Category Archives: Smart Cities

EU Commission Gives a Push to Electric Mobility and Smart Mobility Services #SmartCities

On January 28th, EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc opened the 2016 Transport for Smart Cities conference, which gathered 200 leading players part of a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) whose objective is to improve urban life through sustainable integrated solutions.

smart cities pic

Commissioner Bulc attended the launch of two new initiatives bringing together cities and industry to promote the roll-out of smart electromobility and of smart city mobility services at a large scale. Areas of application include the intelligent management of fleets of electric cars and real-time travel information.

Commissioner Bulc said: “It is not ‘us’ and ‘them’ anymore – we need to work together and drive this challenge to a good destination. These initiatives will lead to smart mobility solutions to the market at scale. They will support innovation to create new jobs and fully integrate transport in the digital single market. If the fight against climate change is to be won in cities, I am convinced that Smart Cities are part of the answer”.

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Smart City funding and finance: where’s the money, and who’s paying?

Show me the money

A highly important factor when thinking about smart cities, that isn’t always discussed, is how to fund and finance them. As exciting as it is to discuss the potential, exciting developments that smart cities can bring, whether in terms of urban development, citizen engagement or sustainability, they won’t get off the ground without funding. This is something that has not escaped Ovum’s Smart to Future Cities conference, with a dedicated set of presentations around funding options.

Firstly we have a case study from the Province of Torino, Italy, on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) for smart city projects/financing future cities in the EU, in which they will outline the 2020Together project, detail its funding strategy, and examine the new forms of partnership between public administrations and private investors.

This is followed by an interactive panel session: attracting funding and finance for smart infrastructure projects. The panellists include Scott Cain, Executive Director, Future Cities Catapult and Frank Lee, Head of Financial Instruments, Western Europe, European Investment Bank, with discussion points including:

  • What are the different funding instruments available?
  • Best practice for attracting interest from institutional investors and investment banks
  • Financial instruments outside EU funding
  • ‘Joint venture’ infrastructure projects
  • PPPs for smart city projects
  • Sharing risk in PPPs, managing exit strategies and forecasting returns
  • The need for a smart bank for smart investment

The panel is introduced by Mathias Reddmann, from the Smart Cities and Sustainability Unit of the European Commission, in which he will address the need for large-scale investment in smart cities, detailing the Horizon 2020 and JESSICA initiatives.

This dedicated session is part of a comprehensive event, covering transport, energy, urban development, assisted living, sustainability, security and resilience, among 19+ global city case studiesDownload the brochure to see which cities will be speaking at the event, and find out what they’ll be discussing. Then book your ticket to join in the discussion!

City Focus: Copenhagen, the world’s smartest city?

DSC_2413copenhagenAfterDark

Copenhagen has long been regarded as one of the smartest cities in the world, an achievement that was crowned by the city being awarded the Smart City Award in November 2014. There will be a strong Danish presence in London at Smart to Future Cities 2015, with four speakers discussing sustainable cities and urban development, implementing smart traffic management and parking systems, and developing standards and protocols for future city governance and IoT management. We caught up with two of these experts – Patrick Driscoll, Smart City Lab and Else Kloppenborg, Special Advisor, Smart Cities – to discuss smart cities, smart citizens and the priorities for the industry in 2015.

Else Kloppenborg, Special Adviser, Smart Cities City of Copenhagen

Else Kloppenborg, Special Adviser, Smart Cities City of Copenhagen

Patrick Driscoll, Smart City Lab, Denmark

Patrick Driscoll, Smart City Lab, Denmark

We start by thinking about how the smart city concept is evolving for 2015, and what the priorities for the industry should be. For Else, collaboration and flexibility are key, with cities that are “eager to develop comprehensive solutions that avoid vendor lock-in and allow flexible adaptation to changing needs over time”, with fruitful collaborations that “begin with high ambitions, based on dialogue, that make room for innovation to help us solve urban challenges of true value” to citizens. Patrick takes an alternative point of view, focusing on the complexity of urban planning and a perceived distance from citizens leading to a so-called ‘trough of disillusionment’. Therefore, he advises that industry priorities should be “1) security (sensor, network, data, critical infrastructure); 2) a strong push toward interoperability and open system standards; 3) citizen engagement, including the development of a clear governance framework concerning tracking, use of data, and most importantly the vision for why SC are the way forward”.

