Smart Cities

Summary of the key highlights

8th  Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements

(30-31 October 2018, United Nations, Bangkok)

Blockchain as a technology has the potential to become one of the most pivotal routes to change for our societies.

The movement away from the centralised model of control which is the basis of almost everything we do, where we relying on a trusted centre.  Blockchain gives us the mechanism to de-centralise, to build organically, to create new structures of control and engagement.

This is a fundamental shift in how we structure ourselves in society.

With so much media attention on blockchain has focused mostly on the rise (and falls) of crypto currency valuations, it is easy to lose sight of the wider picture of the blockchain opportunity.

Add to that the uncoordinated nature of the non-centralised model, the slower approach that organics growth brings and the growing number of scams and mismanagement scandals and the result becomes a very fragmented environment.

We all intuitively know that an appropriate use of Blockchain technology does have real potential to make a change to how we operate cross-border and within societal groups, bypassing middle layers and removing the trusted centre, but we are yet to see mass adoption of real-world examples of this in practice.

And so, the really big questions are how far can Blockchain go?  How will it evolve?  What is required to create a step change in the way we live and operate?  What are the next steps?

My organisation, the Centre for Citizenship Enterprise and Governance, or “CCEG”, is a Think Tank that has had more than six years in the research and application of the movement of non-financial values, and over two years research and application of those research findings using blockchain technology.  We specialise in the tracking of the movement of emotional value, the things that give society well-being, contentment, happiness. That is those values that create engagement and good citizenship within communities.

CCEG Operations

This work is highly relevant to cities and human settlements.  As we understand, track and monitor the value sets of communities and individuals we become enabled to focused investment and channel our resources to materially to improve the well-being and contentment of citizens.

As we build the cities of the future, as we look to make significant change to those urban settlements that are not working, it is simply not enough to just create infrastructure and transportation links.  We need to create cities that inspire and generate high quality living, a healthy community and arguably, most importantly a content and happy society.

The blockchain technology can be used as a tool to engage the communities, to give people a voice and a vote. It can be used to delegate power and authority to empower community groups and organisations.  Through the use of Distributed autonomous organisations and/or foundations, blockchain can we used to develop the structures on which the cities operate and crucially the mechanisms for change and improvement.

Imagine a city where constant quality feedback from the millions of users of services and facilities are being utilised to adjust, refine and perfect city services for the benefit of the whole.  A city where the inhabitants are the owners, and the controllers of the core of the infrastructure, the architects of the future changes and the shapers of their own eco-system.  By their nature the citizens and not just engaged, they direct, drive and own the whole settlement.

These will be the cities of the future to which all others will aspire to replicate.

 

Transparency of Values in a Decentralised World

The Seratio Ecosystem is aided by AI to assess the complex analytical data available and to steer consumers, becoming their online friend and guide

Hyper-Reality by Keiichi Matsuda

Two important trends are making corporates re-think their strategies and relevance in our future economies.

Transparency

The hallmark of this decade has been the growth of transparency as an instrument to  openly display governance in our public offices, demonstrate corporate intentions, reflect the goodness within our products and even prove our own values to each other.

The public sharing of our actions and decisions is rapidly accelerating, particularly with the under 35’s. Social media and mobile apps  bring our lives under closer scrutiny, for many now on a daily basis. The things we like, where we socialise what we eat are all commonly shared on social media.  But what about the transparency of information to consumers?  Whilst price comparison sites and convenient middlemen layers have become commonplace, we remain sadly lacking in coherent, simple signposting for most of the goods and services we buy. To navigate our often intricate lives we readily embrace any kind of ‘Go-NoGo’ filters that allow decisions to be guided with least effort.

Arguably, consumer data, the value sets and preferences may become the most valued asset. As the trend for transparency continues, the analytics behind those choices and preference will shape the retail market push.  As important the trend of information to consumers will shape the markets, just as comparison sites have influenced and taken ownership of consumers in the insurance space, information and data providers of the provenance of goods have the same opportunity, to guide, advise and own the relationship with those consumers. Have goods been manufactured with slavery within their supply chain?  Are the suppliers and supply chain manufacturing those goods adding value to the world or detracting total value by stealing from their supply chain, or stealing from the environment?

The world is an increasingly complex place and consumers crave simplicity and convenience.  For this they are willing to sacrifice, security, privacy and price. At the same time, expectations of free services has never been greater.  The traditional model of “Make it Pay”  has been turned upside down by the media giants of the last two decades as they offer an app for our lives for free.

So it is somewhat surprising that the consumer “values” data space remains largely untapped. What is not just in our wallet but rather in our heads, our thoughts and our hearts remains opaque to retailers and suppliers as they seek greater levels of optimisation.

Decentralisation

The antidote to centralisation is perhaps an even greater challenge to a traditional corporate organisation to navigate. How to remain relevant as a central player and controller in the non-centralised world the new public seem to crave.  The traditional model of central controller is broken down in the de-centralised world of the blockchain. This gives rise to new models, new expectations and new philosophies.

The inside out model, fails completely when one tries to implement a blockchain solution with a focus on one key stakeholder. Distributed Ledger Technology ‘DLT’ was created for a peer to peer environment, deliberately to eliminate the need for a central controller. Whilst blockchain is hailed as the next revolution and an even bigger impact than the internet, the largely centralised corporate world is still struggling to create meaningful, viable, value added applications as the models strike at the very heart of its operations.

Solution

The Seratio Ecosystem has brought together a model which addresses these two key challenges.

The original start point for the ecosystem was born from academic research into the movement of non-financial value and the understanding of a total value model, taking into account social, environmental and governance measures to assess the impact of a person, project, organisation, city, region or country. As with any measurement system, once metrics were established, agreed, recognised and used, then focus and improvements may follow. The DLT of blockchain technology presented  an ideal opportunity to move from the measurement of non-financial value to the transaction of non-financial value.

Communities of people who share common values and share a trading economy have already formed their own currencies, outside of the traditional boundaries of government and regulation and without any central controllers; organic growth. Value sets are recognised, shared and transacted.  Community members prefer to seek out those with aligned values, those who share the currency and demonstrate their value sets. This has led to crypto-currencies imbued with values, carrying the attributes of the communities that created them making it more transparent both to those who prefer to operate within these large cohesive, vibrant and transactable communities as well as those who wish to supply and target them with loyalty and rewards programmes.

Recognising the value sets or ‘provenance’ of individuals the Seratio Ecosystem also builds in the provenance of goods and services. The complex system is filtered down to a simple score to direct and guide buyers. In essence, to enable them to buy the things they value, which may be pro a particular value set, for example women or students whilst being steered away from those goods and services which fall outside of their individual values, for example anti-slavery or environmental.

The Seratio Ecosystem is aided by AI to assess the complex analytical data available and to steer consumers,  becoming their online friend and guide.  By directing purchases in the online space and on the high street value aligned purchases can be easily delivered, with no effort on the part of the consumer.

The use of blockchain and cryptocurrency record and give transparency to the value choices. In the same way that social media has a positive ground-up impact and empowerment,  the blockchain has a similar effect demonstrating aligned values and for the first time linking that to the economic activity those values support.

Number by Robert Hloz

 

Next Steps

To scale the models,  we need to build systems and put into practice the ecosystem platforms within a mass market. We welcome new partners who are interested in transforming their impacts and become a key player in this brave new world.

Who will step up and become the Google of the Blockchain World?