Thursday, May 3, 2012

Smart Cities: Selling Smart or Smart Selling!

Smart Cities

On 23 and 24 April, I attended the "Arab Future Cities Summit - Qatar - Smart Solutions for Sustainable Cities".
The link to the summit is:

"Industry analysts estimate the Smart City Market will touch $2.1 trillion by 2020 and the Middle east market seems to be taking an active role in investing in their future. Spends of over $63 Billion in the next 5 years in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE alone, is proof of realization of a need to create an integration of technology and economic development." (SITES  Construction)


The issues of SMART cities was discussed at different levels. Here are some comments on my conclusions from this conference.

What is SMART city?

The main question was what do mean by "SMART"? What is "smart" and what is "not smart"? What is "sustainable" and what is "not sustainable"? How can we change our "Existing" cities to "Smart" cities?

I tried to come up with the following definitions using the letters forming the word SMART:

S - Sustainable

M - Management

A - Awareness

R - Regulations
T - Technology

The last session was round table discussions on:
1- Smart ICT
2- Smart Energy
3- Smart Government 

3- Smart Government discussions:

How is the government paving the way?
What does the government want from private sector?
- Different rating systems in different countries.
- Regulations and Legislation
- Active planning
- Coordination between different governmental entities
- Lack of consultation
- Participation: Stakeholders and Public
- Clear strategy
- Pre-planning
- Implementation
- Responsibilities
- Capacity building
- education: university and pre-university education
- Creating awareness
- Quality of life
- e-government
- Freedom of information
- Transparency
- Knowledge
- Sharing of information
- Access to information
- Consultants from overseas
- Conflict of interest
- Lack of ownership

- Process: Research - Planning - Execution ... KPIs

Conclusions of round tables:
1- Smart ICT
- Energy consumption
- Buildings as most important consumption of energy in cities
- ICT reduces energy consumption
- ICT makes sense to reduce energy consumption
- Change the culture of energy saving
- Energy is too cheap
- Culture of saving energy
- Regulations and education
- Urban services - 3 layers:
   - sensing
   - connectivity
   - intellegent and integration
- Change of culture for cities
- Data driven city management
- "Patent" long term projects.
Culture - Regulations - Technology

2- Smart Energy
- Managing
- Conserving
- Water is also energy
- Incentives & penalties (carrot and stick)
- Improve district cooling
- Higher tariffs
- Non-renewable water
- 3 Rs : Reduce - Reuse - Recycle
- Smart Grid
- Cap on energy usage
- Feed in Tariffs (FIT)
- Tangent : Ways and Means
- Renewable energy
- Engage academia/education (children)
- What we learn and the industry

3- Smart Government:
- Proper planning and coordination
- What is smart? what is sustainable?
- regulations - continuous assessment of change
- Plan - adapt to direction
- Communication - engaging people
- Advertise government's initiatives
- Freedom and Flow of information
- Private sector - Government sector
- Best practices
- Copy/Paste from foreign standards
- Conflict of interest
- Connections
- Awareness