David Bartlett, VP of Smarter Buildings for IBM, is very clear on several points. Among them: One of the best ways to build smarter cities is to start with smarter buildings. But he says that's something we're not doing very well – yet.
It's unlikely that many small rural villages get a lot of visitors from countries as diverse as Korea and the U.S., but little Feldheim, Germany does. And the visitors aren't coming as tourists. They want to find out how the village (population: 125) became Germany's first and so far only village that can say it's entirely energy self-sufficient.
It may seem strange that the United Arab Emirates, which boasts the world's seventh largest oil and natural gas reserves, is pushing ahead with a very expensive experiment in renewable energy and urban sustainability.
The executive director of UN Women told a forum on cities against poverty that technology is significantly supporting initiatives to make cities safer places. And she brought some issues to the discussion not often heard in smart cities discussions: women's participation and equal rights.
The city of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Boston University are working with IBM to find new, smarter solutions to persistent urban challenges, including traffic congestion and streetlight management, energy efficiency, major event coordination, and water/sewer and airport management and maintenance.
Cities from Amsterdam and Stockholm to San Diego and Nanjing are reaching for the brass ring of sustainable, efficient and pleasant smart cities. But Santander, an old port city on Spain's Atlantic coast with the same financial problems nagging at many European cities, has already made it happen.
Smart cities are the "biggest market for IT in the world," according to Joe Dignan, chief European public sector analyst for tech research and analysis firm Ovum. And he has a lot more to say about smart city initiatives and why the smart cities market is so strong at a time when so many others are not.
Residents of Nice, France are remotely accessing city services confidentially and well beyond normal city hall operating hours – all from a popular shopping mall.
Frustrated drivers circling in search of an elusive parking spot not only contribute to traffic congestion, they also add to air pollution levels. The fix? No worries, there's an app for it.
To be the best big city is London Mayor Boris Johnson's ambition and he's tapped experts to develop a Smart London vision that puts technological innovation at the heart of making the capital a better place to live, work and invest.