Smart City World Expo: Barcelona Nov 2022 – what a success!

UTA at the Smart City World Expo, Barcelona, November 2022

UTA participated to the 2022 Smart City World Expo in Barcelona, with a booth gathering several partners and a roundtable as part of the conference program.

Demonstration of smart city collaborations

For three days, members of the Urban Technology Alliances joined the Smart City World Expo (SCEWC22) in Barcelona to showcase results of their innovative work. The UTA Booth gathered representatives from Nagoya University, Kentyou, NTTEast, Keio University, Kadinche and PortHofner. Other UTA members, such as the cities of  Grenoble, Santander, Bucheon, Taipei and Busan were hosted by Country expo booths, but made time to join UTA at the main booth to talk about their activities.

The demos presented a diverse set of potential solutions for Smart Cities such as:

  • Urban Data Visualization (Nagoya University)
  • Presence monitoring and complaints management in public parks (NTTEast)
  • Smart Warehouse solutions (Nagoya University)
  • Smart City Data Hypervisor (Kentyou)
  • Super-resolution backcasting CPS platform (NTTEast, Keio University, Kadinche, PortHofner)
  • Mixed reality for Digital Twins (Kadinche corp)
  • Smart People Flow Management (Nagoya University)

Cities and innovators sharing visions and experiences

In addition to ongoing demonstrations at the UTA booth UTA also organized a roundtable discussion, as part of the conference programme of Smart City World Expo. The roundtable gathered city representatives and innovators presenting different approaches to Smart City design and development. The discussion was moderated by Rodger Lea, CTO of UTA.

Grenoble: citizen participation in smart city solutions

Florent Cholat, City Councillor for the Grenoble Metrople presented ongoing initiatives by th city of Grenoble (France). As a city awarded the title of European Green Capital for 2022, the city has decided to directly involve the local ecosystem into Smart City innovation to solve environmental problems.

This takes the form of a participatory approach, with calls for projects open to citizens, innovators and start-ups such as the “Métropole en Transition” call, or the CivicLab initiative. This initiative organizes workshops and projects to help citizen use digital technologies to help solve city challenges.

Kentyou : data intelligence for smarter cities

Kentyou presented its vision and approach to smart city development, focused on the use of data, open platforms and artificial intelligence to solve city challenges. The start-up develops solutions around an open-source data platform that facilitates access to city data.

The core approach of Kentyou is to enable cities to access, gather and analyse the vast diversity of data that a city can produce in a single platform. This is often a difficult task for cities, as data is produced by various actors, in various format and protocols and interoperability is a major challenge.

The Kentyou platform offers a solution to unify this access to data. Kentyou exploits advanced AI to offer solutions that take advantage of this diversity of data to better solve city challenges.

NTT East: Backcasting, from city dreams to operational plans

NTT East, the established Telco provider in the east of Japan presented the ShonanFutureVerse solution developed in cooperation with Keio University, Kadinche, and PortHofner. This project is funded by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Japan and designed to exploit 5G technologies that are already well established in japan.

It aims to develop a “super-resolution backcasting CPS platform” based on a virtual city (Digital Twin) future vision. Backcasting is a planning method that starts with defining a desirable future using digital twin technologies to allow citizens and planners to express, in the virtual world, thetype of city they hope to live within in the future. The system then works backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect that specified future to the present.

The solution also aims at some participatory aspects as it is designed both for municipal services and for active participation of the city residents to define the desired future of the city. The project is working with the municipalities of Fujisawa, Samukawa and Yokosuka.

Bucheon DNA : Data, Network, AI

The city of Bucheon (South Korea), presented a numb er of different solutions around Data, Network and AI to develop its smart city vision.

This includes AI based solutions for real-time micro traffic data collection. This system takes advantage of the 1555 video cameras deployed in the city and combines and links the information gathered to provide a coherent perspective on city traffic. The city also deploys an Edge AI vision solution to monitor traffic and improve road safety.

But Bucheon also propose an innovative vision of what a Smart City platform can be for citizens. This takes the form of the Smart CityPASS platform. A solution that promotes citizen engagement as a way to earn “mileage” or loyalty points that can be used to pay for CityPASS services such as mobility services.

Similarly to Grenoble, Bucheon tries to foster citizen engagement around environmental issues. This takes the form of the Clean City participatory initiative. Citizens are encouraged to participate in city cleaning efforts and can earn mileage when participating.

Kadinche Corp.: Mixed Reality technology

Kadinche Corp, a small SME developing Mixed Reality (MR) technologies is part of the Shonan FutureVerse project, works closely with Keio University and was presenting some of their technologies and user experiences in Barcelona. In particular, they presented a demonstration video of mixed reality (MR) system used in a museum in Japan. In this system, visitors to the museum wear a MR headset while walking through the museum which provides additional explanation and effect. This MR experience lasts for about 45 minutes all the way from the entrance to the exit of the museum. The MR system provides both audio guidance and 2D/3D visual information to let users understand exhibition easily and deeply. Kadinche is trying to expand the applications of such a MR system from the museum to the smart city, focusing on the development of Digital Twin capabilities that are both able to model and represent cities, and depict future city scenarios.

Nagoya University: transdisciplinary research to solve city challenges

Recognizing that solving city challenges takes more than just technology, Nagoya University has launched a new graduate program for Transdisciplinary Mobility Innovation. This program gathers students from technical backgrounds but also economics, law and humanities to tackle real-life city challenges.

The university collaborates with several city such as Nagoya, Nisshin, and Shinshiro but also with the Centrair airport company. This collaboration brings several important testbeds to develop the universities research. This approach is well aligned with the Urban Technology Alliance objectives of bringing together innovative companies, academic research to solve city challenges.

UTA: Helping cities exploit technology to improve the lives of citizens

Overall SCEWC 22 was an excellent chance for UTA members to meet, discuss their activities and engage with the wider Smart City community. The booth had a steady stream of visitors over the three days and several exciting opportunities for new collaborations were identified both among existing UTA members, but also with the wider Smart City community – many of whom we hope to have join as new UTA members in the coming year. UTA plans to attend SCEWC in 2023 and looks forward to showing the community more successes from our projects and collaborations – all designed to improve cities and the lives of their citizens!