By Sanjali Nirwani, Sales Strategy Director DGDWAccording to the UN, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. This rapid migration will expand industrial and residential infrastructures beyond their breaking points leading to high carbon emissions and lower standards of living. The question is how can cities manage this growth in a sustainable way? There are complex dynamics related to cities and innovation and the aim is to enable these cities to become livable, sustainable and efficient. The new buzzword ‘Smart Cities’ frequently used by energy utilities, technology firms and city councils may seem to offer a solution.

What is a Smart City? A city enabled with efficient intelligent infrastructure that allows interaction with citizens to improve economy, mobility, safety, environment and governance. The concept claims to make people and the environment happier. According to Schneider Electric, transitioning to a Smart City involves a 5-step process:

1) Setting the vision and roadmap
2) Bringing in best-in class technology to improve systems
3) Working on the integration for wider information efficiency
4) Adding business model innovation
5) Driving collaboration between global and local players

Success stories: Some of the world’s smartest cities are Vienna, Toronto, New York, Copenhagen and our own Barcelona! Barcelona has projects for remote street-lighting control systems, remote irrigation system for green areas, the recently launched ‘Electric Vehicle’ infrastructure and plans to deploy a transparent governance system.

Why is Collaboration critical? Despite its benefits, the adaption of Smart City Infrastructure is slow and not widespread. One key issue is Collaboration. Last week at the IESE’s Global Energy Day, one of the panels addressed this issue. It was interesting to hear insights from different players in the industry. The panel moderated by Professor Joan Enric Ricart from Center of Globalization and Strategy, featured panelists from Schneider Electric, Aqualogy, Barcelona City Hall and Cooltra (private electric scooter hire player).

Below is what one of the organizers of the Energy Day has to say-

“As a member of the IESE Energy Club, I helped the panel on the subject of Smart Cities. I found it very exiting not only to research about this topic, basically how public and private sector coordinate their efforts to make cleaner, better, safer and more sustainable Cities, but as well to be able to bring together 4 top executives in their own organizations and let them showcase Barcelona as one of the most promising Smart City. This panel was bang on, and I hope that the audience appreciated!”
– Benjamin Givelet

What’s next? Attend our Energy track Impact panels at the Doing Good and Doing Well Conference to open your eyes to some of the many new cutting-edge business models and initiatives driving forward renewable deployment and energy efficiency, and perhaps this panel will inspire you to seek your own opportunities in this exciting sector!

“The GED panel on Smart Cities provided an excellent overview of the issues confronting city governments when faced with issues of emissions and energy consumption. At the DGDW Conference, the energy panel on “Unique business models for driving a cleaner and more efficient energy future” will focus in more detail on the individual companies working to make these efforts a reality.”
– Edward Moulin (Panel Organizer)

Don’t just believe what multinational organizations have to say (in their marketing or ‘PR’ initiatives), but form your own informed opinion on topics that will change the world. The Doing Good and Doing Well Conference will help you to do exactly that! Through interactive workshops, panels, keynote speeches and networking events; the conference provides a perfect platform for collaboration – the key to most innovative models.

Interested in learning more about the future of mobile payments? Join more than 500 participants and buy your ticket today!  #IESEDGDW

Are you a student? Please contact the DGDW team for the student discount