By Ed Borden
"Do you buy this "Smart City ®" that is being peddled to you? Do you feel the magnificent effects of BigGov and BigCo overhauling urban infrastructure with "Smart City ®" connected traffic lights, energy meters, and surveillance systems? Does knowing where the "Smart City ®" subway is in real-time BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND??
Here's a newsflash: (Dramatic pause.......) Using computers and the internet increases efficiency! Of basically everything! Even cities!
Blistering cynicism aside, let's face it, BigGov missed the boat big-time on this one. Shouldn't they have delivered on the "Smart City ®" a long time ago? I mean, it's 2011. People are building their own flying drones out of cell phones and Arduinos. People are consolidating all the world's information onto Wikipedia. People are using Twitter to stage national revolts.
And BigGov is busy connecting garbage cans.
Just like the M2M dinosaurs are on the brink of extinction in the commercial world, BigGov has become irrelevant in the public sector, eclipsed by someone with a supercomputer in their pocket, open source hardware and software at their fingertips, and a global community of like-minded geniuses at their beck and call: YOU.
YOU are the Smart City.
While BigGov is bickering over what datasets it might want to release for the use of developers and entrepreneurs, people like Leif Percifield are climbing down into the sewers and getting data that BigGov doesn't have. A massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami causes one of the worst nuclear disasters in history to occur on his home soil, so Shigeru Kobayashi leads an effort to crowdsource radiation data that BigGov wasn't providing publicly. Jeff Starin has jumbo jets flying over his house at low altitude all day long, so he starts publishing ambient noise data that BigGov doesn't even want to see, let alone make available themselves...."