Smart cities pioneer Barcelona hosted another edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress. The organizers shared a wealth of information and inspiration on the next act of the smart city play.
With close to 600 exhibitors, over 400 speakers, representatives from more than 600 cities and far over 16,000 visitors, Smart City Expo World Congress 2016 was a success and showed the continuous attention for smart cities overall.
The theme of the 2016 edition was “Cities for Citizens, Citizens Changing Cities”, setting the tone for an increasing focus on the next steps and realities of smart cities from the human and practical perspective.
Moving from technology and questions to outcomes and answers
The idea of smart cities is known, the technological picture becomes clearer, the questions are abundant and now it’s time to look at the real challenges and drivers which are needed for the next ‘act’ in the smart city ‘play’ as Jerry Hultin, chairman of the advisory board of the Smart City Expo World Congress, called it.
Referring to Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s ‘gun’ principle (“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”), Hultin said that in the smart city ‘play’ the gun is the technology.
And, although technologies were obviously omnipresent at Smart City Expo World Congress 2016, the call to focus on what to do in the next two acts with the gun was clear. Technology was/is the first act and came with challenges and human and practical/ethical/financial questions (“who pays for this?”, “is it really going to improve lives?”, “what about my data?” and “where do I start?”, to name a few).
The next acts are about answering those questions and sharing lessons, visions and the real-life applications and implications of smart cities.
And that’s the discussion which mart City Expo World Congress 2016 focused on a lot. Expect similar discussions, obviously with the inevitable technologies, at the edition 2017 of the event.
Check out the YouTube video including the opening remarks and ‘Cities for Citizens, Citizens Changing Cities’ topic with chairman of the advisory board Jeremy Hultin.