Angel Versetti: Enabling the Smart City Revolution

urban-perspectives supply-chain smart-cities big-data ambrosus-educational

Smart cities exist on the intersection of digital technology, disruptive innovation and urban environments. They are an exciting place to work and live and the breeding ground for new ideas. — Deloitte on Smart Cities

The future smart city revolution promises to transform the role that cities and urban areas play for citizens all across the globe. As urbanisation processes increase, and more and more people around the world move into a city in the upcoming 10 years, the need for smart management across all domains of life will become a necessity.

Ambrosus, a globally decentralised blockchain and IoT platform, aims to guarantee the quality assurance of virtually any product in the world. While specifically focusing on food and pharmaceutical products, Ambrosus possesses an Innovation Laboratory (Innolab) to custom design its own solutions for any supply chain or data related problem. In the context of smart cities, Ambrosus has the potential to expand far beyond smart supply chain management: the future of air quality, water quality, and waste management is also at stake.

The Brink of a Smart City Revolution

Since the inception of the internet, a slow process has begun known as the digitalisation of information. With blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and recent developments in artificial intelligence an era of industrial digitalization looms on the horizon. In the context of cities, this means that governments and citizens together have the potential to leverage big data in order to improve virtually any aspect of everyday life. By connecting a sensor, monitor, or chip to a physical product, the real-time conditions of an infinite number of variables becomes measurable. At the same time, based on current urbanization trends, effective city management will become a necessity for the future mega cities of the world.

The following map by the visual capitalist is a fitting illustration of development trends (For a more interactive example of urbanization processes, the following Luminocity map is also helpful.):

As more and more citizens move into urban areas the risk of crime, resource scarcity, pollution, and lack of space slowly increases. In order to accommodate growth trends, cities will begin to digitalize and configure city data in order to better serve their populations, and equally manage crime. Such solutions when implemented to entire cities, result in the creation of ‘Smart Cities’.

According to an in-depth study by Deloitte, smart cities are cities which have a significant level of their infrastructure attached to or interacting with digital and communication technologies. Ideally, such cities increase connectivity, maximize business efficiency, contribute to the quality of life of those living within the city, and prevent disasters before they can materialize. Some examples of smart solutions that a city could implement would be:

  • Smart Mobility and Transportation: Traffic and city congestion is managed by smart roads capable of monitoring usage, reacting to accidents, and avoiding delays. Smart cars capable of automatic driving and parking are shared by numerous people at one time, allowing for less congestion and shorter commute times.
  • Smart Energy Systems: Energy is saved through real time monitoring of the usage of energy systems. Household appliances are able to react to changes in energy prices to minimize costs and adjust in cases of sudden changes.
  • Smart Water Systems: Real time management of plumbing systems allows for citizens and officials to understand what is in the water, and how clean the water is for use. Water systems are precisely used for irrigation purposes, and for plugging leaks before they can have a profuse affect.
  • Smart Waste Management and Recycling Planning: Sensors put in waste containers allow for more efficient waste collection. Materials used in boxes and from products become easily recyclable and therefore save money and curb overall waste levels.
  • Smart Pollution Containment: Sensors placed around a city actively read and report CO2 levels, humidity, air pollution, toxic or unhealthy waste in the ground, as well as impending storms or natural disasters. Cities are kept clean and healthy, while citizens are fully aware of the affect the outside environment will have on their health.
  • Smart Safety: Real time facial recognition, license plate scanning, drone oversight, and smart street lighting are all effectively employed by city police in order to combat crime, prevent violence and increase the overall safety for citizens. Emergency applications connect with surrounding sensors in order to alert and record life essential conditions during a crisis.
  • Smart Supply Chains: Supply chains are automatized to the point that all containers, transporters, and individual products are intelligent and capable of communicating with one another. Alerts revolving around changes to the condition of a product, or a delay in a vehicle are automatically sent to an administrator dashboard.

The list of ‘Smart’ applications is ultimately one which will not be limited to any specific area or industry of the future. All aspects of life — from how one consumes food, to where one buys their medicine, to what kind of a house someone is living in will equally be affected and transformed by the era of digitalization. Data, and its real time transmission to numerous stakeholders, is becoming a precious commodity in itself as it can be configured in a way so as to directly affect individual decision making.

The Need for Digital Solutions:

More concretely, in relation to current problems that smart cities will be able to solve, one need only look to the recent headlines in the news: a Fortune article discussed the quality of air in Seattle, and explained how due to forest fires and changing temperatures, Seattle will at times possess 5 times the amount of air pollution than Beijing in the future. In an article by Scientific Magazine earlier this year, further attention was given to the fact that clean drinking water all over the United States is a serious public health risk, affecting up to 45 million people a year. Finally, City Digital, a smart city incubator working in Chicago, has also recently implemented a smart rainfall solution to manage wastewater and ensure that it can be effectively drained so as to not disrupt traffic or lead to flooding. Such a solution can be readily applied to any hurricane or flood prone area in the world. What these trends indicate is that smart cities are here to stay, and reliable data will soon become a necessity for both politicians and citizens in cities which continue to grow ever-larger by day; the need for quick responses to changing climactic or environmental conditions is ultimately a matter of life or death.

On the other hand, as data becomes more and more precious for companies, the privacy of that data, and the security of the citizens involved becomes equally important. The dangers of a surveillance state or data manipulation by larger tech companies becomes a serious possibility. The key question in this domain, centers upon creating a balance between data management, and a citizen’s privacy: how can one achieve some sort of equilibrium between massive data sharing and configuration, while also maintaining the privacy of each individual?