There has been an increasing focus on urban IoT and related services in the city, what are the reasons for this? According to Patrick, urban IoT offers “significant cost-saving potential for municipal authorities as well as the possibility for better understanding of real-time and historic patterns of material, energy, and people flows within the urban space”. Else looks at it from a service perspective: “the ambition in Copenhagen is to leverage services across sectors. We want to increase the quality of life and ensure good opportunities for growth, and generally develop our city, using for instance cheap RFID chips in the City’s own material to track it, increase security, efficient use and planning”.

“One of the truly revolutionary aspects of IoT that is under-appreciated is the ability to move past the traditional dichotomy of “dumb packages/smart networks (train networks)-smart packages/dumb networks (the Internet) to develop a “smart packages/smart networks” within the urban space that uses autonomous distributed architecture to create cheap, fault-tolerant, and resilient systems and networks” – Patrick Driscoll, Smart City Lab, Denmark

It goes without saying that the role of the citizen within the smart city is crucial, but how is this role developing? According to Else Kloppenborg, even though digital services are generally well developed in Copenhagen, “we can only do so much, using new technologies, IoT and data. Without citizens that experience added value of new services and use, for instance, new apps or share data to improve services, we will not be able to reap the full potential of what a smart city can be”. Patrick agrees that getting buy-in from citizens is vital, which is perhaps something that hasn’t been taken into account thus far: “Many of the existing SC strategies are elite- or industry-driven, leaving many citizens in the dark. This is a crucial mistake for two reasons. One is that given the potential for misuse, there will be inevitable blowback from civil society about the nature and extent of surveillance within the urban space. The European Court of Justice’s ruling on the right to be forgotten is only the beginning of a trend within the EU to value privacy over commerce. Involving citizens from the beginning is slower, but will lead to higher levels of acceptance of SC systems”.

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What makes a city resilient?

resilient cities
Originally published on the Guardian Cities website.

When it comes to addressing civic problems, one of today’s buzzwords is “resilience”. The question of the purpose of cities, and their responsibility to their citizens, is at the centre of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities programme [who are presenting a keynote session at Smart to Future Cities Summit in London]. Designed to promote urban resilience around the world, the programme will award grants to 100 cities that “have demonstrated a dedicated commitment to building their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses”. The Foundation’s support will include hiring a “chief resilience officer” for the city, as well as providing aid to develop a resilience plan and access to services to begin implementing that plan.

More than 1,000 cities registered to take part in the Resilient Cities programme, and almost 400 formally applied for inclusion. On 2 December, the foundation announced its first 33 honorees. Arrayed across six continents and 21 countries, the selected cities range from thriving megacities like Mexico City to struggling regional hubs like Rotterdam, relatively young metropolises like Porto Alegre to some of the oldest occupied areas on the planet, such as Rome. All have experienced significant setbacks that have tested their resilience, and they have all attempted to design programs and procedures to help them come to terms with their vulnerabilities.
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According to the Rockefeller Foundation’s president, Judith Rodin, the intention is to circumvent the problem of conflicting civic and cultural philosophies by focusing on solving specific problems, using flooding as an example She says: “Your city’s vulnerability to water may require an 8ft-tall dike, while another city requires natural infrastructure like archipelagoes and oyster beds. Those are very different practices, but they represent the same resilience principle, which is that you’ve got to figure out how to deal with water in a way that really works.”

Ultimately, Rodin hopes, the programme will form the basis of a “set of systematic resilience principles that are generalisable”. And, eventually, she says, the project hopes to help all cities learn to view their specific problems “through a resilience lens”.

But is it possible to trade a specific regional lens for a worldwide one? Continue reading on the Guardian Cities website… to find out more.

Elizabeth Yee, VP Strategic Partnerships and Solutions at 100 Resilient Cities, will be presenting a keynote session at Smart to Future Cities 2015. Make sure you’re there to meet her and take the opportunity to ask questions! She is one of the 50+ strong panel of speakers and 150+ attendees already registered at Smart to Future Cities Summit 2015, which promises to be the most exciting to date.

NB: early-bird solution-provider registration rate ends on 27th February  save £400+ by registering early! Cities and enterprise can claim a complimentary pass.

Smart Future Cities

Urban IoT: what is it, and what does it mean for cities and citizens?

Mit Verteilnetzautomatisierung aus einer Hand zum Smart Grid / Creating the smart grid with distribution automation from a single source

The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere. As recognised by its position at the very peak of inflated expectations on Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle for emerging technologies, and the volume of Ovum research taking it into account, anyone working in or with the technological sector in 2015 will not be able to escape it.

