December 2015.- This year for the fifth time running, Barcelona hosted the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), held this November, with representatives from 500 cities, 450 exhibitors and 400 speakers over 40 sessions divided into six core themes: Technology, Society, Governance, Sustainability, Mobility and Innovation & Start-ups.
The Smart movement means bringing intelligent dynamism and accessibility to our cities. This represents urban transformation on a global level, combining disciplines such as mobility, technology, energy efficiency, the environment, demographic management, urban planning and the knowledge economy. Among the solutions and apps on show at the event were the first driverless microbus, which will start operating next year in Singapore and California; an electric bicycle system capable of doubling the logistics productivity of the latter; an urban navigation system using beacons that informs people with impaired vision about the different features, obstacles and situations around them by mobile phone; a system for charging electric cars integrated in the public street lighting system, and various urban uses of drones.
The profile of the companies attending the Congress has been varied; from start-ups represented by some 70 attendees, up to multinationals like Amazon, Audi, Airbnb, Cisco, Engie, FCC, Ferrovial, Fiware, Google, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Siemens, Telefónica and Thyssen Krupp. In fact, both technological and traditional companies are growing and evolving with the new market. This new economic sector is being boosted by existing companies adapting new technologies (system integrators, urban services companies, public works companies, infrastructure managers, design studios, urban equipment manufacturers, etc.) but above all by new and young firms that are developing new solutions, integrations, applications and services.
Barcelona holds the top spot in international rankings: First Smart City in the world (Juniper Research 2015), First Smart City in Spain (IDC Corporate US, 2012), and the fourth in Europe (CO.Exist. 2013). Barcelona is the European Capital of Innovation and the World Mobile Phone Capital, with a diverse range of smart projects underway.
Smart strategy in Catalonia
The Catalan Government is strengthening the sector, extending the Smart City concept to all Catalan cities. In line with the European Union strategy, Europe 2020, the Smart CAT strategy involves normative aspects as well as collaborative strategies between the public and private sector, the rollout of Smart initiatives in supra-local ambits and boosting competitiveness of companies working in this sector. The five action points of Smart CAT to make Catalonia an international ‘smart region’ benchmark are cities, land, economy, government and citizens.