Categories
People Technology

On privacy and contact tracing

Contact tracing, the process by which health authorities can identify those at risk of infection by virtue of proximity to a known case of a virus, has long been a pillar of pandemic response. With radio-enabled mobile devices now globally ubiquitous, it comes as little surprise to see that they are playing a role in the evolution of contact tracing methods.

Contact tracing is only as effective as its scale. The ability to evaluate only small proportions of an at-risk population will ultimately undermine any contact tracing system, manual or digital. As early attempts to develop contact tracing apps launched around the globe, technical limitations, privacy concerns and poor assumptions about adoption rates undermined almost all efforts. Into this mess stepped Apple and Google, together responsible for the software, and to a lesser extent hardware, which power the majority of our mobile devices.

Categories
Cities Technology

The urban impact of 5G

The next generation of mobile broadband data network is being discussed in almost every context you can imagine, from technology to healthcare to sociology to urbanism. 5G is coming. But what is it, what does it enable, and how is it relevant to the citizens of urban places? And therefore, what does it mean to those designing and moulding the cities in which we live?

5G will replace or augment your existing 4G connection, providing exponentially greater bandwidth alongside massively reduced latency – the time it takes for data to get from A to B.

5G operates across a broad range of frequency spectrums. Lower frequency ranges (below 6GHz) provide a more reliable signal but are limited in their bandwidth. These ranges are nearing saturation in many cases from overloading of existing 4G networks. 5G also leverages higher frequency spectrums, which provide massively increased data rates and much lower latency, but which are quite limited in their ability to penetrate buildings, and the coverage area for a single antenna is limited, thus necessitating much larger numbers of antennae to achieve uniform and reliable coverage.

Categories
Cities Technology

Big Data in Urban Morphology

In this paper Geoff Boeing examines ways in which the Smart Cities paradigm can leverage publicly sourced datasets to enhance traditional forms of urban form analysis and visualisation to further our understanding of urban morphology.

Categories
Sustainability

The other side of sustainable energy governance

A stark reminder this week that there are two sides to the renewable energy revolution: supply and demand. Whilst we in Denmark can be proud of our record on the supply side of this equation, the recent increase in interest from big tech in locations with good renewable credentials does suggest that governments may be called upon to impose some control on the demand side also.

The problem is that Denmark’s green energy has its limits. There is no way that existing renewables facilities could hope to meet the prospective demand from data centers.

https://www.citylab.com/environment/2018/06/denmarks-carbon-footprint-is-set-to-rise-sharply/563486/