Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona

First day of the congress started – here are some quotes that perfectly fit my theory that Smart City is not about innovation of technology but about a revolutionary approach in organizational structures….

Keynote
Kent Larson, Principal Research Scientist and Director of the Changing Places Group, MIT Media Lab, Department of Architecture and Media Lab, Cambridge, USA:

* ‘We developed cities in segmented areas over time and realize the limitation of this concept. Segments are not made to scale.’
* Buildings originally were constructed like skeletal systems and progressed to structures that add blood circulation to the bones. ‘I think next stage is comparable to the nervous system of a body.’ The implementation of sensors make data available and actionable information possible. Challenge is to get acceptance of people – young people love it, baby boomers not so much. Therefore the transformation process to smart solutions will be a bottom up approach over time.
* ‘People, especially young people increasingly prefer to share and use than possess.’ referring to the cover story of The Economist.
* From the audience the question how to commercialize the impressive technology shown was raised. Larson’s idea is to encourage students from MIT and other academia to set up startup companies. These startups than need to be fed into large corporations for them to roll out large scale solutions. ‘Governance should encourage this.’.

Plenary session “IT city integrated vision”
* Chris Vein, Chief Innovation Officer for Global Information and Communication Technology Development, World Bank, Washington DC, USA quoted Mike Bracken / UK: ‘”In an analog world policy dictates delivery. In a digital world delivery informs policy.” This entails a whole new way of organising our business processes.’ – Exactly! – Couldn’t have said that any better 😉

Plenary session “The Future of urban Sustainability”
Amitabh Kant, CEO & managing director, Delhi and Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation, New Delhi, India:
* ‘Horizontal integration is key to urban development – this is difficult for retrofitting, much easier in greenfield. {…} Segmented urbanisation is dead.’
* ‘Technology is not the ultimate solution. Technology has to harnest the people. People make it a vibrant city, not technology. Emerging countries have an advantage and are the ones to make a sustainable planet.’
* ‘Smart City, Connected City, Intelligent City Concepts – are all dead, if corporations like IBM, Siemens, Schneider – all the big ones that exhibit here today – continue to supply in silos! You need a revolutionary approach.’

Sylvie Spalmacin-Roma, IBM, Vice President, Smarter Cities, Europe:
* ‘Data becomes a natural resource in itself. {…} Cities across the world are mainly structured in silos. This is not a bad thing, as you need experts in the segments. But for sustainable development data needs to be used across segments.’
* ‘Many cities move to horizontal organization to make use and integrate data available. This was the bases for the Rio project.’
* ‘Coming back to your (Amitabh Kant) point of corporations working in silos: There is a need of combination of public and political players. Municipalities can help private companies to understand the needs and work together.’
Factual-, observational- and social media data can now be integrated and put into actionable data. Motivation for cities to do so is to reduce operational cost. This can easily be done by analysing data available. Innovative projects can then be paid out of the savings.

Moderator Cristiana Fragola, C40, regional director Europe, Milan, Italy:
* ‘I think it is common understanding of this panel that a smart city first of all is about integration, integration, integration. Even before upgrading aged infrastructure.’

Sam Adams, Managing Director, City Club of Portland, Portland, USA:
* Political top ranking issue should be: ‘Set goals! Set goals what kind of city you want to be. Only afterwards use technology to achieve these goals.’ Currently the focus is on technology and implementing solutions without necessarily paying to a big picture.

Larry Ng Lye Hock, Urban Design Director, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore:
New developments now put sociologists in first place rather than architects and city planners.

More to come 😉

The shifting global business landscape

http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/Urbanization/Urban_world_The_shifting_global_business_landscape?cid=other-eml-alt-mgi-mck-oth-1310

Asia and Africa are not only the regions of highest population growth but also changing global market places. With their high pace of urbanisation, development of consumption power and increasingly skilled labor it is most likely that the global business landscape will change.
Emerging countries set the scene for either new business areas for established corporations or a threat of existing business when these markets are ignored. Especially when having the economic slow down of developed markets in North America and Europe in mind. According to McK large corporations will rise in the emerging world and impact the dynamics of global competition.

