Search Results for: smart cities

Coworking and a new golden era for the workplace and the people who inhabit it

Coworking and a new golden era for the workplace and the people who inhabit it

coworking officeThe idea of coworking is starting to resonate with a growing number of businesses and for a growing number of reasons. People new to the concept, or those who are aware primarily of its roots, may discover or retain a notion that it is a way for start-ups and freelancers to share space as a way of keeping down costs or networking with similar organisations. There is still a great deal of truth in this, given that the initial growth of coworking was based almost exclusively on the need for small tech and creative organisations to occupy space near to their larger clients, in precisely those urban enclaves that demand eye-watering rents and conventional leases.

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City of Cambridge to digitally clone itself in bid to tackle congestion and pollution

City of Cambridge to digitally clone itself in bid to tackle congestion and pollution

Smart Cambridge and researchers from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) at Cambridge University have announced plans to create a digital clone of the city to explore how congestion and commuting times can be reduced and air quality improved. Researchers at the University of Cambridge-based CSIC and officers from Cambridgeshire County Council’s transport, sustainability and planning departments are examining how digital technology and data can be used to support decisions and make improvements.

The study will focus on the creation of a digital twin prototype, combining traditional urban modelling techniques, new data sources and data analytics. The prototype will include the recent trends of journeys to work in Cambridge, including how people of different ages and employment status travel to work and how different factors affect their travel. It will also explore future possible journeys to work based on transport investment, housing developments and how flexible working and new technology may impact commuting. A web-based modelling platform will also visualise future development options and give people an opportunity for feedback.

“Digital twins have the potential to help cities develop more holistic policies which will assist in addressing some of the very real challenges urban areas face such as congestion, pollution and the need to become more sustainable,” said Dan Clarke, strategy and partnerships manager for Smart Cambridge.

CSIC led a workshop with council officers in December which helped them to understand local requirements and how they can deliver a digital twin prototype which responds to imminent city challenges and supports the policy goals of improving air quality and reducing congestion.

“We are now working on the prototype and will deliver an initial version in eight weeks,”said CSIC research associate Dr Timea Nochta. “We will continue to develop it alongside the council so that it can be used to its full potential and so that officers feel confident in asking the right questions for technology to answer.”

Claire Ruskin, executive board member for the Greater Cambridge Partnership, and CEO of Cambridge Network, said: “We have worked together to collect and understand information before, and Smart Cambridge is delighted to be working with university teams again. We can begin developing next-generation tools for supporting plans and policies to give people alternatives to their cars to help improve journeys, reduce congestion and improve air quality in Greater Cambridge.”

The project has been funded by the Ove Arup Foundation and the Centre for Digital Built Britain. The work of Smart Cambridge is supported by the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, with investment from the Greater Cambridge Partnership. CSIC is an Innovation and Knowledge Centre funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Innovate UK and industry.

Image: Andrew Dunn

Seven reasons why this will not be the office of the future

Seven reasons why this will not be the office of the future

At this time of year, it seems like we don’t have to wait more than a few hours before some or other organisation is sharing its prognosis about how we will be working in the future. The thing these reports usually share in common, other than a standardised variant of a title and a common lexicon of agility, engagement and connectivity, is a narrow focus based on their key assumptions about what the office of the future will be like. While these are rarely false per se, and often offer valuable insights, they also frequently exhibit a desire to look at only one part of the great workplace elephant. While the more informed reports make excellent points and identify trends,  across most there are routine flaws in thinking that can lead them to make narrow and sometimes incorrect assumptions and so draw similarly flawed conclusions. Talk of the office of the future tells us rather a lot about how we view offices right now.

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Facebook is the new smoking, orgasms at work, a ghost airport and some other stuff

Facebook is the new smoking, orgasms at work, a ghost airport and some other stuff

A slow news week here in the UK so the opportunity presents itself for quiet consideration of some important issues about the workplace. The big story has been the change of identity for the British Institute of Facilities Management, unveiled after weeks of debate and speculation. We’ll be running some commentary on what this all might mean in the next few days but for now, suffice it so say that any parallels with Brexit are entirely coincidental.

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An intersectional approach to trends in workplace design at Orgatec 2018

An intersectional approach to trends in workplace design at Orgatec 2018

There are perhaps three characteristics that ensure the European office furniture and workplace design fair Orgatec continues to attract so many exhibitors and visitors to Cologne. Firstly, it takes place every two years, so offers a snapshot of a sector, framing the most important workplace developments in a particular time and place. For those of us who’ve been attending the shows for any length of time (in my case 26 years), we can track the evolution of workplace thought in a measured way, noting key developments like the launch of the Aeron chair (1994), Vitra’s Alcove (2006) and in 2018 – what?

