Hamburg is getting an upgrade. On April 30, 2014, Cisco and leaders of the City of Hamburg signed a Memorandum of Understanding that marked the beginning of a Smart City pilot program. This agreement follows the December 2013 Smart City Summit, where representatives of Hamburg’s public sector, research and educational institutions, and local and international companies came together to outline a Smart City framework.
The city of Hamburg, like many other cities, is facing challenges such as overcrowding, pollution, and resource constraints. To help address this, Cisco has partnered with AGT International to implement Hamburg’s first Smart City pilot project.
AGT International is a Switzerland-based company that uses the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics, and Cloud computing to connect cities in a seemingly futuristic way. Working toward the integration of all technologies, AGT pieces together a city’s existing systems and incorporates new technology and software solutions to make cities more efficient. For Hamburg, the planned pilot project includes Smart Traffic and Remote Services, a Smart Port, and HafenCity.
The Port of Hamburg will be converted into a smartPORT, where an intelligent parking space control system will manage traffic for cars and trucks. The smartPORT also helps to optimize energy consumption by using smart streetlights and analyzing emissions data. This data provides forecasts on noise, temperatures, humidity, and pollution. Additionally, HafenCity, Europe’s largest inner-city development project, will reduce traffic in Hamburg by offering alternative modes of transportation, including cars, electric cars, bicycles, and electric bicycles.
Cisco projects like Hamburg are driven by the idea that cities will have to compete more than ever before to attract investment, business and skilled labor to create employment opportunities and generate wealth. AGT’s Connected City solution, based on the UrbanShield Platform, uses IoT to create a central public safety system.
UrbanShield collects data from a constant stream of sources such as sensors (video and face recognition cameras), databases, and social media inputs. Then, UrbanShield’s advanced analytics process and convert all collected data into a constantly updating picture of the urban environment, called a Unified Situational Awareness Picture (USAP). In other words, video feed from any camera or sensor can be viewed from a single console, providing decision makers with a holistic view of the current situation across the entire city or in various sections. These analytics also identify behaviors, events, and patterns that are out of the ordinary, as defined by system users. This notifies operators of potential threats and incidents in real time and even guides them through pre-determined response procedures.
This advanced technology will help officials sort out relevant information among the wealth of data for more effective management. UrbanShield can be used for law enforcement, traffic management, environmental monitoring, transportation, citizen services, and healthcare management. But the advantages do not stop there. The technology provided by AGT is supported by a full suite of professional services, including training, support staff, and upgrades.
Cisco and AGT—having just concluded workshops and designated pilot programs at the end of May 2014—are now beginning their recruitment for additional partners for the project. Final selections on pilot projects began at the end of June 2014.
This article was originally published in the Diplomatic Courier's July/August 2014 print edition.
But it’s difficult to think about value when we have no buoy for understanding it outside our traditional lenses: for example, our time, our job, and what others tell us they are worth in cash. This, largely, is the world’s paradigm for value so far. But understanding what value really means changes everything—and will be at the center of the decentralized revolution in global coordination that will unfold over the next decade. So, where do we begin?
Let’s start with gold.
Gold is an inherent value. When backing a market, gold allows us to grow a balanced economy well into the trillions. But why does it allow for massive stable markets to form around it? It is gold's permanence that creates stability. We understand that gold will always have value, because it is inherent in all of us, not just in one part of the world, but everywhere, not just today, but tomorrow and for the long haul.
In the 1930s when the gold standard was removed, we learned that the U.S. dollar didn’t need gold to back its economy to flourish. We learned that it was just a symbol for U.S. citizens to decentralize their coordination around the United States economy.
It turns out, common agreement is a philosophy for building shared economy.
And so it seems inherent value is a marker for us to begin exploring what the future could look like—a future beyond gold and the existing realm of credit. And so what else has inherent value? Is education as valuable as gold? What about healthcare? What about a vote that can’t be tampered with? What about an ID that can’t be stolen or erased? What about access to nutrition or clean water? You will find value everywhere you look.
It turns out, we’ve already done the legwork necessary to uncover the most elemental inherent values: The Sustainable Development Goals are commitments grown out of the drive to bring to life basic tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—the closest possible social contract we have to a global, common agreement.
We’ve already agreed.
