Smart City Offers Significant New Opportunity
Who will you meet?
Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.
Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.
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
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.
Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
People seem frequently to assume that the terms “sustainability” and “resilience” are synonyms, an impression reinforced by the frequent use of the term “climate resilience”, which seems to enmesh both concepts firmly. In fact, while they frequently overlap, and indeed with good policy and planning reinforce one another, they are not the same. This article picks them apart to understand where one ends and the other begins, and where the “sweet spot” lies in achieving mutual reinforcement to the benefit of disaster risk reduction (DRR).
As extreme weather conditions become the new normal—from floods in Baton Rouge and Venice to wildfires in California, we need to clean and save stormwater for future use while protecting communities from flooding and exposure to contaminated water. Changing how we manage stormwater has the potential to preserve access to water for future generations; prevent unnecessary illnesses, injuries, and damage to communities; and increase investments in green, climate-resilient infrastructure, with a focus on communities where these kinds of investments are most needed.
A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness. One theme stood out to me more than any other. The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans. Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.
While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?