A high-level definition of IoT is the ability of ‘things’ (whether that be beings or objects) to be set up to communicate with each other and transfer data without human prompting. IoT-esque technology is well-established in processes such as container tracking and fleet management, but it is increasingly moving into the mainstream in many forms. In this post we’ll be discussing the dawn of urban IoT.

While urban IoT may sound like a buzzword, it is garnering enough attention to pay serious consideration to it. It was mentioned several times during the research period of the Smart to Future Cities Summit 2015, and there has been a queue of volunteers to discuss it at the event. So in the context of a smart city, what does it signify?

Firstly, a bit of background: the world’s population is increasingly urban: 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas, an increase of 58% since 1960 ; this figure is forecast to grow a further 72% by 2050. The world’s population is also increasingly connected: mobile access to the internet now exceeds fixed access, and there are more devices connected to the internet than there are people in the world . The scene for urban IoT has been set, with usage proposals on the increase.

One such use is in the energy market. Urban IoT is ready-made for the production and distribution of smart sustainable energy for the city. Energy efficiency and use of renewables is crucial for cities; what city administrations must do is evaluate different technologies and innovations for smart energy, and integrate smart grids into cities. This is where IoT comes into play – when grids ‘think’ for themselves, storing energy from renewable and traditional sources, and supplying it where appropriate and required, energy becomes more efficient, reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

Another practical use for urban IoT is in Assisted Living, specifically by exploiting IoT and ICT software to enable patients to receive medical care and support at home. Integrating smart home, telecare and smart city technologies and services will meet the needs of aging populations within cities, developing services that enable elderly people to live independently, improving their standard of living.

Central to urban IoT (and IoT generally) is the sheer amount of data generated, and management of this Big Data. This can be done by adding an intelligence layer to existing city infrastructure, and/or by building IoT frameworks in to city platforms, allowing cities to manage real time data, and effectively analyse urban data. Moreover, there is a public safety requirement: effectively managing and processing large volumes of data gives public safety personnel the optimum tools and information to respond to critical situations, enhancing city resilience. If these personnel can access data to enhance situational awareness; integrate and visualise data from different sources to identify risk; link data to first responders smart phones, their job becomes easier and a city becomes safer. The automated nature of IoT is ready-made for this application.

future smart city

These are just a few examples of how urban IoT and Smart Cities go hand in hand. What national governments and supra-national organisations have uppermost in their mind is developing standards and protocols for future city governance and IoT management. This includes creating frameworks of best practice for smart city projects, collaboration on city services, managing risks and resilience in developing smarter cities and communities, and developing a city protocol as a practical way to effectively manage urban IoT.

Over and above all this, however, we must not overlook the human factor. As IoT and wearable technology becomes more a part of the daily life of the inhabitants of cities, technological development in the fabric of the city will feel more natural to them. Therefore if urban IoT enables smart citizens in the resilient, smart city, it has met its objectives. Watch this space.

Find out more about urban IoT at Smart to Future Cities Summit 2015, London, 28-29 April, where 50+ industry leaders, including 19 global smart city case studies, will present their view of the smart city market. City/government administrations can claim a complimentary pass.

Smart Future Cities

Image accreditation 1: http://www.siemens.com/press/photo/soicsg201302-01e
Image accreditation 2: https://www.infobright.com/index.php/exactly-smart-city

First speakers announced for Smart to Future Cities 2015

london smart city

The first speakers have been announced for the 4th Annual Smart to Future Cities 2015, and the draft agenda is now available to download.

Event background

Taking place at the Waldorf Hilton in London, on 28-29 April 2015, the Smart to Future Cities conference has gone from strength to strength over recent years, charting the transition of the smart city concept from definition to implementation as IoT enables applications that benefit citizens and urban planners. In April 2014 we hosted over 250 industry experts, 80 of whom were from international city administrations.

The conference is renowned for being the right size for constructive discussion and networking where cities can talk directly to other cities; as our delegates said:

“The Smart Cities conference 2014 was an outstanding experience. Several of the conversations I had during the conference have translated into tangible projects with real outcomes” – Future Cities Lab

“There is the possibility to meet important and significant people at an event that is the right size. It is not a large expo, where you get lost in the crowd ” – Bilbao City Council

“Great line up of speakers and very insightful. I felt I was learning at the leading edge of Smart City thinking” – Milton Keynes Council

“One of the best SMART Cities event I’ve been to. A good mix of speakers and delegates.” – Happold Consulting

2015 sees the concept of Smart Cities continuing to evolve as the focus shifts to the citizen and their central place in the design of the smart city and the IoT applications and services that enable it. Services such as smart parking, mobility, energy, health, safety and security and many more are enabled by urban IoT as everything within the city becomes internet connected.

