SynchroniCity shines bright at the annual Connected Smart Cities Conference 2019 (CSCC19). The event on 17 January gathered over 300 experts from municipalities, national governments and European institutions as well as businesses and academia to exchange on the state of smart cities & communities.

Dr Roberto Viola, Director-General of the European Commission’s DG Connect, opened the conference by stressing the important work of the European IoT Large Scale Pilots (IoT LSPs). “The challenge is now to convince heads of states that these are activities worthwhile to invest in”, Viola said with focus on the next European Multiannual Financial Framework and more specifically, the Digital Europe and Horizon Europe Programmes.

Dr Roberto Viola, Director-General of the European Commission’s DG Connect at the opening of CSCC2019

But Viola also stated that in order to be successful and deliver a smart city that works for local communities, the concept of smart city needs to undergo a radical shift, namely moving:

  1. from cities to communities
  2. from systems to ecosystem
  3. from design to citizen empowerment

By highlighting these three transitions, Viola criticised the still widespread misconception of smart cities as an isolated sector, driven by technology. Cities & Communities will only succeed in the digital transformation, when citizens are actively included in the creation of new digital services. Also, citizens need to be empowered to design their own applications – solving local issues to support their community.

This understanding of smart cities as communities is in line with what Martin Brynskov, coordinator of SynchroniCity, said in his welcome address at CSCC19: “Smart Cities & Communities are not a sector, it’s all of us. Smart Cities & Communities is how the digital transformation touches the ground“.

From Technology to People

Porto, being a front-runner city when it comes to the digital transition of cities and communities, has already laid the groundwork for the smart city from a technical side: Free WiFi – also on public transport -, and 4000 km of optic fibre network. Only to name two of the tremendous efforts the city has undertaken.

In line with Viola’s statement, Filipe Araújo, Vice-Mayor for Innovation of Porto, reinforced that we need to build smart cities that serve citizens’ needs to reach a new level of maturity.

In the quest to reach this new level of maturity, Araújo highlighted the importance of the SynchroniCity project for the further development of Porto’s digital strategy: “We are excited that the new pilots are rolling out in Porto soon and that they will be tackling unresolved issues in the city.”

SynchroniCity: From Atomic Services to Privacy by Design

In addition to the strong representation in the opening plenary, SynchroniCity presented its achievements throughout the conference’s parallel workshops and brought together representatives of the consortium with stakeholders from the Open & Agile Smart Cities’ ecosystem to share knowledge.

SynchroniCity parallel workshop

All presentations, live recordings of the plenary sessions and conference photos are accessible and available for download at www.oascities.org