Florence and Ben attended the Franco-British Bilateral Workshop on ICT in Future Cities, organised by the French Embassy in London on the 14th and 15th of May. Guests, including UK Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts, Peter Reynolds from the Future Cities Catapult or Alain Renk from prestigious Institut Carnot, joined representatives of some of the leading French and British cities (Paris, Lyon, Nice, London, Glasgow, Bristol, among others) to discuss the main challenges and topics shaping the Smart Cities Agenda in both countries. The first conference day focused on national/institutional contexts, as well as best practices from incubators and demonstrators, with presentations from flagship initiatives or knowledge and innovation clusters. Major city representatives also debated on their role of demonstrators, testing interoperability, scalability and leadership within the Smart City Agenda.
The second conference day was centred on case studies and prospects for emerging technologies within the city ecosystem. Different themes were addressed to that regard, ranging from intelligent infrastructure, to the bottom up 'data-driven' society, the IoT, or even advanced 3D modelling in monitoring complex urban systems.
Overall, the conference managed to tackle many aspects of the very large concept of Smart City, from a purely technical standpoint (a city can be 'smart' in its infrastructure) to a much more socio-political one (a city can also be 'smart' in the collaboration processes between local authorities and local citizens). However, consensus was made on the assertion that only integrated public services and delivery mechanisms, as well as greater citizen centricity, can truly make a city smart(er).
Several cities including Peterborough, Rochdale and Nice expressed interest in learning more about 21c's work in identifying and deploying ICT trends in Europe. We can safely say that 21c put its current projects (Citadel, ECIM, OTN) on the map at this important event!