Sometimes we try things too early. We set ideas away in the hope that they get some traction only for them to sit on a virtual shelf for lack of interest. That does not mean that they were bad ideas, at least not always. To move our business forward we need to have good ideas and as the American scientist Linus Pauling reminds us, ‘The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.’
It is inevitable that some will fall upon stony ground and for some time I have thought that this was the case with the Smart City initiative, you know the kind of thing, where we use sensors to tell us things about what is going on. I have blogged about it before and how Durham is a city but a very small one in comparison to most. The population accounts for less than ten per cent of the people who live in the county. You can blink and miss it if you pass though on the train.
I was pleasantly surprised then by the meeting I had with Paul, the new CIO of Durham University. Paul and I have known each other for some time. Our paths have crossed over the years as each of us has occupied various roles. Again I have previously described how my relationship with the local university was starting to blossom and having Paul on board is a great addition.
We talked about public WiFi and our plans within the city and across the peninsula. We talked about the data this would create and how we could use this to provide better services and safer communities. We then talked about our mutual interest in extending this work into a Smart City initiative. My ears pricked up at this point. Yes, Durham may be small but is an ideal size for the delivery of workable pilots and projects.
We agreed to get a meeting together of the great and good including the ICT departments of the two great leviathans of the city, the County Council and the University. It is an idea waiting for the right opportunity.