Cities in the Age of Platforms Create Value for All
Welcome to the Keynote series for New Horizons, the podcast channel for Huawei’s ICT Insights Magazine. Please join us as we listen to tech industry experts and thought leaders. Today we’re at the 2018 Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Spain with Federica Bordelot, Policy Advisor for EUROCITIES. She explains how city governments are forming international coalitions to navigate the new technology trends that are shaping nearly every aspect of human life. Want the whole story? Let’s listen to Federica’s speech right now.
First of all, I would like to thank Huawei for inviting EUROCITIES and me today, here.
So, just a few words about what EUROCITIES is. EUROCITIES is the network of major European Cities. We gather 140 cities in over 39 countries in Europe. We are the political platform for city mayors and leaders to speak with one voice towards the new institutions on all policies that have an impact on cities, like environment, culture, social, economic development, and of course, digital policies. In the last seven years, we have identified a number of priorities, like cities as a driver for quality jobs, like green and healthy cities. One of that is ‘smarter cities.’
We live in an era of digital platforms, where the physical public space has been transforming into a digital one, and where decisions are driven by data. This is a fact. This is something that we all know. Something that you might not know is that city mayors and leaders do recognize the importance of digital platforms and new and emerging technologies to develop better public services to have their cities as liveable and sustainable to create value and, at the same time, to great opportunities for businesses.
Here, I just want to give you two concrete examples. One is from the city of Florence. They have developed an open, urban digital platform, where they gather and they analyze a number of data from transport, mobility, public services, environment, water, et cetera, using IoT sensors and cameras. They analyze all the data, and then they develop a number of tools for city operators and decision makers alike. There’s Smart Cities dashboard, there’s smart decision support, the service map browser. This platform is called Kilometer for Cities, and that’s been developed thanks to the Horizon 2020 project.
Then they also developed a tool for final users like a number of maps. This is the example from the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. There they have a street full of pubs and bars, which is called Stratumseind. There, in that street, they have also a living lab. That living lab is a physical place there where they monitor and they look at a number of data as well — from weather, from mobility as well, et cetera. They collaborate a lot with the local police to detect a number of risky situations and to immediately let them intervene when necessary.
Of course, all these cities they do, they work a lot. But if you work alone, you might go fast. But if you work together, of course you go much further. Here is the EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum. This is one of the forums within EUROCITIES that brings together digital leaders, digital experts in cities to work together on a number of priority areas. This Green Digital Chapter is another EUROCITIES initiative I would talk to you later.
The Knowledge Society Forum has identified the number of priorities. These are those that are here listed as working groups, so data standards and interoperability, and then the involvement, the engagement of citizens through digital technologies. But they have recently launched a new task force called Urban Digital Foresight, or Technological Foresight. This task force has, as a main objective, to look at the new technological trends and developments, and the impact that they have in cities. Cities’ digital experts are meeting to discuss the impact that they might have on this, and to identify a number of concrete future and emerging technologies. At the last meeting a month ago in Zaragoza, they have identified IoT, artificial intelligence, robotics, and blockchain as the main four new, emerging technologies to look at the attention and to work on in the next two years.
The Green Digital Chapter, briefly, is another EUROCITIES initiative. This is a political initiative. Fifty-three mayors signed to commit to deploy five large-scale ICT projects within five years, to decrease the carbon footprint of ICT of 30 percent within 10 years, and then to work together, to collaborate with other signatory cities. In the last four years, they have developed also a number of publications to collect all case studies and examples of Smart City solutions.
We also collaborated with a number of other organizations and initiatives. First of all, the Urban Agenda for E.U. and the Digital Transition Partnership there. The Urban Agenda is an initiative that brings together the cities, the local authorities, the member states, and the EU, the European Commission, to work together to find solutions to a number of different challenges and problems. There are very different partnerships on different topics.
One of the partnerships is the Digital Transition Partnership. There an action plan has been developed, and 15 actions have been identified to be implemented in the next two years. The actions are grouped into this domain. We also work a lot with a number of other international organizations. Also they work on the cities’ initiative that was mentioned before.
Cities work a lot, they do a lot, But of course when you do a lot, then you encounter also a number of challenges. I’m thinking about security. I’m thinking about data privacy and protection, creation of jobs, and digital skills. I would like just to focus on the data privacy and protection, and just to present to you the latest work developed by the data working group within the Knowledge Society Forum. This is a work, it’s a declaration on cities and data principles. They are working towards this declaration.
They identified cities and data are personal and non-personal data, directly or indirectly generated in the public space, through IoT, telecom networks, cameras, and so on. They want to develop this list of principles because they really believe that those data are very important to create value for all. They want to collaborate. Cities, the local government, wants to collaborate with all other levels of government and in partnership with businesses to develop new business models to create value for all. Then collaboration is the key for success. Let’s collaborate. Thank you so much.
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Federica Bordelot is an advisor on digital and innovation policies for EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities. She has extensive experience in building and developing relations between governments, organizations and other stakeholders.