Are you in Barcelona this week? You still have a chance to see the city of the future. Smart City Expo 2018 takes place in Barcelona.  The main theme is Cities To Live In  to emphasize the ultimate and common goal of smart cities: to become more habitable places.

Ugo Valenti, the director of this largest Smart City Fair, said that “as we move forward in the development of smart cities around the planet and implement smart solutions, we must take into account the fundamental motivation driving all these changes: to make cities better places to live in. It’s our responsibility, both individually and collectively, to capitalize on the tools we have at hand to transform cities and make them the best possible places for their current inhabitants and those of the future”.

The list of 844 companies taking part comprise innovative startups with “crazy” ideas and well-known giants like Alstom, Bosch, Cisco, FCC, Ferrovial, Huawei, Indra, Mastercard, McKinsey, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Engie, SAP, Siemens, Suez and Urbaser, among many others.

In 2018, in keeping with the thematic focus of the event, the congress programme is structured around five axes (Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance & Finance and Inclusive & Sharing Cities), and it addresses topics such as Data-driven Cities, 5G and the future of Connectivity, Resilient Cities, Gentrification, Innovative Transport Systems, Multi-level Governance, Sharing and Collaborative Economy, Circular Economy and Cities for All.

The main speakers at the 2018 event include Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker and economist and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, Rufus Pollock, economist and founder of Open Knowledge International, Andrew Keen, economist and author of How to Fix the Future and Cult of the Amateur, Víctor Pineda, specialist in social development and defender of the rights of the disabled, and Yochai Benkler, professor of law at Harvard University and one of the world’s leading experts in the shared economy and how the collaborative network facilitated by information technologies can have transformational consequences for the economy and society.

In 2018, the event is held jointly with Iwater, the Digital Future Society Summit and the Circular Economy European Summit, creating an unparalleled platform for the rapidly growing sustainability sector.

What was my personal highlight of the event? Is was definitely Starling Cross winning the Innovative Idea Award. I discovered Umbrellium  (abritish company that created Starling Cross) last fall. My colleagues found Starling Cross video on Youtube and decided it’s time to implement it in Frankfurt – right in front of our building.

First of all, what is it about? Starling Crossing is a real time interactive pedestrian crossing that responds dynamically to make pedestrians, cyclists and drivers safer and more aware of each other. It adapts to modern streets with a different societal relationship between road users and urban transport infrastructure. Does it sound complicated? Not really. Andrew Caleya Chetty (director of Umrellium) explained in a personal conversation that one of the biggest challenges is not to build it but to test it real world environment. Usually, one does not start testing new technology on the busiest road of the city. You need a private area with private roads. This is exactly what becomes tricky. Do you know a big factory, a port or any other private territory whose owners are willing to test Starling Cross? Let’s build the future together!


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