Top Smart City Projects to Watch in 2017

Huge strides have been made in aspects of city life ranging from lighting to garbage collection. Take a look at the tech and biggest players in the smart cityscape.

· IoT Zone


Smart city” became another buzzword in recent times, but we are going to be hearing a lot more in the coming years. By 2020, we will be spending $400 billion a year building smart cities.

Let’s start with the smart city landscape to see the trend and then look at the absolutely amazing smart city projects that may change our life, make it better! I think we’ve really reached the point where most everyone cares about the planet and where most everyone is conscious about the environmental and social problems we have. I really hope that this article will inspire others to do something for the planet, for the cities, and citizens, and at the same time earn money! I will also give you a list of big players and key startups that work on smart city projects the most.

Smart City Landscape

Smart cities are no longer the wave of the future. They are here now and growing quickly as the Internet of Things expands and impacts municipal services around the globe.

The smart city industry is projected to be a $400 billion market by 2020, with 600 cities worldwide. These cities are expected to generate 60% of the world’s GDP by 2025, according to McKinsey research. By 2050, about 86 percent of people in developed countries and 64 percent of people in developing countries are expected to live in cities. This is a huge change and in a very short period of time! Now it is crucial to use resources more efficiently and come up with new ways of how to live smarter.

Smart cities currently have a very strong positive image around the world. Even in the third world countries, where they have other problems and lack of support, people are willing to contribute to do something good for the planet. They just need tools and resources for it. Globally, regardless of the country, smart cities are buzzing.

Cities all around the world work with big data specialistsdevelopersstrategic thinkers, and innovators to make city living better, whether it’s improving the timing of traffic lights or creating a useful app, which becomes more powerful as smartphone penetration continues to increase. Cities worldwide can become smarter by using technology to make public transport more efficient, sustainable, and effective at meeting the mobility needs of their residents. Apps and other smart technology can help governments save money and, be more efficient.

Large companies such as Cisco and IBM are working with universities and civic planning authorities to develop data-driven systems for transport, waste management, law enforcement, and energy use to make them more efficient and improve the lives of citizens.

Smart city projects can definitely help municipal governments operate more efficiently and improve quality of life for residents. Public safety and public services are key elements of a smart city, and if you attend a smart city event, you will be impressed by what has been already done and what projects are in the development stage now.

Here are some of the inspiring smart city projects that are used in smart cities around the world and that will be vital in 2017.

List of Top Startups and Technologies Every Smart City Should Have

Schneider Electric, Siemens, Microsoft, Hitachi, Huawei, Ericsson, Toshiba, Oracle and many other big companies work on smart city projects. But let’s take a look at promising startups that revolutionize the way we live, making this world better place to live.

Waste Management

Let’s start with companies that work on waste management as nowadays every city has this issue on their priority list.

Bigbelly is a smart waste and recycling system that has been implemented in main cities of the US and in more than 50 countries around the globe. Bigbelly provides a solar-powered compacting waste bin that allows for up to five times the amount of waste as a traditional bin. What is also good about it, and I would say the best and the most demanded feature of it, is that it alerts the appropriate city department when it needs to be emptied. This means that the number of trash bins in a city can be reduced by 70-80%, which makes the streets more aesthetically appealing. Also, it reduces traffic jams and ensures that the cars take full rubbish bins instead of coming twice for half-full bins.

Another interesting company that also works on waste management is Zerocycle, which collects and analyzes garbage and recycling data to determine recycling rates for each neighborhood in a city. The company shares those insights in customized Neighborhood Waste Reports, which are sent to every household in the service area. Personally, I think this is a great initiative because it motivates others to pay more attention to recycling.


ShotSpotter is a company that works on reducing the crime rate in the cities. Gunfire is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous aspects of urban life. When a gunshot is heard, it’s not always reported because people get scared or are not sure if this is a gunshot or something else. But sound sensors, whether standalone, from a company such as ShotSpotter, or added to a smart streetlight, can detect gunshots and automatically report it to a police department without depending on citizen involvement. The software can also determine how many shots were fired, and how many shooters are present, which can really help police officers who respond to the call.

