Connected Liverpool at Ovum Smart Cities Europe Conference 2012

Connected Liverpool was proud to contribute to the Ovum Smart Cities Europe Conference 2012 which was held in London last week. Jordy van Kuijk of our Innovation Lead, Connected Liverpool, spoke at a panel discussion about “Who Invests and Who Benefits from New Digital City Services?” under the umbrella of creating New Business Opportunities in Digital Cities within the Smart City industry.

The panel discussion was led by Don Strickland, President and CEO at Strickland & Associates and former President & CEO at iPIX, former Vice President at Apple Computer and former Vice President at Eastman Kodak. Besides Don Strickland, the following panelists joined the panel discussion:

  • Gianni Carbonaro, Head of the Municipal and Regional Unit, European Investment Bank
  • Allan Mayo, Head, Business Services Policy Unit, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Kai Hendry, Managing Director at Webconverger
  • Jordy van Kuijk, Innovation Lead, Connected Liverpool

Each panelist was given the opportunity to introduce himself and highlight his interest in the Smart City industry to continue the discussion around the main topic of Who Invests and Who Benefits from New Digital City Services?. We have asked Jordy to comment shortly on his experience within the panel.

“It was interesting to be on a panel with such inspiring figures that speak the same language and have aligned objectives to empower citizens and businesses to make use of the many commercial opportunities that the Smart City industry has to offer.

I was asked to share my vision on how technology can lead to new business opportunities within the digital city framework and specifically clarified the opportunities that are provided to us through mobile technology. Currently, with a world population of 7 billion, there are 5.9 billion mobile phones worldwide compared to the 2 billion internet users, the 1.2 billion personal computers and the 1.7 billion televisions. 16% of those 5.9 billion mobile phones are smartphones, which is predicted to grow to 1 billion smartphones by 2013. On average, people look at their phone 150 times a day (every 6 minutes) and even though not everyone can afford a smartphone, it is expected that the average price will decline from $600 (2011) to $10 dollar in 2020 as production costs will decline drastically.

Currently, 11% of the Americans are already using their smartphone to make their payments through mobile banking and contemporary technology such as NFC, RFID and Augmented Reality are given new dimensions all over the world. Through this, more and more businesses will be stimulated to start operating in this mobile technology space to develop smart applications/ mobile software that can increase people’s quality of life and assist them in their daily activities. The NFC reader that allows people in Stockholm to check-into their hotel rooms without any human contact and allows students at the Arizona State University to enter their dorms and rooms is an example of such a smart application enabled by mobile technology. This opened up a completely new market which will experience significant grow in the upcoming years providing SME’s with plenty of commercial opportunities. As this smart mobile technology will also be taxable, it also opens up a new income stream for the government. It is an exciting space to be in and I would advise any mobile technology entrepreneur to get involved”

One of the topics that was raised by the audience was the difficulty for entrepreneurs to acquire public capital to develop IT prototypes and market their innovative products and services. Entrepreneurs seem to struggle to finding public funding and even though the TSB and other public bodies are offering opportunities for funding, this is often poorly communicated with entrepreneurs.

Moreover, the aspect of ‘Trust’ was emphasized. As we are shifting towards a new era of opening up data and making government data more transparent, citizens are worrying about their privacy. Making public data available will create an important resource for SME’s as it will motivate them to make use of this data for commercial purposes. Nevertheless, clear standards of data usage will have to be established to ensure people’s privacy is guaranteed.

Overall, we were proud to be part of this exciting conference which was perfectly aligned with our own vision within Connected Liverpool. We’ll keep you posted about any new developments that will help us to build a smarter Liverpool City Region!