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Using the Internet of Things to build smarter, more secure cities

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The most direct link that most European citizens have with their governments are through their municipal authorities. But often, confusing bureaucratic procedures and delayed responses from police and crisis-response services can strain relations between burghers and burgomasters. What if emerging IT technologies could improve municipal services through complete transparency — showing every centime spent for every service — while driving down costs and improving security services in moments of crisis?

At the Eighth Annual Internet of Things conference, officials from two cities described how they’re using Internet of Things (IoT) technology to make their citizens safer, while building trust and improving local accountability. The cities are…

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EU leaders’ decisions augur big developments for European defence policy, with wider implications for other sectors as well

By PATRICK STEPHENSON and BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – After decades of procrastination, national leaders at their 22-23 June summit here took decisions that now set the stage for the EU’s entry into the defence field, though any talk of an imminent “European” army is fantasy. Nonetheless, important policy proposals by the European Commission were approved. The member states themselves finally agreed to finance their diverse battlegroups to boost the EU’s common security and defence policy (CSDP), for example, while approving plans – far more radical – to allow self-selected EU countries to shift into “permanent structured cooperation” (PESCO) in defence. But these were just some of the approved measures. An interesting coda to these decisions will be their impact on the EU’s...