Digital Kiosks 

Now we live in a world where almost everything can be controlled by phone and we don’t want to waste our time standing in a queue to get tourism information. We can just use our phones and Google it or find some info on Tripadvisor, Foursquare, etc. But sometimes, we have problems with the battery or we don’t want to spend too much time on a research or sometimes we just have unexpected trips and digital kiosks on the streets with information about the city are always a good idea.
Digital kiosks give information about restaurants, retail stores, and events in the immediate area. It also provides mapping for visitors, and can sync with a mobile phone to give additional data as needed. For example, Citymapper pulls in public transport information and provides multi-modal transport options to get users to their chosen destinations. It really saves time and makes it easy for travelers to find information without actually reading many articles and visiting many sites.

Smart Streetlights

LED streetlights have numerous benefits. One of the main benefits is reduced crime, because the lights automatically brighten when there are multiple people in the area, and dim when no one is around. ROI and savings is another important point, with the LED lights just in few years you get ROI and then notice monthly savings on street lighting. Just to give you an example, In Los Angeles, the city saves nearly $9 million annually on utility costs as a result of its decision to spend $57 million to convert nearly 80% of its 215,000 old sodium-vapor streetlights to LED versions.
There are other benefits of LED streetlights, for example Danish company DOLL – new platform for developing future LED-lighting solutions aims to create energy efficiency and intelligent indoor and outdoor lighting solutions and to generate jobs.

DOLL supports municipalities, regions, and private companies, in cooperation with scientists, with the development of new and improved lighting solutions. It is a promising technology that leads to cost reductions; focusing on quality, the end-user, and energy efficiency.

Parking Sensors

If you live in a city, you probably experience problems with parking. Now, a lot of companies actually work on solutions that would simplify our process of parking a car. Nowadays, mobile apps became very popular in this question. They tell you when a parking spot is available, using parking sensors.
European cities were early adopters of this technology. For example, in Paris, France, the average resident spends four years of their life looking for a parking spot, according to Cisco. With widespread use of parking sensors, traffic in Paris has dropped dramatically.

This technology really simplifies our lives by indicating the nearest available parking spot. It saves time, gas, emissions, and money while also easing the flow of traffic and overall satisfaction of living in a city where it is actually convenient to live.

If we talk about companies that work on these solutions, the first company that comes to my mind is ParkWhiz, which aims to help anyone find a parking spot from a web browser or mobile phone. Public and private parking garages list available spaces and pricing on ParkWhiz. This app also allows people to instantly reserve a spot with a credit card. Very convenient!

Open Data Initiatives 

Every city should support open data initiatives and hackathons. In New York City, they organize BigApps competition, which produces useful and resource-saving apps to improve cities and keep citizens informed. Things like air quality, restaurant sanitation scores, building inspection scores and impending legislation should be readily available for all citizens.

Air Quality Sensor

Unfortunately now living in a city has some side effects like for example problems with health, etc. Living in a city means having a lot of stress and rarely breath fresh air. TZOA uses internal sensors to measure your air quality, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient light, and UV – all in one wearable device. In other words, TZOA is a wearable enviro-tracker that helps you stay healthy and explore your environment. It takes data from your environment in real-time and turns it into actionable recommendations to keep you healthy. Having data and a smartphone app, you can know if you need to open a window in your home, take a bike and choose a different route to work, or get more or less sun. These recommendations help to change behaviors and improve your quality of life.

Climate Monitoring

EverImpact discovers the origins of greenhouse gas emissions in your city. It is the climate monitoring app for cities, which measures and monetizes Cities’ CO2 emission by combining Satellites and Ground Sensors’ data. Cities get a real-time map of their emissions at street and building level. It really helps to control the environmental situation in the cities.

Social Impact 

A success story of digital services developed from open data in Helsinki is the mobile GPS app BlindSquare that helps the blind and visually impaired people navigate through the city by describing the environment, announcing points of interest and street intersections to users, and telling them where to go.

The Top 10 Smart Cities On The Planet 2017

Crunching a list of variables about innovation and sustainability, we rank the world’s smartest cities, from New York to Hong Kong (and with an unexpected winner)

Smart City

Last year, I spent considerable time researching best practices for climate resilient cities–an endeavor that culminated in what I believe was the first ever global ranking of resilient cities. Now, after extensive research on smart cities initiatives around the globe, I have developed what may be the first ever global rankings of smart cities.

