Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), the leading international event focusing on cities and smart urban solutions, will hold this 2019 its ninth edition under the theme Cities made of Dreams to demonstrate how, after almost a decade of the promotion of the smart city concept around the world, breakthroughs and solutions have been achieved that seemed like no more than dreams just a few years ago.
Organized by Fira de Barcelona from 19th to 21st November at its Gran Via venue, the event will be the largest to date, with 1,010 exhibiting companies, 700 cities and a 15% increase in exhibition space and will have an economic impact in the region of 90 million euros, according to a study published by the Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB) at the University of Barcelona.
Ugo Valenti, Smart City Expo World Congress director, said, “the promise of the smart city we proposed in 2011 has become a reality. Today we can see the results of the work done, and we’ve moved on from pilot projects to large-scale smart implementation. New models of governance and new approaches to equality and the circular economy have emerged.” Valenti added that “a decade ago, when we spoke of managing municipal procedures, authenticating parking tickets via mobile phones, driverless vehicles, street lights that light up when a pedestrian approaches, the provision of Wi-Fi and containers that notify the collection system when they reach the limit of their capacity, it all seemed impossible; today they’re real and we have the opportunity and the duty to undertake even more projects.”
Among the over 1,000 companies present in the 2019 edition are Alstom, Amazon Web Services, Bosch, Cellnex, Cisco, CityDO, Citypossible by Mastercard, Deloitte, Deutsche Telekom, Engie, Esri, FiWare, FCC Environment, Hexagon, Huawei, Indra, Microsoft, Mobileye, Nokia, NTT, Oracle, Seat, Siemens, Suez and Ubiwhere.
Holistic urban approach
The congress program will be structured around five themes (Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance and Finance and Shared and Inclusive Cities) and it will cover topics such as data-driven cities, 5G and the future of connectivity, resilient cities, gentrification, innovative transport systems, multi-level governance, collaborative economy, circular economy, and inclusive cities.
Along these lines, the event will bring together more than 400 speakers from fields ranging from technology and smart governance to shared economy and mobility. The keynote speakers in 2019 include Janette Sadik-Khan, one of the world’s leading authorities on transport and urban transformation, Shira Rubinoff, a cybersecurity expert and a member of the boards of the Executive Women’s Forum for Information Security and Leading Women in Technology, Laura Tenenbaum, a climate change scientist honoured by NASA for her promotional activity, and Jeff Merrit, director of the Internet of things, robotics and smart cities at the World Economic Forum.
Capital of smart cities
This edition will bring together representatives from more than 700 cities, including Bangkok (Thailand), Budapest (Hungary), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Los Angeles (USA), Leeds (United Kingdom), Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Montevideo (Uruguay), Moscow (Russia), New Delhi (India), New York (USA), Oslo (Norway), Ottawa (Canada), Paris (France), Prague (Czech Republic), St. Petersburg (Russia), Shanghai (China), Seoul (Republic of Korea) and Zurich (Switzerland). Countries and territories such as Germany, Chile, Korea, Denmark, Estonia, United States, Finland, France, Holland, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Sweden, and Thailand will also take part with their own pavilions. In addition, SCEWC will be attended by mayors from cities such as Dublin (Ireland), Fukuoka (Japan), Islamabad (Pakistan), Bogota (Colombia), Milan (Italy) and Thessaloniki (Greece) and ministers from Nigeria, Malaysia, Singapore, and Luxembourg.
Urban knowledge hub
Barcelona will become the capital of smart cities and urban transformation for a few days. The city will host different parallel events to enhance the role of SCEWC and Barcelona as a hub of urban knowledge. These include the Digital Future Society, promoted by the Ministry of Economy and Business and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, also set to be held at the Gran Via venue on 19th and 20th November, in order to assess the impact of the technological revolution on society and the economy and to address issues such as the use of facial recognition and biometric data in smart cities. In addition, Barcelona hosts the Smart City Week, a programme of more than 50 activities spread around the city organized by the Barcelona City Council to involve citizens in reflecting on how technologies are modifying our city and how we can interpret them and relate to them to achieve a more sustainable, fair and inclusive environment in the long and short terms.
The third SMC (Smart Mobility Congress) will also be held; this trade show and congress, focused on smart urban and interurban transport, will address the challenges posed by a future with the greatest urban concentration in history under the slogan Leading the way. The congress will have five thematic areas (Intelligent Transport Infrastructures, Mobility of Tomorrow, Shared Mobility, Sustainable Mobility, Seamless Transportation and Public Transport) and will analyse key issues such as Smart Transport Systems, self-driving vehicles, aerial mobility, connected vehicles, MaaS (Mobility as a Service), MoD (Mobility on Demand), micromobility, multi-modal transport, integrated mobility plans and public transport.
In 2019 SCEWC will not only encourage the development of more liveable, sustainable, and inclusive cities but also do so by example. To do so there will be two initiatives, Towards Zero Waste and Towards Inclusivity, that focus on making it an international benchmark in terms of the sustainable and inclusive organization of events. Towards Zero Waste will implement measures such as the elimination of single-use plastics, the dematerialization, selective waste collection, the reuse of the materials for the construction of the stands and the carpet laid for the event, the offsetting of carbon emissions and the reforestation of a town in Guadalajara with the profits obtained from the fair’s merchandise.
As for Towards Inclusivity, it will seek to ensure that the event is accessible to all attendees and that all the collectives feel represented and have the opportunity to be heard. This initiative includes actions such as providing electric scooters for people with reduced mobility to ensure that they can move around the venue without difficulty, reserving privileged spaces for wheelchairs and scooters in the congress halls and organising visits for the visually impaired.
World Smart City Awards
The ninth World Smart City Awards, where SCEWC acknowledges pioneering projects, ideas and strategies to promote sustainable urban development around the world, have been the most popular ever, with more than 450 entries from 59 countries. The awards will be presented in seven categories: City, Innovative Idea, Digital Transformation, Urban Environment, Mobility, Governance and Finance and Shared and Inclusive Cities. The cities sleected as finalists for the 2019 World Smart City Award are Bristol (United Kingdom), Curitiba (Brazil), Stockholm (Sweden), Montevideo (Uruguay), Seoul (Republic of Korea) and Tehran (Iran).
Barcelona, November 13th 2019