The current COVID-19 epidemic has demonstrated that public administrations need to speed up their digital transformation. A webinar held on 30 April 2020, brought forward ideas and good practices on how smart cities can effectively respond to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
While Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) have been actively helping SMEs in their digital transformation, in the future, DIHs could also serve the public sector, including smart cities and communities. The proposed Digital Europe Programme foresees to provide financial support to a selected number of DIHs (European DIHs), some of which may also help the transition towards smart cities. The webinar aimed to start a discussion on what the possible technological and innovation services DIHs could offer to smart cities and communities.
With over 250 participants from all over Europe the webinar brought together the different stakeholders like DIHS, Living Labs, cities and municipalities. The event allowed to share good practices on how to help cities develop their digital strategies, establish the foundations of their smart city and start developing concrete services.
The webinar was structured around the following topics:
- The European Commission presented the concept of DIHs, European DIHs and the possible funding opportunities in particular under the Digital Europe Programme as well as highlighted the particularities that DIHs should consider when aiming to work with public sector organisations.
- A number of tools and initiatives where presented. Among those, the European Commission’s Intelligent City Challenge which aims to help cities develop a smart and sustainable digital strategy.
- DIHs can have an important role on helping to foster the creation of a digital innovation ecosystem. In line with the recently published ‘Join, Boost, Sustain Declaration’ for EU cities and communities, the next group of presentations provided information about the foundations of smart cities; user-centric principles, interoperable urban digital platforms and re-usable, modular digital services, such as the European Commission’s CEF Building Blocks.
- During the last part of the webinar, a number of DIHs presented examples of concrete services for smart and sustainable cities.
Understanding the local culture, innovation ecosystem and language, DIHs are well positioned to act as multipliers and help test innovative digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, in cities and communities scale up smart city solutions or improve the skills of civil servants in municipalities. The next webinar is scheduled for 25 May 2020, 14:00-16:00 CET and will focus on "Artificial Intelligence in smart cities".
- Building a digital / sustainable strategy in cities
- Intelligent Cities Challenge, Iordana Eleftheriadou, DG GROW
- IQ Kecskemet, Tamas Gyulai, Hungary
- Citizen-centered urban digital services, Hillen Oost, VNG, Netherlands
- Demos Helsinki, Olli Bremer, Finland
- Digital Partners, Anys Boukli & Amanda Martinez, Switzerland
- Digital Maturity Assessment, Improve, Manuel Seuffert, Germany
- Foundations of a European smart city
- Smart and sustainable city services