ICTs for smart and sustainable city

6 Dec 2016 13:00h - 14:30h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 11th Internet Governance Forum]

The moderator of the panel, Prof. Tao Xiaofeng, School of Telecommunication Engineering, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (BUPT), indicated at the very beginning that the concept of smart cities was developed in 2009, based on various technologies that provided solutions for the problems we face in everyday life.

In order to better elaborate the implications of the concept, the first speaker Mr Xin Wong explained the role of the smart city and that ‘it uses intelligent architecture that corrects [the] critical safety infrastructure component. In order to explain this better, he mentioned three functions of smart cities that correlate to the role of government as well as industry. Moreover, he explained how the changes in technology and its role affected the development of smart cities, especially with respect to mobile technology and its application in smart cities in China. He concluded that much more investment is put into construction than into software development, and that that only by upgrading our software we will be able to efficiently construct and exploit the full potential of the smart city industry.  

The next speaker, Jaap Haenen, CIO and member of the Board of Directors of the city of Eindhoven, gave a presentation on how local government can and should play a role when it comes to the use of data to enhance the well being of citizens. An important factor he mentioned was the need to empower participation, emphasizing that the city supports everybody who is interested in testing new technology for the well being of the citizens.  He mentioned examples of how the city used the data from noise sensors to prevent aggression on the streets, and mechanisms that measure air pollution, etc. Another crucial element that he mentioned was that data collected in public spaces must be used only as a public good. In order to deal with this issue, Eindhoven developed an Internet of Things charter in partnership with companies, universities, and other institutions, that should allow the collection of data, but also technically discourage business models that are based on monopolizing or selling citizen’s data. He concluded that for smart city development, the collaboration of all local stakeholders is essential, as are regulations that will stimulate technological progress.

Ms Ines Hfaiedh, Arab World Internet Institute Teacher/ Specialist in ICT Implementation in Education/ Internet Policy Analyst with IGMENA and InternetPolicy Analyst with the Internet Society, noted the importance of education in smart city development. She focused her presentation on the importance of ICT-oriented education. ICT education is a necessary precondition for the development of ICT. In spite of many obstacles that she and her colleagues from developing countries are facing, she expects more emphasis on the implementation of ICTs in education, since this is not only beneficial for students but for professors as well. The importance of is ICT in education is shown by research which demonstrated that each dollar invested in an additional year of schooling generates ten dollars in benefits in low income countries.  She also explained how technology supports the process of innovation. She concluded that education is the key for further development.

Finally, Ms Liyun Han, CNNIC, an electronic engineer from USC, California, stressed the technical aspects of importance for smart cities. Such as she explained why international standards are of crucial importance, and mentioned two problems associated with smart cities: the compatibility of databases, and the compatibility of industrial standards. As a possible solution, she offered a communication and storage standard approved by the IEC and the IEEEShe emphasized the importance of standardisation with the goal to be secure, effective, unified, and open, in the development of smart cities.  She also stated that the development of technology is changing the landscape of smart cities, so they become even ’smarter’ each day.

  • Questions related to the issues of data protection and privacy, cooperation with local authorities, unemployment caused redundant of certain traditional professions, and other topics, the moderator formulated the following conclusions: There is still a lot of work to be done to develop smart cities and to make them acommon standard.
  • In the meantime, we should focus on capacity building and training.
  • We must develop technology and policy in support of smart cities.

by Adriana Minović