Is the living-lab Europe too self-confident?

Based on some insights from the “2013 Shanghai Intelligent Building Expo” urbanisation really takes up pace in China. Over the next 20 yeras urban population is predicted to increase by 350mio. There are plans to newly build 50,000 skyscrapers and 170 underground transportation systems.
Energy efficiency is the most critical factor in the chinese urbanisation process as the building sector stands for approx 40% of the total energy consumption.

It will be interesting to observe what solutions will be tested and rolled out for the intelligence of a building e.g. automation, HVAC, lighting, elevation as well as its substance e.g. construction, isolation, energy supply.
Will solutions be developed in China and exported to Europ and North America? Will chinese companies buy into the european market e.g. with M&A or sponsored pilot projects (like Toshiba in France) or will it be the other way round?
So far, listening to stakeholders in Europe, there is the manifest belief, that Europe is the living lab for the golbal future.

Learning about the ambitious chinese plans the self-consciousness of “established” multi-nationals might be a bit too self-confident.

Successfactor “City Management”

The high youth unemployment in southern Europe on the one hand and the demand for young professionals in northern Europe on the other shows, that the existing silo mentality lead to a dead end road. The traditional, segment focussed way led to the situation as we see it today – that applies for the supranational level as well as cascading down on national, regional and municipal level.

The self-concept of german towns is expressed in the termination applied. Authorities “administer” rather than “manage” or “create” city (“Stadt’verwaltung’” instead of “Stadt’gestaltung’” or “Stadt’management’”).
Asian cities are more streamlined and top down organized, e.g. Singapore.
New York has an office for “long-term planning” this is institutionalisation of sustainability.
However there is an indicator that this “business logic” is changing as cities in Germany and Austria start setting up own companies to handle sustainable projects.

It is time to open the minds for new ways forward as we see where the silo mentality has led.

Successfactor “Masterplan”

Cities are keen on attracting and maintaining tax payers. Therefore “marketing” the smartness of a town becomes increasingly important. However like in every good marketing campaign there needs to be a set goal and strategy how to achieve it. Therefore Smart Urbanism starts with a masterplan for Smart City.

Having defined the goal “sustainability”, some cities did that already 10 years ago, is not enough, the roadmap towards it is key. Like in a good marketing campaign any action has to contribute to the overall goal in an integrated way. The many initiatives on municipal side and bottom up approaches from citizens (and industry) hardly follow the rule “the whole is more than the sum of its components”. Examples where such initiatives lack visibility in a big picture happen e.g. in Stuttgart, Mannheim. Approaches need to be integrated and coordinated by e.g. defined KPI for sustainable development. A good example of that marketing analogy is the Smart City of Amsterdam. Tokio has a 10 point masterplan for disasterous prevention and boost economic growth, having de-regulations and tax benefits.

Having a masterplan and milestones could also help industry to cope with the fragmented structure on city side and help find more easily ways to scale solutions.

Drivers for Smart City policy

Any external event is a driver for sustainable development, e.g.
• “Fukushima” Nuclear disaster in Japan – made clear the dependency on energy
• Tsunami 2006 in Thailand; “Sandy” flood in New York – made clear the need for predictive systems
• Citizen protests in Freiburg against Nuclear power station; Stuttgart 21 against the rebuilding of the station – made clear the need for early citizen envolvement

CISCO “…Barcelona … largest transformational projects…”

According to Wim Elfrink, chief globalization officer at Cisco, published by McKinsey in “The smart-city solution”, October 2012, “Europe is leading the way, especially when it comes to revitalizing older cities. The economic regeneration of Barcelona is one of the largest transformational projects under way in Europe at the moment. The city’s revitalization agenda has so far created 45,000 jobs and attracted around 1,500 new companies.“