Ambrosus and the Future of Data:

For Ambrosus, smart cities provide an opportunity to increase the quality and safety of a person’s everyday life, while also spreading data out amidst a decentralised network so as to ensure that no data is used to infringe upon the privacy of a person. At the same time, AMB-NET will be readily applicable to a city’s smart supply chain; their air quality monitoring system; their water quality testing and management systems, and even a city’s local agricultural practices. The main point, is that Ambrosus is a holistic solution: it can accommodate any industry, or facet of the real world that requires an end-to-end secure data management solution.

Smart Supply Chain Management:

As detailed by Dr. Stefan Meyer, Chief Technology Officer, the future of food and medicine centers upon the concept of personalization: In the future, supply chains will become faster paced and more complex as more and more global products rise in demand for each consumer’s preference. Medicine, in contrast to how it is made today, will be made merely hours before it is used in a surgery or prescribed to a patient.

To make supply chains “smart” Ambrosus will eventually be capable of fully automatizing the supply chain process, enabling smart devices to make quick decisions, communicate with one another, automatically alert a stakeholder, and even execute a payment or provide a refund. Such solutions, involve machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as features like smart containers made specifically for certain products, and even cutting edge supply chain security systems currently awaiting a patent. Based in the Ambrosus Innovation Laboratory, these ‘smart’ solutions demonstrate Ambrosus’ capability of not only providing a solution for the problems of today (basic track and trace), but even more so the demands of tomorrow.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities:

While Ambrosus specializes in the quality assurance and management of food and pharmaceutical products, the Ambrosus Network (AMB-NET) has been designed in such a fashion to allow for the recording and configuration of data from virtually any source, including water, air, and the farming conditions of a crop or commodity.

Ambrosus’ solution to water centers upon smart water management and quality assurance: by using a smart sensor to monitor the arsenic or lead levels in the water supply of a city, the data from such water can be configured into an application whereby each and every individual can see in real-time the quality of the water they are using. Such a solution is ideal, given the fact that once the sensors are placed in a city’s water management system, or in the pipes beneath a city, the sensor will continue to send readings to the Ambrosus Network, without being consumed or needing immediate replacement.

A second use example of AMB-NET’s applicability to smart cities is in air quality monitoring: as the article discussed from Fortune explained, with changes in resource production levels, and increases in wildfires, earthquakes and other environmental events, the quality of a city’s air stands to become dangerously polluted. With future IoT sensors, it will become possible to connect smart devices to different parts of a city, in order to monitor a wide variety of gases:

· The carbon dioxide levels (CO2)

· Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

· Formaldehyde (HCHO)

· Phosphine (PH3)

· Hydrogen sulphide (H2S)

· Carbon monoxide (CO)

· Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

As such, governments who wish to demonstrate their capabilities of ensuring safe living conditions for their citizens, will look to such systems. Meanwhile citizens, who need to decide what time of day is best to go exercise, shop, or socialize, will likewise be able to check up on the overall air quality, once a generic app has been designed.

Third and finally, Ambrosus has the potential to revolutionize agriculture and farming practices: as cities grow in size, and on-demand food, beverages, and medicines become the norm, significant amounts of food will need to be harvested or sourced nearby. For greenhouses and farmers, a variety of benefits can be derived from accessing real-time data of the status of their crops through the Ambrosus Network:

· Understanding the composition and quality of their soil.

· Planning based on the effect rain has on their fields.

· Having a GPS location certified for tax exemption purposes.

· Proving that there are no chemicals or pesticides in the soil and thus in the produce.

· Demonstrating the organic nature of certain products.

· When droughts occur, farmers who have data to prove the poor land composition can file effective claims with their insurance provider.

With many more possibilities also available, Ambrosus ultimately has the potential to transform not only entire supply chain industries but rather, entire smart cities. As data becomes more and more precious, having end-to-end security (from a hardware device all the way to the blockchain) around the data being used, becomes a valued necessity.

Most importantly, the best part of the Ambrosus solution is that it is decentralised: as there is no central node in the network, data cannot be held by a single central entity and used to invade the privacy of citizens or to manipulate consumer preferences. The fact that data will be scattered among thousands of Atlas nodes, and all private data will be stored on a number of Hermes nodes, means that all data will ultimately be visible to public scrutiny: no private companies will possess the capability of ‘weaponizing’ data, or increasing surveillance on citizens.

Within the next 5 to 10 years, smart cities, and other forms of smart management will ultimately become commonplace in the day to day lives of millions of people. Ambrosus can provide an integrated solution to the data needs of such people while also making sure that the same data is used strictly for the purpose that it is intended to be used for. At the end of the day, the consumer-centric model that Ambrosus has created, is revolutionary in the benefits and security it provides to consumers: not only does the consumer possess significant amounts of trustworthy data at their fingertips, but all such data is also secured, protected, and decentralised so as to be used ethically, and for its intended purpose.

Future Growth:

Altogether, in the future, the need for a public, decentralised, and secure data management solution will become a necessity for supply chains, cities, and farms alike. Ambrosus aspires to reach such heights based on the current growth of its ecosystem, as well as its expertise in IoT solutions.

Ultimately, the power of the Ambrosus ecosystem lies in the fact that AMB-NET is easily compatible with an indefinite number of data management solutions: whether a government, company, or individual wishes to track and trace water, chemicals, or rainfall, Ambrosus can digitally accommodate such problems in a cost-effective and efficient manner. As demand for such solutions increases into the future, Ambrosus will stand ready to deliver the most secure smart management solution currently in existence.

Enabling the Smart City Revolution was originally published in Ambrosus on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original article was created by: Angel Versetti at blog.ambrosus.com

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency or ICO.

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