Manchester’s big open data project

CityVerve in Manchester

What happens when a city decides to make its data available to others to use easily? You get Manchester’s CityVerve.

CityVerve’s ‘platform of platforms’ treats the city as a living breathing organism by giving it a technology layer that acts as a central nervous system, smartly supporting and connecting independent systems and applications. It is the Internet of Things (IoT) working today.

Opportunities for projects are being identified to specifically meet the needs and challenges of Manchester’s citizens. CityVerve is needs driven and benefit-led. It focuses on four key areas: Health & Social Care, Energy & Environment, Travel & Transport, Culture & Public Realm.

There is evidence that projects are already delivery benefits. They say it’s about enabling a real community;
using technology to enrich the local experience for residents, businesses and tourists.

This is where, for me, it gets exciting…it’s about open innovation. Manchester City Council says, quite rightly, that collaboration is essential for innovation. That’s why CityVerve has run open calls and events offering challenges, opportunities and APIs to developers and innovators from all walks of life.

CityVerve is being delivered by a consortium of 21 organisations, including:

  • Manchester City Council
  • Manchester Science Partnerships
  • University of Manchester
  • Cisco
  • BT
  • and other tech players.
  • The project is also backed by Government and Innovate UK.

Look at this list of current projects:  They include:

  • Talkative Bus System
  • City Concierge
  • Road Safety
  • Sensing Trams
  • Smart Traffic Monitoring
  • Smart Parking.

Wishful thinking, but I look forward to my local council, Reading Borough Council, embarking on this type of initiative.

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Clarity of disposable lense pricing

Your disposable lenses will cost you a lot more than £5.99.

Is the pricing on this advert misleading?

The headline price of £5.99 is shouted loud and clear. In reality, the minimum transaction cost is £13.38.

£5.99 gets you a box of 32 disposable contact lenses. But you cannot buy one box, the minimum order is, in small print, 2 boxes.

Then you have to pay £0.70 shipping per box. As stated though, you cannot buy one box. So the minimum shipping is £1.40.

This feels like a slightly more overt version of drip pricing, as some ticketing websites are accused of.

Drip pricing is a technique used by online retailers of goods and services whereby a headline price is advertised at the beginning of the purchase process, following which additional fees, taxes or charges, which may be unavoidable, are then incrementally disclosed or “dripped”. Source: Wikipedia

Daysoft advert on London Underground, 19 June 2108
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Your view on event management

Event management clipboard and stopwatchI will soon be talking to some students about events and event management. If you have a moment, please could you help me?

#events #eventmanagement #conferences #sportingevents #musicpromotion #eventscareer

What I would like is brief comments from you about the good and the bad of events. If you work in event management, feel free to join in. My core content is mapped out, but I would love to bring it alive with your words.


Testing 1212…I’m an author!

Testing 1212, glossary of terms for live sound engineersOne of the best ways to get to learn the dynamics of a medium and how things work is to get involved and try it. YouTube videos, books and seminars are all very helpful but they cannot replace practical experience.

I have been running a media experiment for nearly a decade now using a glossary of terms as the content. It is titled Testing 1212 and is an online dictionary of audio terms for live sound engineers. This part of the experiment was to see how much traffic could be delivered to a site with reasonably good static content. Today Testing 1212 receives thousands of visitors a month…with no maintenance.

My second fun learning exercise was to reversion the content on Testing 1212 to create an eBook. That was pretty straightforward. The learning exercise was taking the content from Testing 1212 creating eBooks on Apple and Kindle. A few swear words later, a bit of effort and the task was complete, the content uploaded to the platforms and the eBook put on sale.

To be honest, I’d forgotten about the eBook until an email arrived telling me about royalties earned. So not only am I now a published author, I’ve got income! We’re counting this in the low pounds at the moment, so it’s not life-changing.

The reason I’m really pleased is that I’ve learned a lot through the process. The pinch points and the successes can never really be discovered from other people. I recommend you consider giving this a go with a project of your own.

I’m not thrilled with the quality of the book, it’s okay but could be better presented. That will be my next exercise, creating a 2nd edition.

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Scientific Wild Arsed Guess

SWAG, estimating sweets in the jarI love tripping over fun acronyms I’ve not heard before.

Scientific Wild Arsed Guess, SWAG, this is ideal for those situations when someone can’t bring themselves to come up with an opening estimate, even though they’re the best-placed person to do so. Great for encouraging technical/detailed/finisher people who might be uncomfortable with the vagueness of the start of the creative process.

Also, WAG = shortened less scientific form.

And then I rediscovered this Dilbert cartoon, I think we’ve all been there!


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Help me translate this gobbledygook

Ages ago someone asked me if I knew what this meant:

football in the new era… Fans drive loyalty and loyalty is rewarded on the pitch. Success drives growth and growth drives ambition . Unfortunately Fans are customers and most of us in marketing understands these values as modern day football has evolved with commercial partners looking to subconsciously connect with loyal fans or the ‘brand’.

It was a post online. I have to say that it’s double Dutch to me. Do you want to have a stab at unravelling the message? Yes? Just click on comments.

My business rules (draft) for the year

  1. Don’t deal with tossers – there are enough great people about to work with
  2. You’ll always overestimate what can be achieved in 3 months. You’ll always dramatically underestimate what can be achieved in 3 years
  3. Create the story – people buy stories, they yawn at lists of features
  4. Ask questions – someone else has the information you need…ask
  5. Keep talking to people – 1:1 and 1:many, face to face
  6. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to find some different people (or a different room or both)
  7. Remember number 1