Everything You Need To Know About The Smart City Expo World Congress 2019
From the 19th to the 21st of November, The Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 took place in Barcelona. Hosted in a smart city, the event showcased the initiatives, products and thought leaders at the forefront of the smart city revolution. With a mix of keynote speeches, interactive exhibitions and side events, visitors gained an insight into the future of day to day living. Let's explore the definition of a smart city, a rundown of this year's event and what attendees enjoyed from the 2018 convention.
What is a smart city?
Put simply; smart cities are the future. For a location to be considered "smart", it needs to take advantage of communicative technology to improve the quality of life for citizens. Such benefits can include decreased traffic congestion and increased safety. These cities are connected through information and communication technology, and rely on big data services to evaluate large amounts of data at a time.
According to Vice President Research at Gartner, Bettina Tratz-Ryan:
"Our definition of smart cities is around how you become efficient at optimizing certain technologies or operations or infrastructures. How you can start to share outcome or best practices with each other and generate not just best practices but generate citizen outcome or context. The contextual services where you don't only look at a citizen but you look at a person with individual needs or business groups with very specific needs. That constitutes a smart city."
One example of smart city technology is parking sensors that can decrease traffic congestion. Through an app, citizens can easily see which parking spaces are available without having to manually drive around and slow the flow of traffic. From autonomous vehicles fitted with sensors to air pollution trackers that improve public safety, the social and economic benefits of improving transport services are endless.
What happened at last year's event?
With 21,331 visitors, 844 exhibitors and over 400 speakers, the Smart City Expo World Congress 2018 was bigger and better than the previous year. According to their report, since the convention started in 2014 with only 10,838 attendees, the amount of visitors has doubled - a testament to the event's success. Visitors travelled from all over the world to hear the smart city experts make predictions for future trends, with 97% reporting that they will return for the following event.
The event also practices what it preaches, by making great strides towards being more sustainable. Organisers banned single use plastics saving 266.2 kg of plastics, offset its carbon footprint by buying Verified Emission Reduction Carbon Credits, was completely paperless, recycled 5,740 kg of waste and reused the leftover decor, like the carpets.
The layout of the expo was sectioned by 80 locations who each had their own pavilion, giving the cities the chance to showcase their smart city initiatives. Over the course of 117 smart city keynote speaker sessions, The Congress boasted 30 thematic programmes presented by industry thought leaders, who each had a different take on smart cities. The conference also hosted an awards event that recognised seven speakers for their contribution to the cities of the future.
Chairwoman of High-Level Advisors to Commissioner Carlos Moedas, Darie Tataj, described her experience of the event:
“I was thrilled to be at the Smart City Expo World Congress. There are so many ideas from all around the world, so many great thought leaders bravely touching upon the issues that are so hard to solve for anyone living in cities... I encourage every city and every business who wants to do good for the world to come to next year’s edition.”
The 2019 Smart City Expo World Congress
The 2019 Smart City Expo World Congress promised to pioneer the future of everyday life. With an emphasis on sustainability, unity and innovation, it opened discussions between technology industries, entrepreneurs, stakeholders and policymakers, to ensure inclusivity and solve security concerns. The event acted as an epicentre for experts of all sectors, bringing them together to pave the way for future smart cities.
Organisers of the event endeavour to "empower cities and collectivize urban innovation across the globe", as described by the convention's website. They believe that the only way to push the boundaries of city living is to encourage collaboration between all areas of society, from citizens to business owners, government to academics. Continuing 2018's pledge, it created as little waste as possible and promoted inclusivity for all voices.
The event featured hundreds of guest speakers, each leading experts in their field. They discussed such topics as the urban environment, governance and finance, digital transformation and inclusive cities, as well as offered an insight into all traits of a smart city. These speakers are passionate about generating synergy and inspiring thought-provoking discussion, to prompt attendees to think out of the box. Their invaluable knowledge is a powerful spark of change.
The key speakers at the 2019 event: Janette Sadik-Khan - The Principle of Transportation at Bloomberg Roland Busch - The Deputy CEO & CTO of Siemens Laura Tenenbaum - Climate Change & Scientific Communicator at NASA Benedetta Tagliabue - The Director of Miralles Tagliabue EMBT Shira Rubinoff - The President of SecureMySocial & Prime Tech Partners