Keeping control of smart cities: How to manage a city with one finger

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to revolutionise the cities we live in and the way we interact with everyday objects – but keeping track of them may be a problem.

We are likely to see traffic lights that speak to cars, buildings that gather escaping heat, waste systems that monitor how much is being created and solar farms collecting energy from the roof tops.

With the rapid growth of the IoT, it is going to make managing the infrastructure and technology behind our cities an increasing challenge for authorities.

One company has created a solution to allow all these elements to be monitored in one place.

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CyberLightening has introduced its latest software platform CyberVille – which is able to give visual monitoring and control of data from systems within the IoT.

The tool can control sensor and machine networks using a simple point-and-tap interface on any mobile device.

This could mean that large parts of cities are controlled by one person on their iPhone.

The system is initially being targeted at energy production, smart grid and smart city applications.

In essence it creates a single control panel for all the systems that are being used.

It is built around several components that all work together to analyse the data and present it in the same place.

The company is apparently working with several large customers to implement a pilot of the system. These include a Nordic energy company, a state-owned enterprise controlled by the Finish government and a large bridge and road project in China.

If successful, the system pave the way for a solution to the smart city problem with the managing of smart devices.

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CEO of CyberLightening Ville Mickelsson said: “Network operations and control rooms for infrastructure systems today are typically populated with dozens of displays.

“It’s a major challenge for skilled staff and managers alike to view both the ‘big picture’ and be able to drill down to levels of detail needed to really track performance and respond to issues.

“The complexity of these types of networks will grow exponentially in the Internet of Things era.

“With CyberVille, we are presenting the first solution built from the ground up to address the challenges of systems management in incredibly complex network environments.”


Flying to the future: Star Wars-style hoverbike available to buy from 2017

A low altitude flying vehicle that bears a strong resemblance to the speeder bikes in the Star Wars franchise is being made available for sale from 2017.

Described by developer Aerofex as “a hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle”, the Aero-X is an offroad vehicle that floats up to 10ft (3m) in the air and can move at speeds up to 45 miles per hour (72km).

It can also be used on water, provided the rider forks out for the optional floatation pontoons.

According to the company, the bike is fairly easy to learn to ride; Aerofex believes it should only take a week to go from novice to pro rider.

 

The bike was originally previewed in 2012, prompting immense excitement from would-be hover bikers.

Many dreamed of using Aero-X on the daily commute, while others just wanted the bike for the sheer coolness.

But with a price tag of $85,000 – $5,000 of which is payable now in the form of a refundable deposit – only the very rich are going to be able to use the bike for off-road flying fun.

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However, if you work in right industry you might find yourself riding an Aero-X as part of your nine to five.

Aerofex reckons that the bike would be ideal for work such as surveying, search and rescue and border patrol, which is no surprise given the bike’s range and ability to provide impressive, far-reaching views of the surrounding area.

It could also be a major boon to farming, an industry that is keenly embracing technologies that speed up day-to-day tasks or improve output.

Aerofex has proposed that the bike be used to spread fertilizer and nutrients, by means of a special peripheral attached to the bike’s rear, and has suggested that it could also be used for ranching as a high-tech alternative to horses.

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While Aero-X is clearly going to be popular with those with money to burn, its long-term future is going to be in industry.

Aerofex has naturally cottoned on to this, and is keen to get the bike working for as many industries as possible.

To this end, the company has incorporated mounting points, power connectors and communications systems so that auxiliary equipment can be easily hooked up to the bike.

It is encouraging third-party developers to make use of these through the provision of an interface control document with connecting points detailed in full.

How many industries see the potential in Aero-X remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cooler, more futuristic vehicle that has made it past the concept stage.


Images courtesy of Aerofex.