The term “smart cities” is a bit ambiguous. Some people choose a narrow definition–i.e. cities that use information and communication technologies to deliver services to their citizens. I prefer a broader definition: Smart cities use information and communication technologies (ICT) to be more intelligent and efficient in the use of resources, resulting in cost and energy savings, improved service delivery and quality of life, and reduced environmental footprint–all supporting innovation and the low-carbon economy.

Here, then, are the top 10 smart cities:

1.) Vienna. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, as going into the research I had not heard much about Vienna as a smart city. But Vienna was the only city that ranked in the top 10 in every category: innovation city (5), regional green city (4), quality of life (1) and digital governance (8). Vienna is establishing bold smart-city targets and tracking their progress to reach them, with programs like the Smart Energy Vision 2050, Roadmap 2020, and Action Plan 2012-2015. Vienna’s planners are incorporating stakeholder consultation processes into building and executing carbon reduction, transportation and land-use planning changes in the hopes of making the city a major European player in smart city technologies.

2.) Toronto. The highest rated smart city in North America, Toronto also scores pretty well across the board. Recognizing its importance in the movement, IBM recently opened a Business Analytics Solutions Center in Toronto. Toronto is also an active member of the Clinton 40 (C40) megacities, which seek to transition to the low-carbon economy. The private sector in Toronto is collaborating too, creating a Smart Commute Toronto initiative in the hopes of increasing transit efficiency in the metro area. Toronto also recently began using natural gas from landfills to power the city’s garbage trucks. That’s smart closed-loop thinking.

3.) Paris. As is typical of sustainability-related rankings, Europe fared well. Paris was highly rated in several categories including innovation (3), green cities in Europe (10), and digital governance (11). Paris was already on the world map for its highly successful bike sharing program, Velib, and just last month, the mayor launched a similar model for small EVs called Autolib, which currently has 250 rental stations.

4.) New York. New York scored higher than most other cities in the ranking in all of the categories outside of quality of life, where it ranked a miserable 47th. New York partnered with IBM in 2009 to launch the IBM Business Analytics Solution Center to address “the growing demand for the complex capabilities needed to build smarter cities and help clients optimize all manner of business processes and business decisions.” In New York, IBM is already helping the city prevent fires and protect first responders as well as identify questionable tax refund claims–a move that is expected to save the city about $100 million over a five-year period.

5.) London. The UK capital also scored relatively high across the board. London has been well-recognized for some of its sustainability innovations (i.e. congestion tax) and its robust transit system. The city will soon be home to Smart Cities research center housed at Imperial College, which will leverage transport, government, business, academic and consumer data in hopes of making the city more efficient and innovative. Just the other day, London announced a partnership with O2 to launch the largest free Wi-Fi network in Europe.

6.) Tokyo. Tokyo is the first Asian city on this list, scoring well in the innovation (22) and digital city (15) categories. Last year, the city announced plans to create a smart town in the suburbs. In partnership with Panasonic, Accenture, and Tokyo Gas (among others), the eco-burb will contain homes that integrate solar panels, storage batteries, and energy efficient appliances all connected to a smart grid. Tokyo is also focused on promoting smart mobility solutions.

7.) Berlin. Berlin also performs well across the board, with good scores in innovation (14), green-ness (8th in Europe) and quality of life (17). In collaboration with Vattenfall, BMW, and others, Berlin is testing out vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies in the hopes of creating a virtual power plant from electric vehicles.

8.) Copenhagen. Lately, it seems Copenhagen has been doing a lot right. It was rated number one on the green scale in Europe by Siemens and also achieved number one ranking in my global resilient cities ranking last year. All with good reason: Copenhagen is taking a real leadership role on sustainable innovation. The city has committed to carbon neutrality by 2025 and 40% of its citizens regularly commute via bicycle. Furthermore, I was quite impressed with the way their mayor, Frank Jensen, recently articulated the role of cities as growth engines and the potential to stimulate the economy through cleantech innovation.

9.) Hong Kong. Hong Kong scored quite well in key areas, including the digital governance ranking (3). However, its quality-of-life score (70) dropped the city down to ninth in my ranking of smart cities. Hong Kong is experimenting with RFID technology in its airport, as well as throughout the agriculture supply chain. The city has also been a leader in the use and adoption of smart cards, which are already used by millions of residents for services like public transit, library access, building access, shopping, and car parks.

