Can Smart City Expo World Congress Get Human-Centric?


Barcelona is getting its digital ducks in a row to prepare for Smart City Expo World Congress, the leading international event on cities and smart urban solutions. Representatives from major global hubs like New York, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Sydney, Tokyo and Seoul are coming together to share knowledge, but also flex each country’s latest and greatest smart city innovation.

Internationally-recognized smart city strategist and CEO of the digit group, inc.Paul Doherty, is a bit perplexed, though. Why is the leading smart city conference still so focused on the next big technology, when there’s something deeper to smart city evolution that still needs to be addressed?

Paul’s Thoughts

“So here’s the thing, it’s November. And when it’s November, it’s always time Barcelona to go to the Smart City Expo World Congress. It’s an interesting time because it sort of rolls up that year’s theme. And my take on this is that there’s a lot of talk about convergence in smart cities. Great that they’re finally getting there, about thinking about ecosystems instead of everyone touching the elephant in a different way and calling it a smart city.

But as I’m looking through all of the different types of themes and proposals and what’s being talked about on the floor, where’s the human-centric side of this stuff, right? I know that Yogi Bera had a famous saying that, “no one goes there anymore because it’s too popular.” That’s kind of what the Barcelona World Expo’s turned into for smart cities.

A lot of big names, a lot of self-interest, but when are we gonna just talk about the human-centric community based way of where smart cities really brings us value. Let’s wait and see.”

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