A story of confrontations with various bureaucracies and corporate aims, found in the outdoor digital advertising world. Exposing the undercurrents of political centralisation with a proposal for a Blockchain counter-solution.
The book traverses several decades of experiences in the public access computing sector. It covers the implementation of technologies built to provide direct to the public digital services. The author’s company set out with good intentions and then ran into the undercurrents of bureaucracies that say what they don’t mean. An early achievement was inventing the first digital Job Vacancy network for the Employment Department (1987). However when they realised how it would affect the departments status, they stopped the project. Which led to putting his company into receivership and him on their books as a dole claimant. Then later he had to fight their efforts to put him in prison, after obtaining a million pound EC project. A decade later they introduced job kiosks virtually derived but less advanced from his original work.
Working in EC projects he learned about the gravy train life style of these research projects and the lack of tangible results from them. His own project was one of very few that succeeded as an exploitable entity. Most failed. Remarkably the EC made many iterations of the same failed projects over time; funnelling huge funds to ever larger international consortiums of; corporations, universities and even agencies set up to only operate on such a basis: entirely dependent upon EC funding for none resulting outcomes. This gave him insights into the waste of money that the Brussels bureaucrats pontificate over.
Taking the EC projects name and aims the company moved into the territory of two huge international corporations that few people know about but have their services in their face almost daily: outdoor advertising. A competitive alternative was introduced. Building all weather outdoor engineering structures; two cities deployed the world’s first touch screen and free public access Wi-Fi services for mobile users.
Tremendous difficulties were encountered when proposing these services to other city’s. Providing unwelcome experiences exposing the monopolistic contracts that cities undertake, giving huge revenues away, to just two corporations, the author outlines a fairer, more practical and locally beneficial alternative.
Unfortunately and with a lack of foresight, these pioneering cities dropped the projects due to the austerity measures brought about after the 2008 financial crash, when governments bailed out the bankers making their innocent populations suffer and pay. Later in 2015 the city of New York proves the validity of such networks.
Designing new iterations of outdoor advertising systems the company came up with even more technically advanced systems. But due to the lock-out monopoly contracts that these corporations imposed on cities to protect their exclusive market, progress has been very slow.
The technologies of the Internet have been observed and commented upon in the later chapters of the book, from the vantage point of synergetic convergence with an aim for public services. Thus, continuing the company’s original brief in its first EC project. Pointing out that the emerging services such as Uber and Airbnb and other ‘Sharing Economy’ businesses will be eclipsed by the huge incoming tidal flow of decentralised blockchain methods.
Significantly the flow of the book highlights the undercurrents in corporations and politics, by lobbyists for ever increasing powers in centralisation and suppression of opposition. The Brexit vote has exposed that a significant number of the population have either consciously or unconsciously realised the inherent dangers of none representative centralisation of economic and political powers.
The Blockchain methods can counter such things as excessive corporate powers and centralised political domination. These methods are identified and suggested for a more grass roots revolution, for cities to adopt. A new democratic option is outlined for engaging the citizens into creatively obtaining a locally focused new generation of Peer-2-Peer Blockchain sets of services: generating local wealth and political oversight.