Large-scale urbanisation has created demands for new and more efficient technology to respond to citizens’ needs. Daily services we depend on such as transport, healthcare, housing, sanitation and lighting are being used on an unprecedented level. This has coincided with the mass use of the Internet and new technologies. Combining the rapidly-increasing size of cities and the rise of smart technology has become a top priority for many public and private sector bodies. As the Internet of Things becomes more of a reality, it is vital we know what this means for our services, our opportunities and our general society.
Smart cities aim to integrate this technology into the vital services within our communities. This is to respond more efficiently to citizens’ needs, improve safety and sustainability and generally make cities more liveable. Open Forum Events invites you to the Smart Cities and Communities: Solving Urban Challenges conference for an opportunity to discuss specific research and policy areas and reflect on how smart cities are developing across the globe. We will look at more established issues such as the Digital Economy Act, citizen engagement and waste and recycling. We will also consider more recent topics being discussed around smart cities. These include the sharing economy, ageing population, cybersecurity and the effect on rural communities. Moreover, we will assess multiple case studies that see smart cities in action.
Smart cities and the need to make our world more sustainable, efficient and liveable is an increasingly pressing concern for all areas of society. It is necessary that we come together to establish how best to develop technology to our advantage and help us preserve our habitats for future generations.
In recent times, there have been many initiatives to introduce the latest technology into cities and other communities. This has occurred with the aim of creating a more efficient resource allocation in response to rapid population growth, particularly in cities. The UN estimates that by 2030, 5 billion people will be living in cities across the world. This is creating a pressing need for better ways to manage such densely populated metropolises. Solutions, both proposed and enacted, include increased automation, larger data capacity for public services, the widespread use of sensors and allowing authorities and service providers to monitor and control resource delivery in real time.
Creating a truly smart city entails incorporating smart functionality into everyday objects and services, which is no easy job. It is therefore essential that the most innovative and hardest-working minds come together to create this technology and realise the most effective ways to integrate it into cities. Smart cities are still in their early stages, which makes a conference like this even more vital to the conversation. This will serve as a brilliant opportunity for thinkers and learners smart technology’s role in cities and communities to exchange ideas and learn best practices.
Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs (a branch of Google), once said: “You can never truly plan a city. Instead you can lay the foundations and let people create on top of it.” It is important not to forget that the people are ultimately at the centre of large-scale technological change and must be at the forefront of any conversations about smart cities. Citizen engagement and response is vital in this development. Many conferences on making conurbations smarter have focused a lot on the technology itself. Whilst this is important, it is also essential to discuss what this will mean for people in their everyday lives.
There are other barriers to the full realisation of smart cities. This includes the communication between businesses developing technology and the government who have the power to fully integrate such features on a mass scale. There are other issues around the practical implementation of smart technology and data protection of citizens. Some have also raised the issue that the investment put into cities, by both the private and public sector, often occurs at the neglect of more rural areas.
This conference will be a chance to reflect on the implications of recent technological developments in our lives and communities. Join us to listen to brilliant speakers and insightful experts. You will leave with an enlightened perspective on how smart cities are blossoming and where we are headed in the future.
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