September 30, 2013 | by

Can Smarter City technology measure and improve our quality of life?

Golden Gate BridgeCan information and technology measure and improve the quality of life in cities?

That seems a pretty fundamental question for the Smarter Cities movement to address. There is little point in us expending time and money on the application of technology to city systems unless we can answer it positively. It’s a question that I had the opportunity to explore with technologists and urbanists from around the world last week at the Urban Systems Collaborative meeting in London, on whose blog this article will also appear.

Before thinking about how we might approach such a challenging and complex issue, I’d like to use two examples to support my belief that we will eventually conclude that “yes, information and technology can improve the quality of life in cities.”

The first example, which came to my attention through Colin Harrison, who heads up the Urban Systems Collaborative, concerns public defibrillator devices – equipment that can be used to give an electric shock to the victim of a heart attack to restart their heart. Defibrillators are positioned in many public buildings and spaces. But who knows where they are and how to use them in the event that someone nearby suffers a heart attack?

To answer those questions, many cities now publish open data lists of the locations of publically-accessible Defibrillators. Consequently, SmartPhone apps now exist that can tell you where the nearest one to you is located. As cities begin to integrate these technologies with databases of qualified first-aiders and formal emergency response systems, it becomes more feasible that when someone suffers a heart attack in a public place, a nearby first-aider might be notified of the incidence and of the location of a nearby defibrillator, and be able to respond valuable minutes before the arrival of emergency services. So in this case, information and technology can increase the chancees of heart attack victims recovering.

Read the full story by Rick Robinson at The Urban Technologist.

Full Story

November 13, 2011 | by

PulsePoint Foundation Hires Chief eXecution Officer

Rob Byrne

Rob Byrne, Chief eXecution Officer

PLEASANTON, CA – Matt Stamey, Chairman of the PulsePoint Board announced today, the hiring of Rob Byrne as the foundation’s Chief eXecution Officer (CXO). As the CXO for PulsePoint Byrne is responsible for the successful development, delivery and worldwide deployment of PulsePoint’s life saving applications and technology.

With a background that ranges from Space Shuttle flight control to relational database design to motion picture image restoration, Rob brings to PulsePoint a broad spectrum of technology expertise and executive experience.

In response to the announcement, PulsePoint President Richard Price said, “Rob’s diverse experience managing complex software development and implementation makes him very well suited to help the foundation widely deploy the lifesaving PulsePoint mobile application. He has the full support of our board and is exceptionally qualified to lead our global ambitions.”

At Johnson Space Center Byrne was a member of the team that developed the onboard flight control software for the United States Space Shuttle and participated in design of the data system for the International Space Station. At IBM Santa Teresa Lab he was an engineer and later a development manager for the DB2 relational database product. At PeopleSoft, Byrne held technical, management and executive positions, including Vice President of Product Quality and Vice President of the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Program. His most recent executive position was with San Francisco based nCircle Network Security where he was Vice President of Engineering.

Rob has also been active in the area of heritage preservation with a specific focus on motion picture restoration. He has led or participated in several film restoration projects, received a preservation grant from National Film Preservation Foundation, and was recently awarded the Haghefilm Foundation Fellowship for 2011.

When asked about his appointment, Byrne said, “I’m very excited about the potential and the idea PulsePoint represents and embodies. The notion that we can use ordinary Smartphone technology to save lives is a very powerful concept.” He added, “I am especially motivated by our non-profit model and that this technology is available without charge to individuals and to the public agencies we partner with. Our mission is our motivation and our reward comes not in dollars, but in lives saved.”

Byrne is a graduate of University of Texas at Austin, and holds a master’s degree from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He has also performed post-graduate studies at University of California at Berkeley, University of Houston, and San Jose State University. He currently serves on the board of the directors for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, as well as the Global Film Initiative.

Full Story