Smart Cities Week planned for September 27-29 in Washington, DC is a perfect opportunity to continue discussions initiated at our World Smart City Forum. Goals of the event are explained by the Smart Cities Council Founder and Chairman, Jesse Berst:
Progress is made when leaders meet. That’s why I want to extend my personal invitation for you to join other leaders at Smart Cities Week, September 27-29, in Washington, DC.
We urgently need to make further progress together. Yes, we’ve come a long ways. Most market researchers say the smart cities sector is nearing $1 trillion in annual revenues and growing at a robust 20% per year.
Yet most urban residents — billions of them around the world — still live without the benefits that smart technologies can bring. Only with the help of those technologies can we make our cities more livable AND more workable AND more sustainable. As Neelie Kroes said when she was Vice President of the European Commission:
“Those of us living in cities need to make sure they are smart. Nothing else makes sense. And nothing else is such a worldwide economic opportunity.”
Each year, the Smart Cities Council chooses three words to emphasize. I’d like to share our three themes for 2016. I hope you will keep them in mind as you listen to best practices during the Smart Cities Week conference sessions. And as you review the astonishing innovations that will be shown on the exhibition floor.
Connectivity. To be a smart city, you must have citywide connectivity. For your citizens, of course, but also for your sensors and devices. Until and unless you have that connectivity, you cannot reap the full benefits. Citywide connectivity is not a “nice to have.” It is an essential. It is your city’s entry fee into the race to attract jobs and talent.
Climate. With this year’s Paris accords, cities are more committed than ever to carbon reduction. But no city can reach its climate goals without the help of smart technologies. As you are reviewing the many options you will see at Smart Cities Week, please be sure to evaluate their energy efficiency and carbon reduction benefits.
Compassion. Billions of people struggle with poverty, homelessness, disabilities and other challenges. Smart city technologies cannot end those problems all by themselves. But they are the best tools we’ve yet come up with to help those less fortunate. As you make your smart city decisions this year, please remember to create “ladders of opportunity” for the disadvantaged.
I have one final thing to ask. Please consider teaming with the Smart Cities Council. If you are just embarking, please take advantage of the free guides, case studies and other resources at SmartCitiesCouncil.com. If you seek guidance, please contact us to learn about our Readiness Assessments, Readiness Workshops and Readiness Plans. If you are actively building smart city projects, please share your lessons learned and best practices.
If we want to fix our planet, we must fix our cities. Please help us help cities.