10.) Barcelona. Barcelona was recently ranked the number two smart city in Spain in the IDC report, and with good reason. The city is a pioneer in smart city and low-carbon solutions. It was among the first in the world to introduce a solar thermal ordinance about a decade ago, recently launched the LIVE EV project to promote the adoption of EVs and charging infrastructure, and the city also recently announced a major partnership to develop a living lab for smart-city innovation.

There were many other strong candidates which are runners-up in this first ranking, including Amsterdam, Melbourne, Seattle, São Paulo, Stockholm, and Vancouver.

Pundits and industry insiders expect smart cities to become a sizable market, with projections of nearly $40 billion spent on smart-cities technologies by 2016. And real estate experts predict that smart cities will in the future be attractive to the educated work force and will therefore become real-estate gold. All reasons enough to get on the smart-city bandwagon. Who knows? Maybe next year your city could crack the top 10 rankings.


Boyd Cohen, Ph.D., an urban strategist helping to lead communities, cities and companies on the journey towards the smart, innovative and low carbon economy. Dr.


Best & Grow New Big Project GIIPE, the Golden Integrated Industrial Port Estate, Indonesia

Ishak Charlie New Big Project

At the outset, we thank you for taking your time out to read about us.

Who are we

Golden Integrated Industrial Port Estate is an industrial development group actively involved in the infrastructure development of Indonesia. We have completed multiple projects across North Sumatra, especially Medan and boast of a strong clientele. No industrial group knows Medan, the capital of Sumatra, Indonesia better than us. We have worked in Medan for years and are proud to be associated with the development of the city. We are humble to have prestigious projects in our portfolio – JQ Marriott, Medan, Centre Point, Medan shopping mall and innumerable housing/townhouses.

Our Latest Project

Our latest project involves bringing in a whole new dimension to Medan, the capital of Sumatra, Indonesia. We are going to change how Medan looks, bringing it at par with any tier I city across the globe. From hotels to jogging tracks, we will bring in world’s best facilities to Medan, because we believe the city has immense potential to grow as one of the most strategic cities in South East Asia in the coming years.

Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia located right on the coast of the Strait of Malacca. The Strait of Malacca has a historical record of being an important trade route for countries located in South East Asia and the Australia – New Zealand archipelago. Needless to say, Medan is an important trade town and contributes significantly to the economic development of Indonesia and the neighbouring country of Malaysia.

Our project involves developing 3000 ha of land in two phases – 2000 ha in phase I and 1000 had in phase II. The land is strategically located with quick access to seaport and airport. The Kualanamu International Airport is located at a distance of 3.5 km, Belawan Seaport is only 9.5 Km away and the Medan post office is located the only 16Km from the land.

We propose to build the following facilities on the 2000 ha land that we are developing currently:

  • An Industrial Estate on 400 ha area which will contribute significantly to the industrial development of Indonesia.
  • A Power Plant covering 200 ha area which will meet the power requirements of the industrial estate and will export power to rest of Indonesia.
  • A 200 ha Seaport, which is expected to increase the sea traffic of Medan significantly.
  • 200 ha of the fully equipped Residential Area with gardens, jogging tracks, hotels and other beautiful landscaping contributing to a mini residential township.
  • A 100 ha one of its kind Golf Course
  • 900 ha of Reserved Area

We plan to make this industrial development of Medan, not just one of its kind in Indonesia, but a rarity in the world. We plan to create history for Medan.

Come, be a part of it

We invite you to be a part of this development too. We can collaborate together by bringing in our best resources to ensure that the project is a grand success. By such collaboration, both of our organizations will gain experience, knowledge and the satisfaction of making Medan a world class city. We can collaborate as a strategic partner or a financial partner for this.

Strategic Partnership: By being a strategic partner, we can share our resources and expertise in different aspects of our project to ensure smooth execution of the project. Any strategic input, which can benefit the project in any way is welcome.

Financial Partnership: Finance is at the centre of smooth execution of any project. Our project has a great opportunity of reaping financial benefits. We welcome you to associate with us through financial investment, and we assure that the returns will be great.

Come, be a part of this opportunity. Contact us today (provide contact information).

