Why Engineers Love the Smart City Works Actuator

So now it’s real! A fantastic Ribbon-cutting and Meet the Cohort event last Friday the 14th for the new Smart City Works Actuator at CIT, next door to our enormo2017-04-14 - SCW - 39 - DSC_9505usly successful and now four-year old cybersecurity accelerator, MACH37 (who also graciously hosted the event). The Governor came to get the 100 or so guests pumped up and glad to be Virginians. Thomas Smith, the Executive Director of the American Society of Civil Engineers spoke about our failing infrastructure and how the Smart City Actuator could play a role 2017-04-14 - SCW - 37 - DSC_9387in helping renew it. There actually was a ribbon, and the Governor was decisive in cutting it (look at the lever arms on those scissors!). And, in addition to civil engineers, we had electrical, mechanical, 2017-04-14 - SCW - 03 - DSC_9517transportation, and an aerospace engineer, computer scientists and data scientists, a materials scientist or two (graphene of course), and probably more. So why do all sorts of engineers love the Smart City Works Actuator? We can turn to the Laws of Physics for answers. Two laws that every engineer learns apply here:

F=ma, where a of course is acceleration,

and the formula for Kinetic energy (energy in action)


Now for our purposes we will let m represent the size of the mentor network, and v represent the volume of innovative companies the accelerator capacity can handle. By starting the Smart City Works Actuator, a has now become 2a, m has become 2m, and v is of course 2v. Substituting in our equations, and letting F represent the amount of fun we are having, any engineer can tell you the results:

2a*2m = 4F …four times the fun!


½[2m](2v)**2= 4Kε …four times the energy!!

Yes, its true. Engineers love the Smart City Works Actuator because, together with our MACH37 Accelerator, they can come and have four times the fun and experience four times the energy, all while helping build a better world. Q.E.D.

Of course the way we help Actuate a better world is by helping accelerate our innovative entrepreneurs, and the Smart City Works Actuator has some great ones!

IHT.   You no longer need to be a scientist to know whether your water is 2017-04-14 - SCW - 20 - DSC_9590safe. Using a patented new technology, Integrated Health Technologies’ Sensor BottleTM detects and relays water quality information to your phone to provide you with real-time peace-of-mind that the water you consume is safe to drink.  For cities, these bottles provide a crowd-sourced platform for real-time water quality detection and monitoring of municipal water systems.

UNOMICEDGE.  UNOMICEDGE is a Software Defined Network solution for securely 2017-04-14 - SCW - 51 - DSC_9580connecting the Cloud to devices at Network Edge.  It includes a network Hypervisor that not only enforces network security policies, but develops critical business and operational insights from user and device interactions. Smart cities rely on smart IoT devices at the Network Edge.  UnomicEdge not only reduces the cyber risk of IoT, but can provide valuable intelligence to make businesses and cities run smarter.

InfraccessInfraccess is powering up infrastructure investment by pr2017-04-14 - SCW - 24 - DSC_9570oviding easier access to trusted data so you can more efficiently discover investment opportunities, make quicker, better informed investments, and reduce overall investment risk. The Infraccess web-based workflow platform sources and transforms unstructured information into smart data and proprietary performance indicators to help unlock billions in investment opportunities in infrastructure.

Capital Construction Solutions.  Capital Construction Solutions creates mobile-based 2017-04-14 - SCW - 30 - DSC_9533risk management platforms for improving enterprise-wide accountability and transparency.  With Capital Construction Solutions deployed in the field, companies can immediately turn day-to-day operations into opportunities to reduce corporate liability, mitigate risk, and significantly increase profits.



PLANITIMPACT.   Design decisions can have significant and long-lasting2017-04-14 - SCW - 27 - DSC_9545 impact on business and environmental costs.  PlanITimpact has created a smart modeling platform to help building professionals better understand and improve performance, including energy, water use, stormwater and transportation, so owners, investors, and communities can better visualize project impacts and returns on investment.