Our agreements are grounded in deep value centers that are globally shared, but undervalued and unfulfilled. The reason for this is our inability to quantify intangible value. All of these rich, inherent values are still nebulous and fragmented in implementation—largely existing as ideals and blueprints for deep, globally shared common agreement. That is, we all agree education, health, and equality have value, but we lack common units for understanding who and who is not contributing value—leaving us to fumble in our own, uncoordinated siloes as we chase the phantoms of impact. In essence, we lack common currencies for our common agreements.
Now we find ourselves at the nexus of the real paradigm of Blockchain, allowing us to fuse economics with inherent value by proving the participation of some great human effort, then quantifying the impact of that effort in unforgeable and decentralized ledgers. It allows us to build economic models for tomorrow, that create wholly new markets and economies for and around each of the richest of human endeavors.
In late 2017 at the height of the Bitcoin bubble, without individual coordination, planning, or the help of institutions, almost $1 trillion was infused into blockchain markets. This is remarkable, and the revolution has only just begun. When you realize that Blockchain is in a similar stage of development as the internet pre-AOL, you will see a glimpse of the global transformation to come.
Only twice in the information age have we had such a paradigm shift in global infrastructure reform—the computer and the internet. While the computer taught us how to store and process data, the Internet built off that ability and furthered the conversation by teaching us how to transfer that information. Blockchain takes another massive step forward—it builds off the internet, adding to the story of information storage and transfer—but, it teaches us a new, priceless and not yet understood skill: how to transfer value.
This third wave kicked off with a rough start—as happens with the birth of new technologies and their corresponding liberties. Blockchain has, thus far, been totally unregulated. Many, doubtless, have taken advantage. A young child, stretching their arms for the first couple times might knock over a cookie jar or two. Eventually, however, they learn to use their faculties—for evil or for good. As such, while it’s wise to be skeptical at this phase in blockchain’s evolution, it’s important not to be blind to its remarkable implications in a post-regulated world, so that we may wield its faculties like a surgeon’s scalpel—not for evil or snake-oil sales, but for the creation of more good, for the flourishing of commonwealth.
But what of the volatility in blockchain markets? People agree Bitcoin has value, but they don’t understand why they are in agreement, and so cryptomarkets fluctuate violently. Stable blockchain economies will require new symbolic gold standards that clearly articulate why someone would agree to support each market, to anchor common agreement with stability. The more globally shared these new value standards, the better.
Is education more valuable than gold? What about healthcare or nutrition or clean water?
We set out in 2018 to prove a hypothesis—we believe that if you back a cryptocurrency economy with a globally agreed upon inherent value like education, you can solve for volatility and stabilize a mature long lasting cryptomarket that awards everyone who adds value to that market in a decentralized way without the friction of individual partnerships.
What if education was a new gold standard?
And what if this new Learning Economy had protocols to award everyone who is helping to steward the growth of global education?
Education is a mountain. Everyone takes a different path to the top. Blockchain allows us to measure all of those unique learning pathways, online and in classrooms, into immutable blockchain Learning Ledgers.
By quantifying the true value of education, a whole economy can be built around it to pay students to learn, educators to create substantive courses, and stewards to help the Learning Economy grow. It was designed to provide a decentralized way for everyone adding value to global education to coordinate around the commonwealth without the friction of individual partnerships. Imagine the same for healthcare, nutrition, and our environment?
Imagine a world where we can pay refugees to learn languages as they find themselves in foreign lands, a world where we can pay those laid off by the tide of automation to retrain themselves for the new economy, a world where we can pay the next generation to prepare themselves for the unsolved problems of tomorrow.
Imagine new commonwealth economies that alleviate the global burdens of poverty, disease, hunger, inequality, ignorance, toxic water, and joblessness. Commonwealths that orbit inherent values, upheld by immutable blockchain protocols that reward anyone in the ecosystem stewarding the economy—whether that means feeding the hungry, providing aid for the global poor, delivering mosquito nets in malaria-ridden areas, or developing transformative technologies that can provide a Harvard-class education to anyone in the world willing to learn.
These worlds are not out of reach—we are only now opening our eyes to the horizons of blockchain, decentralized coordination, and new gold standards. Even though coordination is the last of the seventeen sustainable development goals, when solved, its tide will lift for the rest—a much-needed rocket fuel for global prosperity.
“Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair.” —George Washington