We would love to hear from you.

14 giant infrastructure projects that are reshaping the world

The world is full of inconceivably huge projects, happening right under our noses.

Take the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, which will link three major Chinese cities in the country’s quest to bring 42 million people together. Or there’s Google’s plan to make Internet available in every facet of city life as part of its highly secretive urban planning arm, Sidewalk Labs.

Those efforts and many others illustrate how investing billions of dollars in simple things like roads and Wifi access can make everyone’s lives better.

Here are some of the biggest projects the world has seen so far.

Scheduled for completion in September 2016, China’s Pingtang telescope will be the world’s second-largest radio telescope. Its dish measures 1,640 feet across.

After 17 years of construction, the Gotthard Base Tunnel opened in Switzerland on June 1, 2016. At 35 miles long, it’s both the longest and deepest train tunnel in the world, offering unprecedented efficiency when traveling through the Alps.

The newly expanded Panama Canal was unveiled to the public in early June, 102 years after it first opened. It took $5.4 billion and 40,000 workers to triple the capacity of the waterway.

In 2026, an Iraqi skyscraper known as “The Bride” will feature a “veil” of solar panels and produce as much energy as it consumes. It’ll be 3,779 feet tall and contain parks, offices, restaurants, and a rail system.

Completed in 2011, China’s Jiaozhou Bay Bridge is the world’s longest cross-sea bridge, stretching nearly 26 miles — almost the length of a marathon. It cut travel time in half for people going between east China and the island of Huangdao.

In 2015, the Itaipu Dam on the border of Brazil and Paraguay generated 89.5 Twh of energy, the most of any dam in the world. It supplies 75% of Paraguay’s total energy and nearly 20% of Brazil’s.

London’s Crossrail project — a massive upgrade to the existing Underground system — is the largest construction project ever undertaken in Europe. It involves 10 new train lines and connects 30 existing stations via brand-new tunnels. It will begin service in 2017, and be fully operational by 2020.

The Hyderabad Metro Rail is a 46-mile-long light rail system that will finally bring communication-based train control to India. It’s due to be completed in 2017.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project will link three cities in China’s Pearl River Delta — creating one mega-city of 42 million people — when it’s completed in 2017.

Dubai’s Mall of the World will be a colossal domed structure nine times bigger than the Mall of America. When it opens in 2029, it will be temperature-controlled, feature thousands of hotel rooms, and have its own transit line.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is developing plans to create “Smart Cities” — redeveloped areas with complete Internet access, renewable energy, and the latest in automated technology — throughout the US.

The Riyadh Metro, Saudi Arabia’s new $23.5 billion rail line will boast a station designed by Zaha Hadid. Its 109 miles of railway will revolutionize how residents of Riyadh get around. It’s set to begin operation by 2019.

Songdo, South Korea is a so-called “smart city” located on 1,500 acres of waterfront land. Completed in 2015, Songdo’s near-comprehensive Internet access gives its 67,000 residents a taste of future society.

The South–North Water Transfer Project is an ongoing Chinese effort to move nearly 45 billion cubic feet of water from the Yangtze River to the country’s less fertile northern regions. More than $79 billion has been spent on the migration so far.


5 of the biggest Internet of Things smart city projects from around the world

List: Spain, UAE, Singapore and Australia, across the world governments and companies are investing heavily in smart city research and projects.

As smart cities in the UK seem to be unknown to the large majority of Brits, other initiatives overseas are making the news.

Yet, the smart city opportunity is very much alive in the UK. For example, London alone may benefit from £8.9bn of total global spending for smart city technologies by 2020, according to the ‘Future of Smart’ report by Arup. But how are other cities doing around the world?

CBR lists five big smart city programs.

india smc

India – 100 cities

Amount: $15bn

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to transform the country’s cities is now set to add forty more cities for the second phase of the $15bn Smart City Mission project.

The cities are expected to be announced in June, following the first phase which includes Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bhopal and NDMC area of Delhi.

Overall, the project will target 100 cities across the country and aims to have made them smart by the end of this decade.

Cities will see general connectivity boosted, as well as e-government and citizen participation enhanced though IT systems, and an improvement of the overall urban mobility strategy and smarter public transports.

