Hugo Kerschot (Founder & CEO Is-Practice, Belgium), moderator of the talk, started the session at 2.45 pm introducing one of the main topics – the concept of a Smart City.

Troy Nachtigall (ISIA Firenze, Italy) pointed out the central role of designers according to creation of ideas and new tendencies. In the example of a bike-sharing project the city is seen as a platform, full of services accessible to people, and citizens are compared to users of a community.

The story of Taichung city, brought to us by Ching-Chih Liao (Deputy Secretary-General Taichung City Government, Taiwan), represents a perfect example of Smart City, with its free Wi-Fi coverage and fiber broadband availability. The Government  made abandoned areas more attractive (for example, by creating vertical gardens upon the buildings, organizing various events and festivals).

Government is not the only actor participating to the changes of a city. Citizens’ role is fundamental, too. Citizens are able to join government activities through ICT, creating forms of e-Democracy and e-Participation. This is what emerges from the talk of Eikazu Niwano (Producer Research and Development Planning Department, NTT Corporation, Japan). Self-Government activities became to raise their importance, for example in a case of disaster recovery. The offer of an ICT environment helps regional entities to administer themselves and gain autonomy. This will improve the sustainability of the Smart City.

Kenji Hiroshige (Director London Representative Office, FMMC-Foundation for Multimedia Communication, Japan) presented a platform taking care of citizens – the Integrated Public Alert  Platform. From this example it is easy to see how ICT can improve public services, representing an efficient method for communication in case of an emergency. Local and central governments are providers that collect information (such as flood warnings, evacuation centers, etc.) in a centralized way and share them with local residents through several media channels. Citizens can access accurate information independently from where they are.

Hanne Melin (Policy Strategy Counsel, eBay Inc. Public Policy Lab EMEA, Belgium) showed the cycle of policy innovation and the role of Big Data into her company.

Another company also trying to build interfaces for Big Open Data is Navidis, represented by Philippe Perennez (CEO and R&D, Navidis, France), that brought the “Smart City +” platform as an example of aggregation of apps and services. Sharing needs and availability, using real-time and interactive applications with Open Big Data, helps forge stronger relations between people. This can reinvent the way we live together.

Fabio Perossini (Managing Director Kpeople ltd, UK) focused on the CROSS (Citizen Reinforcing Open Smart Synergies) – a European project aimed at supporting collaboration of citizens in the domain of innovation.  This project is based only on help and offers from volunteers and there is an unofficial sector of community services being provided without any funding. In this scenario it is mandatory to have good communication.

Alan Shark (Executive Director PTI – Public Technologies Institute; Associate professor of Practice Rutgers University School of public affairs and Administration, USA) turned the focus on the key role taken by Big Data (“data is like rain, they are everywhere. Don’t miss the power of data.”). In New York, for example, there is a spread of Open Data websites and apps. Innovation, considered not as creating something new from scratch but more likely doing things in a different way, has fundamental role, too.

Julia Glidden (Managing Director 21C Consultancy, UK) considered the city as an Innovation Platform where we’re all data collectors and geolocated data has a central function. Data should be open and accessible (release of Open Data) and it should be simpler to use them.

In conclusion, there was a little debate about the cooperation between private and public sector. The main question was: “After spending lot of money for gathering these data, why allow other people to access them and, possibly, making money from them?” The answer should be that there is a price to be paid for giving customers this data, but the potential is worthy.

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