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Prague best city in the world for remote working, but Johannesburg has cheapest coffee

Prague best city in the world for remote working, but Johannesburg has cheapest coffee

New research has revealed the top 15 cities worldwide that are best for remote working and Prague is on top, with London ranked as the 5th best city in the world for remote workers. Inspired by the top 15 cities listed in InterNation’s Expat City Ranking Report, Powwownow analysed the cost of living, average monthly salary, internet speed, price of coffee, and cost of public transport in different places across the world. Cities were individually scored on each factor and ranked by the total number of points, to calculate the top 15 cities around the world. Calculating an overall ranking for each city, Prague was revealed to be the best city worldwide for remote workers. More →

Government launches challenge to shape future transportation strategies

Government launches challenge to shape future transportation strategies

The UK government has begun work on its Future of Mobility Grand Challenge. First announced in May, the government believes the initiative has the potential to make the UK a world leader in strategies for moving people and goods. The announcement includes two calls for evidence, the first focused on improving first mile/last mile transportation connections, with a focus on electric vehicles and microtransit. The second addresses the more general issue of new technology and trends for urban transport. The government also claims the move will address changes in working cultures including lower levels of commuting and flexible working.

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Why a Google office simply does not work for everybody

Why a Google office simply does not work for everybody 0

The open plan office versus closed debate rages on, and rather than running out of steam in the face of all of the evidence and reasoned argument put forward one one side or the other by many industry thought-leaders, it seems to have nine lives. Those grand and ground-breaking  new offices occupied by the world’s tech giants seem to be particularly popular examples of why highly open and transparent workplaces do, or don’t work, especially those headline-grabbing offices created around the world by Google. This public debate has led to some very interesting and insightful discussions in various forums (to which I have contributed), inspiring me to synthesise the key themes into four reasons why a Google office is not necessarily the right type of office for your organisation. Many thanks in particular are due to David Rostie and Kay Sargent for their valuable online contributions to the debates which inspired this article.

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Government announces details of new real estate agency

Government announces details of new real estate agency

The UK government has announced the creation of the Government Property Agency (GPA) which will aim to ‘improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Government Estate and generate benefits of between £1.4 billion and £2.4 billion over the next ten years’. GPA’s initial portfolio of 80 properties will grow to over 1,000 as it takes on increasing responsibility for managing the general purpose central government real estate portfolio. This is intended to manage the government’s property portfolio strategically in order to realise the benefits that departments cannot achieve on their own. The GPA will partner with government departments to find innovative property solutions, and provide expertise to enable them to deliver wider business change more efficiently. More broadly, the GPA will also be an enabler for the delivery of Civil Service transformation, regional growth and the government’s vision to strengthen the Union.

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Full fibre broadband could deliver £120bn boost to UK economy

Full fibre broadband could deliver £120bn boost to UK economy

A new study conducted by economic consultancy Regeneris, and commissioned by Cityfibre, claims that the total economic impact of deploying full fibre ultrafast broadband networks across 100 UK city and towns, could reach £120bn over a 15 year period. The study examined ten areas of the UK economy likely to benefit from full fibre roll-outs. It also sought to quantify the impact of each of these areas in 100 distinct UK town and city economies over a 15-year period. According to the researchers, the UK’s business community – and most particularly its small and medium sized companies – could stand to benefit enormously. Access to full fibre could unlock £4.5bn in business productivity, innovation and access to new markets in these locations; a further £2.3bn in growth could be driven from catalysing new business start-ups; while the increased ability for companies to support flexible working could add £1.9bn.

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Seven workplace related stories that have inspired us this week

Seven workplace related stories that have inspired us this week

There is no such thing as a smart city

The radical idea of a world without jobs

The next stop in AI is augmenting humans

New technology to reduce the amount of sleep we need

Strengths based cultures and the future of work

Like coffee, great ideas take time to percolate (registration)

The myth of Apple’s great design

BSRIA launches urbanisation megatrends report

BSRIA launches urbanisation megatrends report

The Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) has launched a new report called Megatrends – Urbanisation (registration needed) which claims to look at the major forces that are shaping the ‘world in which we live and do business’. The report cites as inspiration a 2015 McKinsey report called No Ordinary Disruption, which examined ‘The Four Global Forces Breaking all the Trends’. The four key trends which McKinsey pointed to as already impacting on almost every society, or will do soon, are urbanisation, an ageing population, globalisation and the technological revolution.  Since 1950 there has been a massive global movement towards urbanisation. In 1950 fewer than 30 per cent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. By 2010 this had reached 50 per cent and by 2050 the share is forecast to exceed two thirds of the world’s population. This represents one of the biggest and fastest human movements in history and the report sets out to explore its implications.

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