UTA, and UTA members Kentyou, Latitudo 40 and ShonanFutureVerse, a project by NTTEast and Keio University, attended the Smart City Expo USA on 22-23 May 2024 in New York City.

Smart City Expo USA was the opportunity to engaging with various international and local organizations to explore collaborative opportunities. Representatives from the Delegation of Morocco, including the President of the Casablanca region and the Minister of Solidarity, Social Insertion, and Family, expressed interest in collaborating with UTA on smart region pilot projects.

The Japanese delegation, consisting of officials from the Embassy of Japan in the USA, including the First Secretary of the Economic Section from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, along with delegates from JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) and NEC, were keen to learn about UTA’s activities with Japanese partners and cities.

UTA also met with representatives from the Finland consulate, who were interested in promoting UTA’s initiatives in Finnish cities. Additionally, several startups specializing in air quality monitoring, smart parking, and smart home solutions showed interest in integrating their innovations within the UTA network.

Collaboration discussions extended to Columbia University, where UTA is a smart intersection pilot partner. Columbia University expressed openness to expanding pilots within their testbed program focused on streetscapes. Furthermore, the New York City CTO Office showed interest in receiving pilot ideas from UTA partners for their testbed program and discussed the climate solutions piloting program on Governors Island.

Among the main highlights of the keynote speeches and panel sessions, Maria Torres-Springer, Deputy Mayor of New York City, outlined the city’s commitment to maintaining its global economic leadership through innovation and inclusivity. The session aimed to highlight New York’s vision for a resilient, competitive, and equitable future, setting benchmarks for urban centers globally.

Participants to the Data-driven Health care panel, including, Ashwin Vasan, former Commissioner of Health for New York City, advocated for leveraging healthcare data to drive transformative improvements in accessibility, efficiency, and equity. Their session highlighted case studies and innovative approaches that demonstrated how data could pinpoint gaps and access barriers, paving the way for more responsive healthcare policies and practices benefiting vulnerable populations. The leaders emphasized the role of data-driven strategies in reshaping healthcare delivery and investment decisions to ensure equitable access and improved community health outcomes.

In the session dedicated to real-life applications of IoT and AI in smart cities, participants highlighted the transformative impact of technologies like 5G/LoRaWAN, sensors, and smart apps in enhancing urban infrastructure, economic development, and sustainability through the generation and integration of real-time datasets. The session illustrated how these advancements supported data-driven decision-making processes using AI tools and digital twins, ultimately shaping smarter and more efficient cities.

Lisa Flores, former Chief Procurement Officer of New York City, and August Chen, Co-Founder and CEO of Hazel, discussed how digital transformation and technological advancements had reshaped government procurement. They explored strategies that navigated technical requirements and dynamic vendor landscapes, aiming to modernize procurement practices to better suit the innovative economy of the time.

The potential impacts of AI-powered wearable devices on cities was discussed in a separate session. Participants utilized “threatcasting” to anticipate future scenarios and discussed proactive strategies for public officials and policymakers to prepare for the challenges and opportunities of spatial reality at an urban scale. The session had emphasized the importance of foresight methodologies in helping cities adapt to and leverage technological disruptions effectively.

Ydanis Rodriguez, former DOT Commissioner of New York City discussed how innovations in transportation, including smart technologies and sustainable practices like electric vehicles, were reshaping urban mobility. This session highlighted the role of these advancements in addressing congestion, improving air quality, and enhancing overall urban quality of life, emphasizing the integration of real-time tracking, data analytics, and user-centric innovations in mobility services and payment systems.

Building on this successful week in New York City, we look forward to the upcoming Smart City Expo Work Congress 2024, which will take place in Barcelona, on 5-7 November 2024.