Smart City Offers Significant New Opportunity

By Dave Hahn

Dave Hahn is the Director of Digital Strategy for Meeting of the Minds.

Oct 18, 2013 | Announcements | 0 comments

An article from Mary Allen at InsightaaS.com covers a broad range of topics and themes from last month's Meeting of the Minds 2013 in Toronto — especially the use of connected technology to create smarter, more sustainable cities. She gave special notice to the talk by Wim Elfrink, Chief Globalization Officer for Cisco Systems, excerpted above.

‘Smart City’ is putting on new cloths as the concept expands to address multiple challenges in sustainable development for a growing number of constituencies. Conceived originally by urban theorists as an assessment of urban performance based on measure of a city’s arsenal of physical infrastructure and human and social capital, the term now speaks to academics, policy-makers, citizens and industry across a range of disciplines. Many of these were on hand at the 7th annual Meeting of the Minds event held in Toronto this month, to add their perspective, share best practices and identify new potential for the creation of equitable, living urban organisms.

A key theme at this year’s Meeting of the Minds event – and a hallmark of the evolution of the smart city concept – is the progress towards this goal through the application of information and communications technologies. In this enablement process, the private sector plays a critical role, primarily through the supply of digital and communications technologies needed to power intelligent municipal collaboration and better management of energy, water, transport, buildings and other urban infrastructures. Representatives from private industry were out in force at the conference, with sponsors Toyota, Cisco, Schneider Electric, Bombardier, IBM, Itron and Jones Lang LaSalle onsite at the Evergreen Brickworks to showcase the latest tech innovation. For these and other ICT companies, smart city offers significant new opportunity: a market review released in Q1 2013 by Navigant Research, “forecasts that the smart city technology market will grow from $6.1 billion annually in 2012 to $20.2 billion in 2020.”

But how can a company market to a concept that continues to undergo seismic shift as it grows to accommodate new challenges and changing stakeholders? One answer for vendors that want to do business with smart cities is reinvention – a corresponding shift in principles of demand creation and marketing approach. These were also on display at Meeting of Minds.

Cisco is especially adept in this regard, and sent its chief globalisation officer, Wim Elfrink, to envision the use case(s) for advanced ICT in urban environments. According to Elfrink, demographic change is requiring real productivity improvements if we are to maintain our current standard of living. At the same time, population explosion and huge in-migration to cities, in developing regions in particular, are creating huge demand for more infrastructure. To meet this demand, he explained, “you have to think differently” about the “virtualization of education,” the ”virtualization of healthcare,” and the ”virtualization of work,” taking advantage of the Internet of Everything, or the digital connection of people, processes, data and things, to generate alternatives to physical infrastructure.

Excerpts from Elfrink’s visualization exercise are available in the accompanying video here; and concrete “iconic” examples of the application of Cisco’s Smart + Connected Communities concept were offered up in Elfrink’s presentation, notably, Rio de Janeiro’s use of networking technologies to coordinate management of city systems in an Integrated Operations Centre, and new for Canada, implementation of a Cisco WiFi mesh at the Toronto Waterfront development to enable new levels of collaboration and service delivery in this intelligent community project. Another example he provided is Nice, which has implemented smart parking, lighting, waste management and environmental monitoring, using Cisco infrastructure and other technologies to achieve savings of 30 percent in energy consumption, 50 percent in water, a 20 percent reduction in crime rates and a 30 percent reduction in traffic congestion.

Continue reading: Meeting of the Minds showcases private sector role in Smart City by Mary Allen, October 10, 2013

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Change the Rules of Housing and Let Tiny Houses & ADUs Flourish

Right-sized living is far from a new idea. The architect Le Corbusier was a pioneer, from his cabanon at the Cote d’Azur to the super-efficient and well-designed density of Unite d’Habitation. This was a good idea then, as it is now. This is a classic case of the importance of the underlying rules of the game – the land use regulations, zoning, and building codes that guide our built environment. These more technical matters aren’t nearly as sexy as the shelter porn in Dwell magazine. But you can’t have one without the other.

5 Ways to Democratize Access to Clean Energy Technology

California recently became the second state to pass a 100% clean energy standard, three years after Hawaii passed a similar law. As the fifth largest economy in the world, California has a tall order to fill in terms of making the transition to clean energy. How can California, and other states that wish to follow suit, fulfill this ambitious task? They will need to provide affordable, relevant, and accessible energy options to every one of its residents, prioritizing those who have historically been overlooked and left out of the clean energy conversation due to economic circumstance or social inequity.

7 Recommendations from Health and Transportation Focus Groups

Planners, engineers, and public health professionals all speak different languages. They may even use different terms to express similar ideas: for example, a planner may recommend tactical urbanism to improve neighborhood walkability, whereas an engineer may ascribe experimental countermeasure terminology to the same scenario, and a public health professional may view the solution in terms of an intervention. And community members may find all these terms unintelligible. In our focus groups, we heard that practitioners need to “get people on the same page” because of the differences we carry in our heads about transportation concepts.