smart citizens

Smart Living & Smart Homes

"Home Sweet Home" in Amsterdam

“No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” - Lin Yutang

Home(s) of my parents

When my parents tell me about their lives and homes, they make it sound so nostalgic and warm. Both my mother and father were born in 2 separate and comparable villages in the middle of Turkey, in Anatolia. They wereboth one of many children in their household. In those days and that region, families would all live together. Many generations, grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons… Everyone would live together, help each other out, eating together, playing together, and also sleeping together. The beds would be folded out on the floor in the evening and folded back up in the morning. The rooms would be multifunctional, the living room, would also function as a dining room and sleeping room. Talk about smart living ;)

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” - Jane Austin

My home(s)

When my parents moved to the Netherlands, they would still live with a couple of families in the same building to save money. And when they started their own family, they moved out to live in a house of their own. I remember growing up visiting family and neighbours all the time. It felt very warm and welcoming. The older I got, the less we would visit each other. And the more I got used to the way of living in this time and region, which is more individualistic. When I moved to Japan and was living in Tokyo about a year, I recognised both the family oriented and individualistic way of living from the Turkish and Dutch cultures. I also recognised the multifunctional and compact way of living. Comparing the different cultures, cities, villages, rural areas, throughout time, I definitely see differences. The scenario’s have their own advantages and disadvantages.

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” - Maya Angelou

Homes all over the world

Looking at the way I, my friends, family, and people around me living, I see the following. In Amsterdam and big cities in the Netherlands, rest of Europe, Turkey, and around the world, there is a general trend. From large families living together and supporting each other, people have been living more alone and separate. Many people live by themselves all alone in a house. Or share an apartment with their partner or friends. This individualistic lifestyle has the advantage to live freely the way you want. No parents or social control from families and culture restricting you. And at the same time, there is not the warm feeling of belonging to a greater whole. That you can spontaneously come back home and there are people there. And the food is cooking in the kitchen, to be eaten together with others. Where you don’t have to schedule appointments for your life after work.

“A house is made of bricks & beams. A home is made of hopes & dreams.” - 

Agile homes

Basically, having the freedom to live your life the way you want. To have choices all the time and everywhere. And also having the option to “fall back” when you have not organised and planned any appointments for your social life. How does this look like? Well, physically it means that homes are multifunctional and adaptable. That a home is not only an apartment on its own, but part of a bigger picture. The connection the home has with other homes and facilities around. That a home can be shared in its entirety or only the kitchen area for example. Homes can be housed by singles, couples, families, students, professionals, nomads, visitors, refugees… Building homes that are agile and to be used for specific people in a specific location in specific times. Agile by design as one of the basic principles.

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” - Confucius

Sustainable homes

Next to designing and building homes which are agile, it is also important that they are sustainable. The materials which are used for example. I remember my parents telling me that the material of their houses in the village was such that they kept their home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By using smart materials in a smart way, we can save so much more energy. One of my inspirations is the Venus project, where the 100 year old Nobel Prize winner Jacque Fresco shows examples of Sustainability by design. Building bathrooms in such a way, where the water from the shower is used to flush the toilet. By designing in a smart way, it will prevent us having to make modifications to smarten up “stupid” homes. And of course using renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal, and then some…

“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.” - Gandhi

Mindset of homes

This has a major impact on the current way homes are designed and build. There are many different stakeholders in this “game”. The government and business have different roles at different times. The methodology used now takes a long time and is organised in a serial manner. Going through requirements determination, analysis, design, and building the homes, years have gone by. The requirements have already changed and the homes are not meeting the current requirements. What we need is a more agile way of working, where all the different stakeholders are engaged at the same time. This means also the end users, who are and will be living in these homes. This is a completely different way of organising and facilitating this process. In turn, this requires a major cultural change and transformation, which is needed desperately.

“There’s no place like home.” - Dorothy

Welcome Home!

