Week of June 7th – SMART

Nobert Ender (Switzerland IBM Smarter Cities lead) updated me on some collaborations with Christoph Heiz (ZHAW, the Swiss Institute for Service Science (SISS)) exploring smarter city topics.   Also interesting collaborations between IBM Zurich Research Lab and ETHZ, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology – in the area of Nanotech.   Dawn Tew (US IBM UP) on our IBM University Program team will be in Switzerland next year, and there should be some good opportunities to advance applied service science on smarter cities and university campuses.   Universities are often in the top ten employers list for cities, especially when the universities have associated medical centers and hospitals (like Harvard and Stanford, for example).

Roar Fundingsrud (Norway IBM) updated me on the smart oil wells collaboration with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway’s Statoil, and IBM Center of Excellence in Stavanger, Norway using the Integrated Information Framework to make faster and better decisions to increase oil production.  An article in the technical week press (Teknisk Ukeblad) states that the profitability lies within the increased extraction of oil estimated to 300 billion NOK (50 billion $).

Richard Schoephoerster, Ed Archuleta, and Thomas Davis (US UTexas El Paso (UTEP)) have been providing a wealth of information on desalination plants and desalination research, a strength of UTEP.  The plant at UTEP is one of the largest in the US at 27.5 million gallons per day capacity.   Tampa Bay has an ocean plant around 25 mgpd capacity. The largest ocean plants in the Middle East and in Australia are 30 to perhaps 100 mgd in capacity.   A brackish groundwater plant like UTEP treats water that is only slightly brackish (approx. 1500 ppm (parts per million)) of dissolved solids. An ocean plant deals with approx. 30,000 to 40,000 ppm.   NRC (National Research Council) has a book a few years old on this topic. I am looking to better understand: What is the cost to build a water desalination plant? How large is a typical plant? And what is the expected operational life-time?  How many gallons of water per day can it produce? How pure is the water? Drinkable? What is the temperature of the input water and output water?  How much does it cost to operate the plant? What are the major operating costs – labor, energy, filter materials, etc.?  Have the costs been going down year over year, or going up for water desalination?  Are there competing technological approaches? What are the major approaches? Which approach is on the best improvement trajectory?  Where are the top centers of excellence around the world? US? Singapore? Middle East? Australia? Others?

Stuart Gannes (US SocialTech) has been keeping me posted on the evolution of journalism with several pointers and ideas.   We are both intrigued by student journalism efforts, like TripleHelix (http://triplehelixblog.com/about/).   And the role of journalism in innovation systems (http://www.innovationjournalism.org/archive/INJO-1-7.pdf). CNN’s IReport.com http://www.ireport.com/. They have organized thousands of people globally to file on issues that CNN covers.  Also, see mashup of oil spill reports and locations. You can submit via cell phone and designate geographic locations that you want to receive alerts from. http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org/

This week Dave Hill (US Marin County) shared some of his ideas as CIO of Marin County – really rethinking the service offerings of counties in California.

Regarding smarter cities, do you know your city/neighborhood’s walk score? For walk-ability and quality-of-life? John Tolva (US IBM) shared the following excellent link with me http://walkscore.com.   John has great insights into data sets associated with cities – see http:///www.cityforward.org.    Tom Erickson (US IBM Research) suggested the following for cyclists: http://cyclopath.org/

Hisham El-Shishiney (Egypt IBM) writes about Egypt Minstry of Communications and IT (MCIT) starting an important initiative to stimulate an Egyptian innovation-based economy by nurturing and harvesting an “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy” for Egypt’s ICT sector.

Steve Eglash (US Stanford), who is executive director of Stanford’s Energy and Environment Affiliates Program, gave a pointer to the following report: “The smart grid in 2010: Market segments, applications, and industry players.” http://www.gtmresearch.com/report/smart-grid-in-2010 …

…  Todd Logan (US Stanford) Director of Corporate Relations for the Engineering School gave me an amazing tour of Stanford’s new green engineering quad… most impressive …  A week earlier, I heard an excellent talk at Stanford by their President, John Hennessy (US Stanford), on “The Future of the Research University” –  http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee380/

Amol Mahamuni (India IBM) leads IBM University Programs in India where there is a lot happening.   Himanshu Goyal (India IBM) recently provided an update on a meeting of the Confederation of India Industry (CII) – http://www.cii.in/ – where it was noted that the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in India is just about 11-12% whereas it is more than 50% for the developed nations.  Closing this gap will require giving many more access to university courses and credential mechanisms.   The All India Council for Technical Education – http://www.aicte-india.org/ – is also interested in ensuring that graduates meet the needs of industry, including deep problem solving skills and broad communication skills across many disciplines and types of service systems (T-Shaped professionals).

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