- Green Digital Charter
- Signatory cities
5 days @CeBIT
This year, the CeBIT show lasted between 20 and 24 March, and was entirely dedicated to the digitalisation of the world economy. From cloud technology and cybersecurity to robotics, drones and the Internet of Things (IoT), this gigantic fair showcased the latest and best products and services in the digital market.
The Smart City Forum’s stand was located in one corner of the Public Sector Parc. Coordinated by the Urban Software Institute [ui!], the whole area was dedicated to smart city projects being developed in collaboration with German cities, universities, and/or companies.
Also represented were private partners from Cologne and Munich involved in the Smarter Together and GrowSmarter ‘lighthouse’ projects, and in the Hamburg-centred Horizon 2020 funded MySmartLife and reTHINK projects.
Under the ‘EUROPA’ banner, another stand was allocated to the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC), where three Horizon 2020-funded projects introduced themselves:
- the Green Digital Charter (GDC/GuiDanCe) initiative
- the CITYkeys performance measurement framework
- the ESPRESSO project (the acronym stands for systEmic StandardisationapPRoach to Empower Smart citieS and cOmmunities)
Over five days, visitors (mostly from industry) could obtain information on the EIP-SCC market place in general and the urban platforms in particular. Urban platforms are technological infrastructures by which cities manage data flows across their systems (sensors, cloud services, mobile devices, analytics, social media and many more). These networks help European cities manage the vast amount of data collected by public service operations and sensors (Internet of Things).
Scores of flyers were handed out at that stand to explain the Green Digital Charter/GuiDance, CITYkeys, and ICTFOOTPRINT.EU projects. The 2016 collection of GDC case studies and our two handbooks on the CITYkeys framework were also available to inform visitors.
We need common and open standards
On 19 March, the opening ceremony was attended by Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, partner country of CeBIT 2017, and Angela Merkel, chancellor of host country Germany. In his keynote address, Abe emphasised the importance of education and of common technology standards. “Together, let us develop common curricula and common standards”, he said.
Common standards are key to the interoperability of different systems, and they make all smart city solutions scalable, replicable, and efficient. The CITYkeys project offers a measurement framework based on open standards and formats, which is an invaluable tool for cities aiming to improve their local decision making processes and to cooperate at European level. The key performance indicators (KPIs) developed by the CITYkeys partners have been endorsed by the ESPRESSO project, which develops a standardised integrated framework for smart cities.
Smart Cities Focus
Just around the corner, where a humble lamp post offered visitors free wifi access, students from the Technische Universität of Berlin presented a simulation table designed to visualise patterns for collaborative urban planning. Through its ‘Conscious City’ project, the university’s architectural design and urban planning group CHORA intends to demonstrate how games and other platforms can help us co-create our urban environment.
Visitors could attend a number of conferences and sessions on ‘smart urbanism’, where the speakers elaborated on the concepts and technologies behind the drive to develop safe, clean, and efficient cities. Most of these, however, targeted German speakers only.Those curious to know what ‘smart city’ means outside the EU’s borders could attend a lecture delivered by Andrey Belozerov, deputy CIO of the city of Moscow. The recording of his thought-provoking address, entitled ‘Cities – new key drivers of digitalisation’, is available at http://www.cebit.de/event/cities-new-key-drivers-of-digitalization/KEY/74913.
Digital technologies provide great opportunities for cities to improve their local urban planning practices, and help them go a long way toward becoming sustainable, green, and inclusive. What this year’s CeBIT has confirmed again is that much depends on how we use these fast-evolving and omnipresent technologies, tools, gadgets and gizmos.. The event also left visitors wonder if the ‘rest of the world’ is ready to catch up with Europe just yet.