The US Ambassador to India, Richard R. Verma, also said that the US will continue to invest in India’s smart cities, especially on the infrastructure side. The country sees a market potential of $1.5tr in India’s smart cities.

dubai sc

UAE – Dubai

Amount: $8bn+

Dubai’s official government plans to smarten up the city are estimated to be worth $7bn to $8bn, yet, this value does not include all the private investments for mega projects such as, for example, the new city’s tallest tower (at over 828m) set for competition in 2020.

Under the Dubai Plan 2021, the smart city strategy includes over 100 initiatives and a plan to transform 1,000 government services into smart services, mostly based on data.

Dubai (together with neighboring city Abu Dhabi) is also deploying over 5,000 WiFi hotspots to offer free internet.

With the city in preparations to host the Expo 2020 through to 2021, Dubai is also investing heavily on smart transportation systems, by deploying traffic sensors, launching mobile traffic apps, and also looking at the introduction of driverless vehicles in the city’s ecosystem.

The Dubai Plan 2021 covers all other areas of a smart city, including healthcare, industrial, education, safety, telecoms, tourism and utilities, where 250,000 smart meters are set to be deployed by 2018.

In the safety arena, one of the city’s government plans is to introduce Google’s Glass technology to the police to create the world’s smartest police stations also by 2018.

The country is also taking urban landscape to an extreme with plans to build an artificial mountain, tall enough to make it rain more often in the desert nation. The project’s cost is still being estimated by the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.



Spain – Barcelona

Amount: $90m+

The Catalonian capital, Barcelona, is rapidly becoming a smart metropolis and a world tech capital.

The city has deployed sensors to measure different things, from noise control to air quality and waste management. Yet, the most widely used sensors network gives motorists real-time information on street parking using the mobile app ApparkB.

Streetlights are also another value asset. On top of LED technology, the more than 3,000 lights have the intelligence to active when motion is detected, as well as gather information about pollution, noise, humidity and the overall environment.

Recently, the city announced that half of the 1,500 WiFi spots planned for deployment have been installed and works will continue to bring free internet access across the whole city.

Barcelona is also rolling out more eGovernment services, contactless services, more city apps, smart bus stops and more.

Barcelona City Council and the Catalan Government have also announced that a total of 90m euros will be investment in the next mandate to boost investment related to economic growth, innovation and the public services of smart cities.



Australia – Whole country

Amount: $50m

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has unveiled the “Commonwealth’s Smart Cities Plan” for the country.

To deliver the Smart Cities Plan, the Australian Government will invite state and territory governments to partner on City Deals.

City Deals will provide common objectives across levels of government, support for key industry and employment centres, infrastructure investment linked to broader reform and changes to planning and governance arrangements to deliver enduring benefits.

The Government said the plan is not solely targeted at capital cities, but at every Australian cities. It has also called on all Australians to share their ideas on what their cities need digitally.

The project is being launched with an initial $50m budget to develop business cases and investment options for major infrastructure projects.



Amount: not disclosed

The Singaporean government, which started one of the largest smart cities roll outs in the world back in 2014, Smart Nation, has unveiled plans to cover the entire city-state with sensors and smart cameras to collect data across all verticals, including rubbish.

According to the WSJ, the government will put the data into an online platform (Virtual Singapore).

The data will be accessible to governmental bodies only and will give insights into everything, including public waters in an attempt to bring down any risk of diseases.

Singapore has never disclosed any amount invested in the Smart Nation program, yet, it is safe to say hundreds of millions of dollars must have been invested.

5 Construction Mega Projects to look out for in 2016

5 Construction Mega Projects to look out for in 2016

Construction mega projects, especially those related to infrastructure, play a crucial role in shaping the future of individuals, cities, and states. They have the potential to transform entire countries, and have done so; the Panama Canal, for instance, today is responsible for much of the country’s GDP. Another mega project which springs to mind is Dubai International Airport, which contributes around 25 per cent of both Dubai’s employment and GDP. These and many more mega projects have achieved their initial purposes, seen expansion and have inspired plans and construction of new mega projects. As 2015 draws to a close, we consider what will happen in the construction industry in 2016 and beyond.