Agenda and speakers

Download the draft agenda here, to see what will be up for discussion. Our early-confirmed speakers include:

Ger Baron, Chief Technology Officer, City of Amsterdam

Cllr James Noakes, Mayoral lead for Energy and Smart City, Liverpool City Council

Geoff Snelson, Director of Strategy, Corporate Core, Milton Keynes

Petra Dalunde, Project manager and Communication Strategist at Stockholm Business Region Development, City of Stockholm

Dave Carter, Chair, European Connected Smart Cities Network – Centre for Urban Policy Studies (CUPS), Manchester, UK

Josu Santacruz, Smart Cities, Centro Informático Municipal de Bilbao (Cimubisa), Spain

Steve Turner, Head of City Policy, Manchester

Vojko Obersnel , Mayor of the City of Rijeka, Croatia

Erling Fossen, CEO – Oslo Metropolitan Area, Oslo – Norway

Else Kloppenborg, Special Adviser, Smart Cities, City of Copenhagen

Veera Mustonen, Project Leader, Smart Kalasatama, City of Helsinki

Michael McLaughlan, Programme Director, Glasgow Future Cities Demonstrator Programme

Richard Miller, Head of Sustainability, Technology Strategy Board

See-Kiong Ng, Programme Director, Institute for Infocomm Research – Singapore

Loveleen Garg, Assistant Vice President, Gujarat International Finance Tech City Co. Ltd

Ahmed Jebreel Fallatah, Telecom Project Manager, Telecoms, Royal Commission for Yanbu, Saudi Arabia

Andrew Collinge, Head of Intelligence, Greater London Authority

Shane Rooney, Executive Director, Smart Cities & Transport, GSMA

Chris Pennell, Lead Analyst, Public Sector, Ovum

SmartFutureCities_logo_2015 (2)

Portugal Doesn’t Like Entrepreneurs?

In this guest blog post, Vitor Pereira gives an insight into Portugal’s attitude to entrepreneurship, in the context of Smart Cities.

Registrations for Ovum’s Smart to Future Cities 2015 event are now open. After the great success of the 2014 event, the 4th Annual edition will take place at Waldorf Hilton on 28-29 April 2015, and offers complimentary attendance to city/government representatives.

smart cities portugal

Portugal, doesn’t like entrepreneurs?

Or, at least, it seemed that way until a few years ago. A crowd of Prophets of Doom bravely resisted the innovation, the boldness, the audacity and the risk of people who owe little or nothing to the country, but, who fell in love with it; with the Portuguese, the food, the landscape, the quality of life – only God knows what triggered so many passions among investors, foreign entrepreneurs and true leaders, which could have chosen large, “more developed” cities and countries, yet still fixed roots here, in this sunny rectangle, in the extreme south of the old continent.

I met one of these extraordinary entrepreneurs a little less than a year ago, at the Smart to Future Cities conference, which took place in London. Between the famous speakers, leaders of large global companies and even the Minister of Science and Technology of England, I heard, at some point, speak of Portugal. I hastened to check the program, but I did not see any connection nor identified a familiar name. I remain focused to the presentation and took some notes. And I was not the only one that was stuck to the theme. The entire room was following the words and explanations of that middle-aged speaker, already with many white hairs.

It was a dynamic and active presentation, which talked about a city. A new city for the future, sustainable and full of technology and latest generation services, ready for the most diverse and varied experiments, the Internet of Things, including some signed by names like McLaren or Microsoft. Yes, it was a city that would have true Formula 1 technology, adapted to buildings and utilities. Like me, many of the people present almost imagined the city. We were transported to its squares, to the laboratories and the streets teeming with the best professionals in the world in the most diverse sectors of activity. Sincerely, I was appreciating the idea. In fact, knowing that it was a great global project, which would be developed in my country, in Portugal, caused me chills of excitement and it seduced me too. I started to visualize a chronicle about the theme and then I searched for more details, even during the presentation. In the meantime, the speaker had finished talking and gave space to questions of assistance. And there were many of them. Curiosity, interest and enthusiasm. Applause and wishes for success. When I tried to speak with him personally to get more details, unfortunately he had already left. But I fixed his name: Steve Lewis.

steve lewis

Crossing the desert

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