Remote working

We have read a great deal about this and a recent survey indicates that over 140k people define their work as remote. This seems very large in and Irish context. Further work will be done on this to establish the validity and types of work. A great organisation growremote is working on this with government bodies and are to be commended.

There are some worries on this front too however. Many individuals find that working remote is a bit lonely. They seem to miss the interaction with colleagues and the plain old banter of the world of work. This is helped by joining in and using coworking places. Thankfully these are spreading all over the place. It is critical that employers help support these for the well being  of their team members and also for their own sucess .

As usual the idea of remote working is turning into a blend of working at home, working in coworking centres and other facilities and attendance at the central place of work. (If one actually exists!)

The opportunities in this area are growing and changing by leaps and bounds. Increasingly it is being found that open offices, multitudes of meetings, and micromanagement are actually reducing  productivity. Present day remote workers are a bit like evangalists and are making new ground. Turst is the key to future success in this area.

Changes in management skills and also in employee skills will be needed to make sure that remote workers are managed well and feel a productive and valuable part of an organisation. That is a two way street. Thankfully there are more and more people reporting about their direct experiences and the good and bad apples in the barrell.

The future of work in the workplace seems to be moving. There will be more automation of routine works. Some evidence based decision making will change too as computers will be able to consider more variables than us poor human brains. We see this in reports of improved early diagnosis of skin cancers by machines rather than by Doctors.   So work will change at the basic end and at the high end. ( in terms of perceived value rewarded per hour)

New skills will be needed and we will all need to adapt. But that is what we are good at. So no fears, onwards!


Drink Link Entertainment

We read a bit recently about the countryside needing an Uber type service to bring people home from the pub. It is an interesting request and one made at minister and TD level. We think it fits in nicely with the community building in Smartrural.

With the right platforms: neighbours, friends and even taxi operators could be connected. The public house owner can give a sort of early warning over the community platform. Along the lines, there is a big crowd in here, we’ll need to get at least 6 people home later. Or the opposite, its a quiet night. Local knowledge , local information all on a community platform.

Sharing and helping is always a feature of rural communities. Lately it has becme more difficult as the platforms took us away in FB land or the world of twitter and the like. The future and new technology can be built to bring us back to the community and actually serve the needs of the community rather than the needs of large gloabl organisations.


We have a wee story to tell of a small community in Spain. It is completely bereft of any sources of entertainment. The last saloon/pub/bar was closed down about 6 years ago. There is no restaurant, post office, shop or anything commercial. The village has a community hall and a sports ground, but sadly no one to use them on a day to day basis as they are now too large for the few people left during weekdays.

However one of the residents has decided that he would like to keep some sense of community and entertainment. So every Friday night he get his projector set up on a white wall in his garden, selects a film (or two), gets a few plates and some glasses and some cutlery. The neighbours arrive with some drinks, snacks and some nibbles.

The owner has good internet (not 5G)  but downloads the film in advance- just in case. Sometimes it rains and they go inside, sometimes they forget to start the film they are chatting so much.

He may be breaking some copyright but he hopes not as it is a group of friends and extended family.

He hopes that when Iot comes in play and more and more people are working in a location they love, that the village will come back to life. He has great hopes for the futue of work!

They have a great night and stop the film a couple of times to eat a bit of food and chat. The whole event has about 25 people and is a regular part of their village life.

Smart farmers #smartrural

We are looking at the continuous challenge presented by people with opposing points of view regarding farming, especially of animals.

We do not see much counter arguements or at lease there are but they are not always positive. Pity.

We think that perhaps there might be a plan?

Water- farmers have the resources to target water storage and ground water protection. How many farmers can say that 100% of their home water and farm washing water is rainwater?

Energy- This is really a subset of the Carbon and climate change issue. Again with solar , wind and geo therm solutions- how many farmers say they are 100% renewable? If the big corpos like Apple etc want to say it for their data centres then surely it is a positive for farmers to be able to say it too?

Transport/Vehicles- again here we have sities making huge efforts regarding public transport, biking, e-scooters and the like.  We have a hydrogen train in Germany and hydrogen ships being built. Are our friends in the farming community getting ready for hydrogen tractors , combines and the like?  Is there information from advisory bodies on this? Is it possible that farmers can generate their own hydrogen from amonia in animal waste?

Packaging- single plastics are the big culprit here, but are there alternatives to the plastics used on farm? Similarily with waste. Could farmers take back any waste they sell? Most sell without any packaging, so this is an easy step.

How about working to develop farms that are carbon and energy neutral, that release as much water to groundwater as they use, that use machinery that has zero emissions, that recylce all the packaging they use.

The problem of methane production and livestock production will be solved by bio chemists or at least reduced considerably. Or indeed new technologies may assist in finding solutions, in the meantime we hope and wish to work to assist in the drive to make #smartrural .

It would be great to read more about these initiatives. Any readers with information we would love to hear from you. @jsmartrural

Rural Transport

There are a few items to be considered here in the context of emissions and climate change. If we start with the assumption that internal combustion engines are bad then we need to figure out what is going to replace them and what is good.

So far we see cities adopting electic bikes and more recently electric scooters. The electric car is here too with many variants fo hybrid. However where are we going with tractors, trucks, lorries, buses and trains?

