Tag Archives: portugal

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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The new industrial and communication revolution of Smart Cities

A guest Smart Cities blog post by Vitor Pereira. We’re closing in on Ovum’s Smart to Future Cities event, taking place in London on April 29-30. We’ve got representatives from 40+ global cities and administrative boroughs on the attendee list – make sure you’re there too.

The new industrial and communication revolution of Smart Cities

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(Source: irvingcommons.org)

We have observed over the past couple of years that themes related to Smart Cities have been on the rise. In 2013, for example, it was noted that it was a turning point. The emphasis of the speech was focused on the analysis of the meaning of “Smart City”, in the perception of the current state and concepts implementation phase, including market viability in the certification of many of these same concepts.

We realize that there has been a huge effort, especially on behalf of the industry and of the main economic agents in the market, in disseminating their solutions, finding partnerships in cities and within the territories, going back to 4 or 5 years ago, when huge projects of Smart Cities occupied many towns and many newspapers pages. However, as paper airplanes, many of these projects have been unsuccessful, inadequate, perhaps excessively megalomaniac, without proper intelligence or financial sustainability in their planning, guidance, implementation and monitoring. Many of them were in ineffective. But they had a contribution. They paved the way for the actual scenario. They forced the industry and key economic agents to assume a more responsible role in organizing the concepts and their implementation.

Also the institutional partners, such as Governments and cities, with the integration of some sustainability objectives in their plans of action, put aside many of the infamous megalomanias of the past years. Many of the major world cities today references in the panorama of Smart Cities chose the path of creativity and offered an active role to citizens and, not least, also opened paths of innovation and economic development, through the focus on entrepreneurship, startups and private projects, even more fundamental, promoting partnerships with small and medium enterprises already in possession of know-how accumulated over the years and because of their small size and flexibility, many of them managed to stay floating during the turbulent waters of the recent crisis. They evolved in a sustainable way, hired the right professional staff and managed to also perform and demonstrate some relevant projects that are of utmost importance nowadays.

On the other hand, universities and educational institutions also noticed the need, in many cases to join efforts in research and development of new products that effectively adjust to the real world, to cities and citizens.

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