At Fybr, we are passionate about what we do. We have spent more than two years working to create a highly accurate, long-lived, parking sensor. It must be a labor of love – to spend two years developing a parking sensor (spending two years to do anything for that matter). But our passion is not sensors or parking. Our passion is developing systems to help communities improve – indeed, our brand belief statement is, “Everything Fybr does – and every technology we harness – is focused on delivering dynamic, real-world benefits to communities world-wide.” I personally love that statement, and our goal – “making cities better” and our vision – “to create better communities”.
Well, here we are in early 2014 and we have the first fruits of our labor. So as we prepare once again to enter the market, I want to set a few things straight. I believe that Fybr is entering a discussion that is well underway – and to a certain extent, we want to shape that conversation. Smart cities and the Internet of Things, and the Internet of Everything are concepts we hear every day. Our partners, our customers, and our competitors are all talking about these ideas. But all too often, the conversations are about technology, or the number of devices being deployed, or the market value of this emerging trend, and yes, sometimes, the conversations include topics related to the risks and benefits of these technologies. After being a part of this trend for over ten years, I am left asking, “What happened to the social and human aspects of the conversation?”
There are any number of definitions of smart cities, digital cities and intelligent cities. But one recently caught my eye, a summary of a report sponsored by Asset One and published by European Smart Cities. It found that Smart Cities “can be identified (and ranked) along six main axes or dimensions…based on theories of regional competitiveness, transport and ICT economics, natural resources, human and social capital, quality of life, and participation of citizens in the governance of cities”. In that definition, 4 of the 6 dimensions of a “smart city” are not related to technology at all. Further, 3 of the 6 attributes are related to Community – they call to our humanity and to our need for self-governance and quality of life. We believe that cities that achieve these objectives won’t just be smart – they will be Communities. Communities in which people will want to live and work and invest.
We are Fybr. Our goal is Making Cities Better through the judicious use of technology to create data and information that improves lives, creates commerce and convenience, and ultimately connects people to the places, things, and dreams they want to achieve. So I suppose we will be grouped in with the noise of smart city technologies; we might, at times, get lost in the noise of the IoE. But we will focus our time, talent, and resources on the communities we serve – and we look forward to the journey.
In conclusion, we really didn’t start with parking, or sensors – we started with a vision. Our sensors are industry leading. We think our network is too. And in the near future we will be adding technologies to our network that follow the technology roadmap of the IoE. But we are going to remember that you are part of that Everything. What technologies we add – whatever they may be – will be dwarfed by the spirit and the individual and group creativity of the people that put those tools to work – making communities better places in which to work, play, and live.