Smart Cities seeks innovative ICT ideas

February 14, 2013

Budapest to host event in June

By Greg Spencer

LOOKING SMART: Malmo, Sweden is one of Europe's leading innovative cities. Photo: Wiki Commons

The Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership is encouraging stakeholder involvement and gathering energy-saving technologies in the run up to a conference organised this summer by the REC.

Europe's biggest research effort in sustainable urbanism is on the lookout for promising ICT technologies to reduce cities' environmental footprints. It hopes to display the best at its first annual conference, setting the stage for a European Smart City Roadmap.

The event will be held June 5-6, 2013 in Budapest. Details will be posted soon here.

Ideas are invited in the three main thematic areas of the Smart Cities initiative: urban mobility, building heating and cooling and energy networks. All ideas will be gauged by their potential to curb CO2 emissions and running costs and thereby make our cities "smart".

Interested parties can start by joining the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform, an open-invitation group already 1,000-members strong. Members include technology producers, energy providers, decision makers and other urban stakeholders.

Submitted ideas have thus far come from the private sector and academia. Some are in the concept stage, some already implemented. These are some examples, by key area:

  • Mobility and Transport, including:
    providing real-time information that helps motorists locate available parking space at their destination before and during their trips; and
    a smart-phone application that helps older passengers plan public transport journeys that satisfy their special needs for comfort, safety and convenience.
  • Energy Efficiency and Buildings, including:
    - economising on household electricity use by letting your home PC turn appliances on and off depending on power supply and price; and
    - using heat pumps to exploit thermal energy from sewage.
  • Energy Supply Networks, including:
    - using "smart power grids" to make small communities 100% energy self-sufficient from a combination of solar power, biomass and heat pumps; and
    - integrated infrastructure networks for combined heat and power.

The ideas will be boiled down to a shortlist through discussion and multiple rounds of voting by platform members. In June the best ideas, together with policy recommendations, will be showcased at a conference in Budapest attended by EU decision makers, high-tech producers and representatives from European cities.