Panama Canal Expansion

Since 1914 the Panama Canal has allowed ships to pass from the Atlantic through to the Pacific Ocean. In over 100 years of existence, this mega project continues to enjoy great success. However, increasing ship sizes and transport volumes, competition through the Northwest passage or Suez Canal, and significant water loss in the oceans at Lake Gatun have necessitated an expansion of the canal – even if it means cutting out more of Panama. Set to finish in 2016, the expansion project will make the existing canal wider and deeper. A 6.1km long channel will be carved out for new floodgates. The whole process is going to consume over 4.4 million cubic metres of concrete and cost more than US$5.25bn.

The Panama Canal Expansion Mega ProjectEnabling the passage of an increasing number of ships, the Panama Canal needs to be expanded

Gujarat International Finance Tec-City

To grow its financial industry and become a global financial hub, India commissioned the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) mega project. Upon completion it rival with Paris’ La Défense, Tokyo’s Shinjuku, and the London Docklands. As a construction model in India, GIFT will advance the idea of sustainability in the country. Following the construction of basic infrastructure and development of services, the third phase of constructing of the fully built city is scheduled to begin in 2016.
At a planned cost of US$20bn, the city will stretch over 5.8 square kilometres of real estate and residential space, including over 200 skyscrapers upwards of over 80m height. This mega project has dedicated some 35 per cent to green areas, and about 25 per cent to infrastructure like roads, parking, and grass strips.

Gujarat International Financial CityModel picture of an industrial city

Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project

This mega project creates a city-within-a-city idea in the west of New York. The project is the biggest real estate development in U.S. history and the largest in New York since the Rockefeller Centre. The site will stretch over more than 1.6 square kilometres, comprising and equal share of residential and commercial space, and open spaces. It is not just its vast size within the world’s most famous metropolis that makes this mega project so remarkable.
The real highlight lies in its concept. Built above one of the world’s busiest railway yards that will keep running uninterrupted, the mini-metropolis will float over the streets of Manhattan. The whole site will rest on a technically highly sophisticated network of steel beams, concrete, and tunnels. Finding the space for and building a structure that can carry the enormous weight of a city of high-rises and luxury spaces poses a huge challenge, one that is being tackled jointly by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. While the eastern platform is to be completed this year, the western platform will reach construction end in 2016. Construction on the upper levels will begin thereafter, set for completion in 2024. The total budgeted costs for this project add up to US$20bn.

The Hudson Yards Development Mega ProjectVision for the Hudson Yards Redevelopment mega project

Riyadh Metro

In 2014 construction giants Bechtel, FFC, Strukton, and many more, came together to start building the new infrastructure backbone of Saudi Arabia’s capital, after having been awarded contracts adding up to over US$23.5bn. As Riyadh’s population is expected to grow by 25 per cent until 2030, the new metro system is designed to cater to the demand of an ever growing population, reduce street congestion, and improve air quality. Over 176 kilometres of railway line, combined with 85 kilometres of bus rapid transit, make the Riyadh Metro the biggest mega project of its kind in the world. Many of its stations will be designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The technologies necessary to that end include heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning efficiencies, and installations that conserve energy and water. Additionally, the structures take advantage of Riyadh’s environment, generating electricity through photovoltaics.

The Riyadh Metro Mega ProjectDesign for one of the 85 stations of the new Riyadh Metro system

Khazar Islands

While most mega projects have the purpose of advancing society, or at least to cater to the needs of a growing world economy, Azerbaijan’s Khazar Islands has a different focus. The centre piece of these islands, the creatively named Azerbaijan tower, will be the world’s newest tallest building. Construction kicks off in 2016. The tower will rise over 41 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea, requiring the demolition of a mountain nearby. The islands are to feature at least eight hotels, an airport, a yacht club, and a Formula 1 racetrack. Estimated construction costs for the tower and the rest of the site are US$2bn and 100bn respectively.
Apart from the inherent environmental destruction, such a mega project would hardly raise any eyebrows if it were to be constructed elsewhere, like the United Arab Emirates. Locating such a mega project in a country like Azerbaijan, a nation at the lower end of the Human Development Index, can only be called lunacy. The project is the brainchild of project developer and billionaire Ibrahim Ibrahimov, and his ties to the corrupt and newly oil-rich government of the country.