All these are really vital to the s=rural community and we need a #smartrural solution.

In UK there are now hydrogen buses, in China they are electric. In Scotland they are building hydrogen ships. In Japan they will have 35 hydrogen fuelling points to cover the entire country,  (which seems like very few but it puts everyone within 10 minutes of a point). In Germany hydrogen trains are up and running.

In Sweden they are putting recharging tracks into the roads so that electric powered lorries and trucks can recharge on the move.

So it looks like hydrogen and electricity (batteries) are the future for heavy transport.

The tractors and trucks of the future are going to have to change away for diesel. Are we ready ? Can we afford it? What will happen to the old engines?





There is a great tradition of telling stories in rural communities. These can be true, invented, exaggarated, funny, serious. The joy is the assembly of people who feel they are part of a community and the act of telling binds them to a place and to an event and to the teller.
Often there are disagreements, different points of view. but that is normal and part of learning, growing, and being human. It is part of beig a community.
In #smartrural we see storytelling as multifaceted. It is ideal if it can take place in a physical space where everyone in the community can attend. However, and no surprise here, that is not always possible. So we will use smart tech to get people to attend remotely, to participate and to encourage a physical attendance the next time.
The teller can ofter be available bu tthe audience may not. A simple bit of tech can assist in setting storytelling events up when there is a gathering. This can happen for a community event or for a simple reason like a change in weather or a wedding or indeed a funeral. These are times when comunity come together and using tech, storytelling can become a part of these occassions.

#smartrural has the advantage that it does not have to be advanced calendar driven with all the hopes that people can attend. It can respond to the prescence of people and just kick into action to set up the event.

CES 2019

Here we worry that there is not enough representation at CES. It is an area where we find our competitors are presenting their new products. We need to encourage some agricultural bodies to take a stand and show off the good things that are happening in the countryside. From building strong sustainable communities to using new technology for food production to providing safe homs with great education and health opportunities.

There is so much happening in the cities of the world, so much Investment, so much new technology being deployed the countryside might become forgotten. the best brains seem to be concentrating on providing new smarter platforms for the cities. We need to get some of these brains to help the country build on its strength and be able to be sustainable into the future.

Internet purpose

While working away reading of 5G, the future of work and smart cities, Ihappened on this infographic. It is a good one but Imust spend some time and figure out how many people are using the internet each minute.

The amazing thing to me is that most of the time is on communication and social networks. Yet as a race we seem to be more isolated than every

Some other aspects I found and will write about soon

  • the number of people living alone has never been so high and is growing rapidly
  • over 30% of people working in USA would rather live somewhere else and most would like to move from city setting to rural or suburban town setting
  • a few rural communities have rebuilt themselves by adopting a common purpose and going for it with as much energy as they could
  • the role of the countryside and its strength in its community will be needed as cities continue to grow.
    An interesting graphic on internet usage. 5g and future of work will continue to see this evolve.

    so thanks for reading. More to follow! #smartrural

Helpful things post 5 g

These are a few little tasks that can take some frustration out of our lives. They are all practical and hopefully without costs.
I hope that when 5g comes to pass we can use it to find our keys. So many times we wonder, where did I put my keys..So a small RFID or sensor plus a couple of beacons should allow us to find them rapidly in our homes. It may seem trivial and not as grandiose as other ideas but it could help a lot of people.
Another one is- did Iturnoff the gas, water, lock the door, turn on the alarm, put the cat out. Again if we are leaving home in a rush thenthese thoughts pop into our mind. Because we do it constantly we more than likely did what do we do now- turn around and go back to check. Then we are late and annoyed and indeed traffic may have got worse. When we have 5 g and our things are connected it should be easy to have a leaving house routine where doors are locked, gas turned off, water turned off etc. A few solenoids, a small software programme and then connectivity to it from car or smart phone or even telling a device that you are leaving home.
The same when returning, especially if it is dark and cold. At present we have tolog into an App, turn on lights, kettle etc. How cumbersome and unpleasant is that. Again a simple software script, a voice sensor and a call to connected device should allow a check list or routine set up to be started and ready for you.
Just some simple ideas of what might be useful to mere mortals!

Sports and #smartrural

Another scenario that happens in country towns and villages. The local school and sports clubs work for many years with the children bringing them to the joys of team and individual sports, discovering the skills and abilities in each one. These are tough voluntary roles for members of the communities but ones that bring great joy.
We know that as the call of the city for education and opportunites gets louder as the young man or woman reaches that stage of their life, their love of sport may fall by the wayside. They may simply not be familiar with the new clubs where they set up their home, they may be busyin other
areas. How great it could be if the sports could continue into the future and they could still keep their identity with old teammates. A virtual team is becoming more and more real. A team where training and practice could continue virtually with regular physical meet ups to hone the skills.
Bike riders can now cycle practically any challenge in the world on a stationary bike using imagery and electronics. Surgeons can operate on patients at a distance of thousands of kms.
Even better education and work are changing. OVer 40% of employers realise that remote working is here. Education is constantly becoming virtual with more and more on line courses. Home schooling is a growing business that with proper support and connectivity can allow people to remain in their communities for longer.
As our cities grow and grow they become more and more unpleasant on many levels. Every effort to build #smartrural can help to minimise this and provide real life and community in the countryside.