Smart City Expo World Congress 2017

Last week the Smart City Expo World Congress2017 took place, and following the publication of our paper on Public Transport Optimization, Datatons was invited to attend the event as speakers. We were thrilled to hear the news and time flew between the notification and November 14th! So the date arrived, we packed our things, unfolded our best presentation cards and headed to the Barcelona Fira.

We had attended previous editions of the SCEWC, so we sort of knew what we were heading into, but for those of you that haven’t heard yet about the event, it’s an annual world-wide event that intends to gather the most innovative ideas and businesses within the digital transformation environment, applied to cities. Going a bit further into detail, we could break down the local fauna into five categories:

  • Governments: Allocated in big chunks of open space within the corners of the main corridors, the governments shared their available room with highlighted local start-ups (or medium companies) so the latter could promote their products.
  • Start-ups: Unfortunately, not many start-ups can afford a stand in such a prestigious event, so they mainly attended through a relationship with the previous.
  • Medium size companies: Gathered throughout the corners of the showroom, medium companies populated the outskirts, offering by far, the most interesting initiatives.
  • The big players: Elegant, multinational and with a seemingly endless pool of resources backing up their projects, you know their names, they were there to dazzle with their futuristic vision of the world.
  • Speakers: Could belong to any of the previous, or be an independent asset. Speakers were in charge of providing talks, filling expert panels or round tables across the event.

The key problem with smart cities is the fear of change within the local institutions, be it here in Europe, America or Asia. Because as it turns out, in order to make a city smart, it’s imperative to have the local government’s approval and/or funding, and they’re usually reluctant to grant either. This been said, we could witness some very promising initiatives, like the project running in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, with a superb 3D map where you could display real-time information and where you could taste Tibidabo, a superb local artisan beer.

Another smart city with strong presence in this congress was Rivas, integrated within RECI (Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes) and with an amazing program that is pushing forward the digital transformation within the urban environment. On this topic, but outside our borders, we had the pleasure to witness the presentation of Medellin‘s smart city initiative, another brilliant bet on modern technology and collaborative economy, promoting sustainability and environmental awareness. As it turns out, Medellin’s initiative was presented at the panel where our colleague Miguel Izquierdo defended our paper on Public Transport Optimization.

Datatons presentation SCEWC17

Ok ok, let’s hop to the juiciy part: What blew our mind? Which initiatives won our top rank awards? Well let us go through the best 5 initiatives, and allow us to explain why they’re here. We’ll go from least to most brilliant, and explain why we chose each of them:

Rank 5. Huawei’s Ultra Size Dashboard – At Datatons we’re not big fans of dashboards, but you should have seen that gorgeous dark blue dashboard plotted upon a trillion inch screen… Captivating.
Rank 4. Ineco‘s Lego Smart City – A lego brick city with augmented reality, a brilliant idea to display a smart city (unfortunately, there aren’t any pictures on this one)
Rank 3. Dogparker – Simple yet outstanding initiative coming all the way from Brooklyn. Don’t hesitate to check it out.
Rank 2. Mundilec, the congress winner – Intelligent, approachable and humble, Mundilec’s staff gave us a master crash course on batteries and their correct use. Because every single business in the congress had a use for their products, for us, they were the true event winners. Reach them if you need any kind of batteries, because they’re as awesome as batteries can get.

4seat drone

Rank 1. Vimana‘s 4 person transport drone – Automated cars? Who needs those when you can have an automated copter! Insane.

Well, as always, we could be spending hours and hours talking about the event, but we won’t delve into much more detail about it. We gave our awards, next year we’ll be hopefully receiving one ourselves!