The Khazar Islands Mega ProjectConcept of Azerbaijan’s Khazar Islands, reaching into the Caspian Sea

Outlook for the next year

With an anticipated growth of around 3 per cent in 2016, the global construction industry is continuing on upward trend. Therefore, staying up to date with the latest mega projects is happening is crucial for (aspiring) global players in the construction industry. To help you with lead generation, you can find more detailed information on each of the mega projects described above and many more, on the Building Radar platform.

Author: Laurenz Kalthoff

Panning for ‘right data’ gold in the Big Data torrent


Enterprises must learn to filter the Big Data torrent and present business users with a golden subset of actionable ‘right data’ writes Infor’s Kevin Price

Big Data Gold
Big Data Gold

We all know what ’Big Data’ means – data sets that are so large or complex, they can’t be managed with traditional data processing applications. Management of Big Data highlights issues around data capture, analysis, search, sharing, querying, curation, storage, transfer, visualization, updating, and privacy

We also all know the importance of Big Data. McKinsey predicted five years ago:

Big Data … will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity, growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.

McKinsey also noted the implications of Big Data would reach far beyond data managers – the specialists responsible for data care and management – to affect the most senior leaders in every business sector. This proliferation would be thanks to the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The prediction got it right. A Google search today of the phrase ’big data’ produces 2.1 billion results that run the gamut from news reports to product pitches.

With technological advances and greater affordability in alert management and monitoring, we can now collect every kind of available data before making decisions. Yet the challenge of making sense of Big Data in a timely fashion is still a hurdle. More does not necessarily equal better …

NPR reported recently that biomedical researchers can’t keep up with the information flow being generated by scores of megaprojects. The data is costing billions of dollars to collect, but the investment in analyzing the data is nearly nonexistent. ’Drinking from the firehose’ is a phrase you probably know all too well – the sheer volume of information now available can be overwhelming.

Moving from Big Data to right data

One way to get to the right data is to bring it to the surface – in time to make a difference. It’s the digital equivalent of panning for gold. Truly useful data nuggets are buried within the torrential stream of data you collect. Finding those nuggets quickly and making them accessible to the people who need to act on them is the goal of ’right data.’

Right data has been defined as ’the golden subset’ of information that is left after extraneous data, bias, noise, and spam have been eliminated. Right data shows whether completed projects have been successful as compared to their goals, determines if there is a need to course-correct on current initiatives, and uncovers new opportunities. In short, it guides business success. So how do we find this gold?

Consider the case of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. CERN oversees the world’s largest and most complex machine, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and its 1.8 million critical assets—buildings, tunnels, caverns, roads, car parks, electricity, water, cooling and ventilation, access control, machine tools, lifting equipment, its accelerator complex, supra-conducting magnets, cryogenics, controls equipment, electronics, and radiation monitoring. The amount of physics data stored daily is 100 terabytes.

CERN’s asset management software is the central hub for both technical and financial management of physical assets. It serves as the filter that enables critical decision-makers to get to the golden subset of data they need. CERN integrated its asset management system with more than 20 other systems, including document management, control room, radioactive tracing, manufacturing, ERP, SCADA, GIS, reporting, and IoT-networked equipment.

Making right data actionable

We have to go a step beyond even the right data, to the idea that data is only useful if people will use it. Yes, that seems obvious. But to belabor the point, once you’ve winnowed the Big Data down to the right data, it further has to be presented in a format that is digestible and actionable.

For example, I recently got an email from a friend who was promoting a worthy cause. I agreed with everything in the email and wanted to lend my support, but there was no immediate way to do that, short of forwarding the email to others, who would likely end up with my same dilemma: What’s an easy way for me to help? The key word here is ’easy.’ There was no form letter I could send to my state representatives, no crowd-fund link I could click, not even any social media sharing buttons. That simply won’t fly in today’s digital environment. If you want participation, you have to make it easy for people to participate.

The same is true in getting people to embrace new software. It has to have a simple interface, be easy and intuitive to use – something that helps us do our jobs faster or better instead of adding to our tasks. That is the promise of great software, and it is the expectation of customers – data made useful, and in a way that ‘data mining’ becomes ‘data visibility.’

A tall order? Yes. But today’s digital world requires nothing less if we are to find – and use – the hidden gold within our data.

Image credit – Gold panning with a sluice box in a river © hildeanna –