And how can we use technology for these smart homes? You probably already have heard and read about Smart Lighting and Smart Energy? Well, technology can be implemented in the whole environment of the home. Where you can “sense” anything you want. Sensors used in the walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, rooms, objects, etc. These sensors can be passive and measure all kinds of data. For example, the air, the temperature, the oxygen levels, the pollution, the sound levels, the presence of living beings like humans and animals, and then some. The actuators can be active and “do something”. For example changing the temperature to make it more pleasant for the people in the area. Or changing the music for a more calm atmosphere. The home can be considered as an “organism”, an extension of the people living there. This organism can interact with the people and objects inside. And it also has the ability to interact with the people and objects outside, and even with other homes. Our relationship with our home has just started… Hello World! Welcome Home :)



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#smartliving #smarthomes #smartcity #smartnation #smartsociety #smartpeople #smartenergy

GovTech is my Mission

“Number 26 in Global Top 100 Influencers & Brands List in less than 6 months”

“Nuray, why are you so passionate about GovTech?” This question is becoming more and more relevant in my life and career.


GovTech is short for Government Technology, also referred to as Tech City, Smart City, Tech Nation, or Smart Nation. My latest initiative rated number 26 on the Global Top 100 Influencers & Brands in less than 6 months time! This has overwhelmed me with joy :D And also encouraged me to continue my mission in the Government Technology cosmos. Yes, I said cosmos, instead of universe, world, country, or city ;)

“You have to do, what you dream of doing, even while you’re afraid.” - Arianna Huffington

Education | Academics | Research

As a student in Business Information Systems and Computer Science at the University of Amsterdam, I had the opportunity to experience the academic lifestyle. Towards the end of my Master specialisation Intelligent Sensory Information Systems, I was writing my thesis Multimodal, Affective, and Intelligent Human-Computer Interaction. This research allowed me to join my professor at various IEEE conferences. Reading hundreds of articles and attending dozens of lectures, I was extremely inspired by the potential impact and value of technology. At the same time, I realised that this research was not yet applied in real life. And that specific technology could be adopted smoothly by one culture and easily rejected by another culture. And that implementation of these hard skills also required soft skills. Apparently culture and other aspects play a major role in implementing technology.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

International | Intercultural

Understanding that the successful implementation and adoption of technology required understanding culture and cultural differences, my next goal was to experience this myself. Born and raised in a Western culture in the Netherlands, and exposed to Eastern culture with Turkish parents, already gave me a valuable head start with a multicultural background. I had been context switching from birth :) Now it was time to add another dimension to give a more objective and neutral perspective! During my research, I discovered that Japan was global leader in high tech. At the same time, Japanese culture is highly traditional. I wanted to experience this apparent contradiction in person. Hence, my next destination was Tokyo, where I studied Japanese language and culture at Keio University. That year studying abroad as an exchange student has been a life changing and enriching experience :D

“I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” - Ginni Rometty

Private | Business

Understanding that successful implementation of technology was prepared in research and applied in business, I decided to start my professional career in the private sector. As a student I worked as a top talent Extreme Blue intern at IBM, an American B2B tech company. As a young professional, I worked as a Management Trainee IT at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, a B2B and B2C company. The Air France KLM group consisted of 2 different companies, 2 languages, 2 cultures, 2 approaches, and the same goals. I have also worked for ABN AMRO, a Dutch B2B and B2C company. What I have learned from these experiences is that there are American, Dutch, French, B2B, B2C, tech, airline, and banking cultures. At the start and in the end, it’s about making profit and all the other goals are secondary. I felt that I had a higher purpose in life…

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." - Mother Teresa

Public | Government

Understanding that I wanted to contribute not only to making profit, but primarily to higher purposes, I decided to continue my professional career in the public sector. In varying roles at various departments and working with many partners in the Netherlands and Europe. I found inspiring challenges at the local government at the City of Amsterdam. What have I learned from these experiences is that there are Dutch, Amsterdam, and government cultures. At the start and in the end, it’s not about making profit and all the other goals are primary. The challenge is that there is a mixture of many goals. And the government has a multitude of products and services for society. Technology has huge potential for improvement for the external products and services, the internal organisation, and the cooperation with other governments, businesses, education, citizens, and society…

“There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families.” - Margaret Thatcher

Global Technology

Experiencing education, academics, and research; private and public; business and government; Amsterdam and Netherlands; Paris and France; Tokyo and Japan; Istanbul and Turkey; technology has the potential to connect everyone, everything, everywhere, every time in every way; technology is global and universal; we are already using technology to communicate, fly or make a payment from one city to another; we can also use technology to have access to clean air, water, sun, energy, and food in a sustainable way on a global scale; we can use technology for sustainable health, education, housing, transportation, you name it… These topics concern all of us and we need to co-operate and co-create by collaborating together using technology in a smart way ;)

"Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch." - Ivern Ball


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