GREATER PLACES.  Cities worldwide are investing in the next generation of buildings, infrastructure, transportation, and technology. But where can you turn to for readily finding the b2017-04-14 - SCW - 28 - DSC_9542est leading-edge solutions in this space?   GreaterPlaces creates a single web-based and mobile platform for bringing together the best ideas, inspirations, and practices for designing and governing cities—a marketplace and tools to connect people seeking ideas, products and services to transform cities worldwide.

Come join them and see what you’re missing!


All photos courtesy of Dan Woolley



CSAM: And now for this news update!

Many of the stories from earlier posts this month have continued to evolve. Here are a few:

Privacy and Cryptowars 2.0 (Oct 12) – Obama Won’t Seek Access to Encrypted User Data. This is a major victory for privacy advocates, and has Law Enforcement officials scrambling for alternatives. For a great opinion piece on this topic, see the CSM opinion from Jeffrey Vagle. Policies in this debate never seem to last for long however…

The story also highlights a connection between the Cryptowars discussion and the U.S. – China deal (Oct 5):

“Timothy D. Cook, the chief executive of Apple, sat at the head table with Mr. Obama and Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, at a state dinner at the White House last month. According to government officials and industry executives, Mr. Cook told Mr. Obama that the Chinese were waiting for an opportunity to seize on administration action to insist that Apple devices, which are also encrypted in China, be open to Beijing’s agents.”

Speaking of the U.S. – China deal on economic cyberespionage, China arrested 5 hackers identified by the U.S. Government, the first time China has taken such action. Administration officials are waiting to see whether this is the start of a longer term trend or simply a gesture prior to the State visit; early results indicate the Chinese hacking continues. The U.S. has also gotten aggressive, arresting a Kosovo native in Malaysia for allegedly providing service member personal information to ISIS.

In another story related to the privacy discussion, the New York Times did a piece titled “Behind the European Privacy Ruling That’s Confounding Silicon Valley” indicating among other things:

“Big Brother is no longer the only threat to privacy, and Europe has struggled to regulate the gossipy circle of consumer-data-collecting companies. Facebook currently faces challenges from five European regulators, including a Dutch-led investigation into how the company uses data from services like Instagram and WhatsApp and a Belgian effort to stop it from tracking consumers who have not joined the service.”

Now the U.S. tech community has jumped aboard legislative action to fix this by providing legal redress for EU citizens in the U.S. whose private data has been mis-handled. But many of these same companies are coming out against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act legislation, also on privacy grounds. The legal environment is fluid at best!

In a sign that the Cyber Insurance (Oct 8) market continues to evolve, premiums are now seeing massive increases for new policies, which are also seeing more stringent liability caps and coverage limits. This is a hot topic, with NPR running a series on cyber insurance claiming “Cybercrime is costing the global economy nearly half a trillion dollars a year, according to the insurer Allianz.”

On the software side (Oct 6), the ability of Android and Apple App stores to control malware and privacy threats from apps continues to be in the news. Of all things, Apple dumped ad-blocking and content-blocking apps that installed root certificates (which control encryption, among other things) over privacy concerns (presumably allowing more ads and “content” through). Android wishes it were that easy, although the article does provide some useful differentiation among Android device manufacturers.

Finally in the world of financials, US-CERT issued a new Technical Alert for Dridex malware that uses phishing attacks to install itself on Windows machines, and then proceeds to steal your banking credentials. Financial institutions around the world are increasingly concerned. And questions are being raised about the security of mobile payment systems (although some of these concerns are being raised by the banking industry itself, trying to fend off stiff competition).

There is never a shortage of stories about the latest activities in the world of cybersecurity. Although the specifics change, the major themes seem to be firmly established: the various tradeoffs between privacy and security among individuals, companies and Governments, and the methods used to try to implement these policy choices in an increasingly dangerous digital world.