This week, Austin CityUP — a smart city consortium — organized the first Texas Smart Cities Summit to bring together government, non-profit, higher education and company representatives to share information on the leading best practices in creating smart cities of the future.
We were there because we always want to hear the latest and greatest so that we can help all of our customers build the smart communities of tomorrow.
After a keynote welcome by Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler, Charlie Catlett from the University of Chicago Argonne National Laboratory, and RuthBea Yesner, Vice President, Government Insights and Smart Cities for IDC shared national and global perspectives on what it takes to create a smart city. Some key insights shared included:
· Cities and neighborhoods operate as ecosystems, so any smart city planning needs to consider projects through that lens;
· Smart city investments can bridge the divide between “Digitally Determined” and “Digitally Distraught” cities;
· Continuous innovation and disruption are inevitable in the future — there is a danger to not anticipating smart city needs of a community; and,
· Extensive measurement and data collection, analysis, and standardization are critical for policymakers to plan futures that benefit citizens.
One of the most insightful panels of the event featured CIOs and heads of innovation from Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio (Texas’ four largest cities) sharing the status of their smart city efforts and learnings to date. Interestingly each city’s definition of and vision for smart city efforts showed similarity — a focus on real, measurable results that directly benefit citizens, an effort to include the entire community in efforts, ensuring inclusion for all members of a city, and building resilience into city operations. Stephen Elkins, CIO for the City of Austin, offered a thought in his remarks that resonated with the audience, “Today, when you can place an order for groceries online, then drive up and have them placed in your car, why should we expect anyone to stand in line for city-provided services.”
The conference also heard from Rod Silverberg, Chief Technology Officer for Digital Communities for DellEMC. An interesting insight he shared: “In the next decade, cities are likely to spend more on infrastructure than they did in the last 1,000 years.”
We invite you to follow us on Twitter (@CSDC_Systems) — we shared several live updates and photos from the event. If you are making progress in creating a smart community, we’d love to hear from you and help you achieve that goal. You can get in touch with us and see our principles for creating truly smart communities online.