in a building but their individual heart rates without any physical interaction. Given that both Mark and Darin work closely with some of the most advanced technology firms specialising in cybersecurity they see that the value of this technology lies not simply in the collection of the information but how the multiple data sets can be integrated, leveraged and yes, monetized. They recognise the tensions a smart city faces particularly between the value of open data and the need for data security and safety. A tension that has trade-offs that will shift over time as we enter the age of Integration.
The Navy-owned and operated Port of San Diego likewise must trade off data value versus security. Managing two maritime cargo terminals, two cruise ship terminals, twenty two parks and hundreds of tenants, the Port is a critical landowner, employer and collaborator in the city. They started their smart city journey from an environmental perspective monitoring energy consumption and have since expanded to advance innovation through a green business network to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through incentive and compliance measures, installed smart poles to monitor and manage traffic, open data that recognises the many languages in the community and a range of security related initiatives.
Collaborations between business and government on smart environmental initiatives has also been the key driver for the formation of Cleantech. A trade and economic not-for-profit, this association facilitates regional private, public and academic collaborations to reduce green house gas emissions and drive economic growth. The fact that San Diego has some forty-three per cent of energy generated from renewables and a thriving cleantech job market suggests that the collaborative city wide approach is kicking goals.
Saturday, we do something different and head up to City Heights, a district in San Diego that has been socially innovative. We will let you know what happens - stay tuned.