Smart Cities – 5 insights from expert speakers at the International Smart City Conference @ DigitaleWoche Kiel.

September 24, 2019

Last week I hosted the Smart Cities Conference on the waterfront in Kiel where 22 speakers came together from 10 different countries. In this blog I share with you the advances in autonomous driving technology, how smart city scale-up is being planned and why a Digital City Twin might solve many common urban challenges.

It seems every effort was made to make delegates at the Smart City Conference @ Digitale Woche Kiel 2019 feel welcome. Delegates and speakers arrived from over 10 countries, including San Francisco, Gdynia, Barcelona, Brest and Aarhus – all ‘sister cities’ of Kiel. The event was necessarily in English, but there was a live translation booth with headphones on every seat so that the 120 members of the audience could engage.

So, what were the key takeaways from the Smart City Conference in Kiel 2019?

  1. Critical to the overall success of Smart Cities is Open Standards and Open Data. One of the platforms presented were co-hosts FiWare Foundation, who specialise in supporting ventures with open source building blocks and knowledge sharing.
  2. Self-driving cars are coming – fast. $80bn has been invested in the technology to date by 80+ companies with licenses to test vehicles in California. Keynote speaker Mario Herger, expert in the sector, claims that the last person to take a driving test has already been born. The number of ‘Disengagements per miles driven’ (i.e. when the computer driving the car needs to ‘hand back’ to a human driver) has now dropped to 18,000km driven per disengagement for the most advanced technology.
  3. Based on current trends, 64% of new vehicles registered in Germany will be electric. Given that the electric motors have 19 working parts compared to 2000 in a diesel engine, there is going to be significant disruption to the automotive supply chain (and therefore required skills) in the next decade.
  4. MIMs are important! Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms have been developed by Open & Agile Smart Cities association (OASC) through an EU funded program bringing together 140 cities on a global scale. The three MIMs combine to enable open and smart cities through common infrastructure and frameworks for Smart City interoperability. In short, based on the MIMs, innovations can easily be shared between international cities.
  5. A Digital Twin refers to a digital replica of physical asset and so a City Digital Twin could be used to collate data, visualise challenges and implement solutions. The concept is similar to BIM standards in the construction sector that enable life-long building management. Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence can be used to enhance the planning and management of Smart Cities.
  6. People are at the heart of every Smart City and Community and solutions do not necessarily have to be digital. The key is to make life easier for all stakeholders (citizens, businesses, public administration and service providers) and take advantage of digital solutions where it makes sense.

In summary

The Smart City Project is preparing for the scale-up phase. As one speaker put it: “There have been hundreds of pilots, now we need thousands of collaborative projects.”

Feedback and Questions

Author: Alex Chalkley, Venturenomix Director. If you require grant writing support, business plan advice or strategy guidance for your impact project, then don’t hesitate to contact us.

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