November 25, 2012

Smart Open Cities? Thoughts from the Smart City Expo

It is been more than a week since the second edition of the Smart City Expo & World Congress ended in Barcelona. Three days in which top thinkers and business leaders from all over the world met to discuss about the last tendencies in technologies applied to urban management.

I had the opportunity to attend some of the sessions and also to meet colleagues from all over the world with whom I shared very interesting and fruitful discussions, most of them in parallel events and dinners organised last minute (but those are always the best meetings, right?).

As expected and announced, the congress was a completely business-oriented experience in which enterprises in the Smart City business had the opportunity to meet cities from all over the world in a perfect exhibition space. The stands area proved to be a store window to showcase Smart City solutions with even Smart Plaza area in which solutions from gold sponsors were shown in what was thought to be the recreation of a live square.

Among other topics discussed in the several sessions, there was the common opinion that the ultimate solution for Smart Cities is a urban platform, a concept under which lies the idea, in simple words, that cities can be controlled by a single management system that will collect city data from different sources, display it in visual maps or models and help city executives take the right management decisions with the maximum and most accurate information.

Much can be argued about the simplicity, suitability and resiliency of such unique technological solutions. However, in this post I would like to raise the attention on the adequacy of adopting open solutions and standards for the interconnection of such platforms between cities.

In a context of increasing recollection of data coming from many sources, there is the need of creating solutions to standardise these sources for the sake of compatibility but also to facilitate the work of enterprises and developers that aim at developing products and services of public interest for cities. This, which seems quite obvious in differents systems inside the same city, makes also big sense when talking about different cities. Would you imagine being a developer and being able to develop an application that would work at different cities at the same time using a single standard?

City Protocol
This is what the world initiative City Protocol, launched during the Smart City Expo aims at doing: the creation of common approaches, standards and solutions in partnership with industry, research agencies and other organisations to help cities build a sustainable future. This is indeed the most promising initiative presented during the expo, and the one that will attract more attention during the following months due to the high expectations created.
At European level there are also some projects working in this sense. One of them is CitySDK which searches for a unique service development kit that can be used at least with the seven European cities participating in the project. Another one is Commons for Europe that fosters the creation of large bases of code commons that can be shared between cities and is behind the creation of the organisation Code for Europe, the European version of Code for America.

As you can see, many interesting stuff is happening... 

1 comment:

  1. Completely agree... This blog listed smart city challenges very nicely. Here I want to share information on smart city solutions. Thanks