Last week, on the 19th and 20th of June, The Lancaster Hotel in London hosted the Ovum Smart Cities Europe 2012 Conference. We from Connected Liverpool were present, and are now happy to share our experiences with you about this inspiring conference.
The conference was a collaboration between Imperial College London, Ovum and invited speakers to deliver the world’s leading cross sector forum for the exchange of knowledge related to digital cities. It emphasises the need for an integrated approach to city planning and management to build integrated cities and create urban opportunities.
After a nice welcome and introduction speech by Ovum’s director Eamonn Kennedy, Larry Hirst CBE (former Chairman IBM EMEA) took over to highlight the importance of a smart city agenda to face world problems as resource depletion and climate change as a result of urbanization. With the use of a pre-recorded video, Neelie Kroes (Vice President, Digital Agenda for Europe, European Commission) emphasized the importance of facing urbanization as cities are the home to 70% of the word population, representing 75% of our carbon footprint, 70% of our energy and a growing share of waste in addition to a continuous aging population. She defined the term ‘Smart’ as the following:
- Making better use of data through sensor infrastructures and social networks by opening up data of public administrations
- Empowering people by providing them with better information and tools to allow participation in policy making and service development
- Removing barriers between sectors like energy, transport, water and healthcare to allow collaboration and develop better services for the end consumer
- Having agreed and transparent standards to measure the net benefits of innovations to find out what is most effective
The 2-day conference was split up in breakout sessions which allowed visitors to attend speeches and panel discussions related to their area of interest. The following breakout sessions were offered:
- Energy for Digital Cities
- Transportation for Digital Cities
- Retail in Digital Cities
- Global Competitiveness Among Cities
- Healthcare in Digital Cities
- Incentivising New Consumption Behaviour in Cities
- New Business Opportunities in Digital Cities
- Managing a Smart City
Overall, the conference provided the visitors with an extensive insight in the smart city industry that the private and public sector are desperately trying to create. Smart City initiatives from all over the world were discussed and assessed such as PlanIT Valley in Portugal, PlaNYC 2030 in New York, Greenwhich in London and Seoul in South Korea.
Other topics that were covered were the unsuccessful Smart Meter initiatives, the need for a data road-map, the role of a smart infrastructure including sensor technology to derive data and transform it into usable information such as air quality, water quality and energy consumption levels, new consumer behaviour stimulated by contemporary technology and the opportunities that are being created for SME’s as a result of the smart industry.
Throughout the conference, the need to break through the silo-based structure in the public sector was often emphasized and collaboration between governmental departments and between the public and private sector was concluded to be critical.
Ovum has announced to organize more events throughout 2012, we’ll keep you posted!
The Connected Liverpool Team