“Rainbows and Unicorns” Corner

Rainbows and Unicorns 2

This page is dedicated to projects that fall in the “Rainbows and Unicorns” category which is the type of project that “shoots for the moon,” goes for “pie in the sky,” gets everyone excited, then, when the dust settles and the project is completed, all of the hype (and money) is gone. Usually, there is a lot of flowery jargon that is very superficial and light on details. Kinda like the snake oil salesman of the old west.

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If you disagree and feel that a project mentioned here should not be in this section, mention it in the comment section. The more information there is about proposed projects, the better the end product will be. Also, if a project meets the aspirations set, it will be removed from this section.

 Future City Pic

“Chula Vista: Smart City”

Yes, “smart” is probably one of the most abused words in our English lexicon. There are smartphones, smartTVs, smart-lighting. However, it gets the point across that this isn’t just another boring project, it’s a smart project!

The City of Chula Vista recently hired Black and Veatch (“B&V”) to help it create a “smart integrated infrastructure solution framework” mostly on the Bayfront where it can build it from scratch but also hopes to use some of these principles across the city. The focus would be on energy, water and communications.

What makes this project appear on this page is the fact that there are so few details or examples of similar projects. It’s basically (so far) a big bag of hyperbole. This is how B&V describes its approach:

 “These Smart Cities and Communities use transformational technologies, such as high-speed data networks, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, cloud computing and data analytics, to manage infrastructure systems in a holistic, integrated way.”

“Machine-to-machine”? “Cloud computing”? “High-speed data networks”? Well, that’s truly innovative (if this was 1995 but points for converting the words “machine-to-machine” into an acronym).

B&V Map

The consultant uses a lot of ideas with few details (ok, none) but here are some of the grand ideas: “smart” utility, “smart” lights, and “smart” transportation. What does “smart utility” mean? According to B&V (WARNING: You may choke on the meaningless jargon):

“Black & Veatch Smart Utility solutions bridge physical, technical and process boundaries to drive more informed system-wide business decisions. The result is a more agile utility with flexible, sustainable operations and enhanced service.”

That’s saying a lot without saying much of anything.

Here is a video that expands on the pitch.

“Smart” Transportation seems to translate (from the images) to electric vehicle (EV) chargers. Well, I hope so but these are already deployed in the city. What is it that pushes this to the “smart” level?

How about the claim that the city can use the technology it uses at the Bayfront and apply it on the rest of the city. Let’s be honest, the city’s wifi at its libraries barely works and the city hopes that it can distribute public wifi across the city. While this is something that few cities have achieved, it will require a great deal of investment and maintenance. Escondido did it in 2006 so there may be potential that this might get done.

B&V is a respected engineering firm, however, without additional details, this proposal will remain in the Rainbows and Unicorn corner.


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