There has been a lot of hype in recent times about Smart Cities – Block Chain and Sustainable Cities. A lot of seminars and events costing hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars for people to attend in the hope that they will get further understanding of these areas.
GWP Media was pleased to be part of a consortium that brought to Parramatta a, half day presentation on 20th July.
Paul Garrard Smart Cities –Blockchain – The New Frontier ex Lord Mayor of Parramatta City Council, and recognised instigator of the initiative to make “Parramatta Australia’s next Smart City” back in 2009 opened the day with an overview of some of his thoughts and beliefs on how business and society as a whole has to embrace New technology to gain the maximum benefits in the future.
Paul shared with the attendees some of the achievements of PCC over the past few years in relation to Smart City Initiatives; ParraSync card development and eParra initiatives, installation of CCTV cameras to assist in reducing safety concerns in the LGA, WIFI and Smart Pole trials and last but by no means the least being that they were the first Council in Australia to appoint a Smart City Officer.
He strongly reinforced his opinion that governments at all levels along with private enterprise and the community at large must work collaboratively to achieve the best outcomes for all.
Paul closed his presentation with the following thought:
We should learn what we need to know to gain the greatest successes from a new frontier – forewarned is forearmed.
“I believe Blockchain and Smart City technology and initiatives may well be the new frontier of the Global Economy of today.”
George Mavros from ETSI Consulting doubled as MC as well as being one of the presenters for the day. In his presentation following Paul he shared some thoughts with the audience on business and the importance of mindset. In particular how one should approach listening to new and emerging concepts.
He did this by sharing some of his, as he refers to them, funny sayings.
The hands can only create what the mind can see George explained that if we are at a seminar or listening, or researching in general, to new concepts or ideas and we spend all our time in our mind challenging or debating the information we are receiving, then we run the risk of not being able to take in the key points and develop our strategy. He went on to say that “until we can imagine or see it, whatever it is for us, in our mind we can not possibly create the future reality.”
The example given was President John F Kennedy declaring “we choose to go to the moon this decade” in September 1962 and the landing happening in July 1969. It was once Kennedy focussed the nation on the vision that all the physical aspects required to realise the dream were put into lace.
A man’s got to know his limitations (Clint Eastwood – Dirty harry) – once you do the exciting thing is you then know your true potential – and that’s what you should focus on (George Mavros).
The example given was Dr Stephen Hawking did not allow the limitations of his motor neuron disease prevent him from realising his potential as a scientist. What he did was understand his limitations and then developed strategies and systems to minimise their impact on his success.
If you have the courage to fail you have the right to succeed
George put forward that, Dr Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Steven Bradbury and Dick Smith have all provided extraordinary examples of those who in their own way, have had the courage to fail at taking on what at the time, may have seemed an insurmountable challenge. For each of them in their own quest, because they had the courage to fail the gained the right and indeed history has shown they did succeed.
Mark Toohey from Adroit Lawyers was next to present after the morning tea networking session. His presentation was on Blockchain Technology and Blockchain Basics.
Mark quickly gained the attention of the audience when he started to share the rapid growth and advancements that have occurred in both the Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain segments.
Mark covered many topics of disruptive technology, with specific examples of certain areas such as Robot Receptionist development, Driverless cars, Digital cash and Smart Contracts.
One of the headlines he shared was “New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) has found that 46 per cent of current jobs are at "high risk" of disappearing in the next decade or two. Mark also covered topics regarding National Sovereignty and how this needs to be considered when the world gets excited about Blockchain and globalisation of business using technologies such as Blockchain and The Internet Of Things.
Whilst a lot of what Mark shared was very confronting for the audience, they were grateful for the explanation and greater understanding his presentation provided for them.
Mark concluded his presentation with examples of where this technology can and already is being of assistance to broad segments of society.
George Mavros delivered his second presentation titled as the day was Blockchain Smart Cities and You. George’s presentation carried through from what Mark had delivered but related the various aspects of these emerging developments to how they could and will impact on individual businesses and people.
One example he provided was the flow on effect of the anticipated reduction in accounting and auditing staff through the Blockchain and Smart contract technologies.
In a simplistic but realistic analysis of the possible reduction of staff in a major technology/business park – George provided a scenario where there could easily be a loss of trade to local coffee shop of over $250,000. He raised the question for the audience to consider if this was true for the local coffee establishment – what would be the impact when one considers the local Hairdresser, Dry Cleaner, shoe repairer – all of who depend on staffing levels when located near predominantly business commercial centres.
In another example he pointed out that one City council has already taken steps to develop strategies for replacing current income, as they have determined that the introduction of Driverless vehicles may reduce their revenue by some 10%.
He provided information on the advancement through the use of Blockchain technology that is and will be coming in the fight against Product counterfeiting. Through the extrapolating of one article regarding counterfeiting in Australia, he advised that Australia could well see the recovery of lost Tax revenues of $34M per annum.
Rob Field Director, UNE Parramatta – provided a case study on UNE as an indication of how the Uni had developed over the generations from a traditional Bricks and Mortar education provider based in Armidale, a country town 5 hours away from Sydney to a highly developed virtual campus provider of education that now sees 80% of its students complete their courses without the need to visit the main Campus.
The take away from the day was that the potential flow on effects of these and other emerging disruptive technologies, as in most cases of technology development, will deliver opportunities for those that win and those that lose.
All the speakers maintained the theme that the impact will be driven in large by people’s and organisation's approach – those that understand and adapt have a far brighter future than those that ignore.
The day was proudly hosted by BGES and supported by Event Partners - Adroit Lawyers, Pendragon, ETSI Consulting and GWP Media.