Filipe Sá – Project Coordinator – and Jaime Ventura, are part of Porto Digital Association. Porto Digital Association is a private non-profit association. It was created in 2004 by the Municipality of Porto, the University of Porto and the Portuguese Business Association (AEP), in cooperation with the company Metro of Porto, in order to promote ICT projects within the context of the city of Porto and its metropolitan area. Filipe and Jaime are at the forefront of the ICT transformation in their city of Porto and are sharing their experience helping lead this transformation and reflecting on the takeaways of IoT Week 2019. 


The IoT Week 2019 Aarhus – in particular the IoT for Smart Cities and Communities (IoT4SCC) track – brought together several key smart city experts around the cities’ vision, challenges, roles and responsibilities in the design and deployment of IoT-based solutions. When reflecting on their work at Porto Digital so far and in relation to the topics of Smart Cities and Communities at Aarhus, this is what Filipe and Jaime had to say:


Cities have a clear vision on how they want to do their IoT transformation. For us, this must be driven by implementation, and clearly avoid fragmentation and vendor lock-ins. Cities are aware what their demands and requirements are for this, which must be based on standards, be fair and ethical, and have its main components rooted in citizen-centric and scalable activity.

Cities are also aware of the their main challenges, in particular, related with their ICT infrastructure. This means looking at the design of the digital architecture of the smart city at the start and then build it step by step. This needs doing in a context that assures interoperable urban platforms and achieves technological sovereignty.  

There are also challenges related to design and specification (e.g. focus on the city’s priorities and main challenges, how to use standards in procurement processes), and related with implementation and impact (e.g. the value of the smart solutions is not clear for citizens, solutions must be validated through pilots but the implementation must have an emphasis on scaling in order to have a true impact at the city level).

At the same time, Cities also know they have a strong role, power and responsibility in shaping these smart solutions at the city level. Cities must work together (with other cities and with city networks); must empower citizens to take informed decisions, and engage with citizens in the co-design and co-creation of these solutions in order to assure the solutions have a positive impact in their quality of life and respond to their needs.

Cities must also cooperate with their local ecosystems (companies, universities and other local stakeholders) enabling the proliferation of innovation ecosystems such as Living Labs (which play a very important role in testing and validating these solutions).

Cities are also responsible for ensuring the privacy and other social rights of their citizens, assure that citizens have control of their data and assure that solutions are ethical. This also means designing and implementing more agile and adequate public procurement procedure. In particular, procedures based on different values other than cost and price; procedures that work together with other cities in a centralized and aggregated procurement process; and that assures city data is available in a transparent and reliable way (which means cities must focus on data quality instead of data volume).