In the current innovations landscape, smart cities are one of the most exciting achievements for the world’s population – enabling urban connectivity, sustainability and efficiency through digital technologies.
But what constitutes a ‘smart’ city? A city can be defined as smart when it is able to collect and analyse large amounts of data from various activities, such as urban planning and waste management. In smart cities, complex networks of sensors, devices, software and platform are built, operated and maintained. Smart city is currently one of the most effective solutions to address public problems caused by growing urbanisation, such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and unsustainable waste disposal. Its overall purpose is guaranteeing a better quality of life.
In many countries around the world, smart cities are already a reality thanks to the latest technological advancements: Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and 5G are the key innovations that are pacing the development of this urban living model. As these technologies progress and new ones come to life, businesses and governments are drawn to its expansion. Funding and investments in smart city-related start-ups are growing, as well as collaborations between corporates and start-ups to carry out joint smart cities projects. By 2025, it is forecasted that the global smart cities market will be worth USD 2.5 trillion.
Given this development, it comes as no surprise that events and conferences on the topic of smart cities are blooming, covering a variety of related topics like urban planning, smart grids, smart energy, utility, water and sustainability.
Over the years, MCI has had the chance of partaking in high-profile events in the field, creating the platform where ideas around smart living could flourish and circulate.
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The latest of these events was the Cities of the Future Event held by HSBC in Paris last November. In designing an event that brought the city of the future to the present, our focus was on what a smart city is really about. For us working with live audience engagement strategies and community building, the answer could only be: enabling and empowering future citizens to create meaningful connections with each other and their cities.
More than ever before, people are in control of their own experiences and hold the keys to their potential success. For this reason, they invest more and more time in enriching conversations for their personal and professional benefit. While data is the fuel of the smart city and technology is the infrastructure that supports the transformation, fruitful human interactions are the foundation for a successful business and sustainable future.
With that in mind, we delivered an event that mirrored this idea: a concentrated future city where businesses, technology and data all converged. With customers and key players as ‘Future Citizens’ at the centre of the ecosystem. And HSBC as the intelligent enabler that connects all the different aspects of the ecosystem together.
But, if our experience was a metaphorical future city, it needed to be ‘smart’. A space that allowed our Future Citizens to affect and be positively affected by their surroundings and to connect to other citizens and commercial opportunities. By doing this, we could ensure that every customer, or key player attending this event will leave feeling ‘smarter’, better connected, and attributed this feeling to HSBC. And so, the concept of ‘Smarter Connections’ was born.
We created an immersive, connected environment – a reflection of the smart ecosystem, containing inspirational demos, places to meet, relax, connect, learn, eat and drink. Thanks to a built-in intelligent communications solution, citizens could be connected with plenary content, speakers, demos, HSBC and one another, from the minute they received the invite and reaching way past the event itself.
Finally, this event positioned HSBC as the facilitators of collaboration and the enablers of innovation. Connecting Future Citizens to their Future Cities and making them both smarter for the experience.
This article is based on external and internal research data by MCI.