Internet access alone doesn't make a city 'smart'

Edit: IISSC has been moved to 2017, and dates in the article have been changed accordingly.

We had the pleasure of talking with Antonella Longo from the University of Salento Department of Engineering Innovation, and the General Chair of the 2nd EAI International Conference on ICT Infrastructures and Services for Smart Cities, IISSC 2017, which will take place on April 20-21, 2017, in Brindisi, Italy. Since she is an expert on technologies and concepts that drive Smart Cities, we have gained a lot of insight from this interview. We hope that you do, too.

What is the main topic of IISSC 2017 and why is it important? What is this event’s vision?

Modern cities are becoming more and more representative of a changing world, where several trends are clearly emerging: constantly improving technological innovation, fast and chaotic urbanization, ageing population in Western countries and simultaneous demographic growth in emerging countries, global warming and environmental pollution are just some of them. In order to cope with these challenges, the main topics of IISSC 2017 aim at capturing the most important innovations in several perspectives: ICT, Socio-Technical and Social, since all these areas are mutually related. In addition, the event’s vision is also aimed at involving not only people from academia but also industrial stakeholders, policy makers and city managers in order to allow conference attendants to achieve a 360-degree vision about what becoming a Smart City truly means.

One of the desirable innovations that could help the place where we live, as well as any other urban scenarios, is the diffusion of a truly effective ICT infrastructure capable of supporting e-services both for citizens, and for other stakeholders.

Over the past few years, different internet access technologies were developed. Which is the most promising for a Smart City? What technologies are used the most by the researchers?

Antonella Longo, General Chair of IISSC 2016
Antonella Longo, General Chair of IISSC 2017

Not only internet access technologies allow cities to become “smart”. There are several other technological drivers capable of boosting the development of a city: the diffusion of powerful portable electronic devices, sophisticated and interconnected sensor equipments, cloud computing services and infrastructures and the capability of connecting virtually any device to the Internet, according to the so-called Internet of Things. These represent the most promising opportunities for modern cities, as well as the most intriguing knowledge areas where we daily perform our research activities.

What would be the one Smart City innovation, which you would like to see in your place of living?

Being involved in academic research allow us to experience many urban realities, in several countries and continents, where multiple Smart actions are becoming more and more widespread. But Italian cities are moving fast towards the “Smart City revolution” as well. Therefore, one of the desirable innovations that could help the place where we live, as well as any other urban scenarios, is the diffusion of a truly effective ICT infrastructure capable of supporting e-services both for citizens, and for other stakeholders, so that the entire community can be involved in a paradigm where both service consumers and service customers are allowed to experience new opportunities and test new business ideas.

City of what size is most likely to become a smart city? Does bigger mean better in this aspect as well?

There is no “magic size” for a Smart City. Big urban areas and small towns might experience the same troubles in achieving a progressively higher degree of smartness and can benefit from smart actions as well. However, some undeniable aspects have to be mentioned: bigger cities should have higher funding opportunities for financing and fostering smart initiatives, whilst smaller cities should benefit from their need of paying much more attention to smaller problems in the everyday life of citizens. I think that a good combination of smaller, smart technologies, and carefully aimed smart actions could be more useful for both big metropolitan scenarios and small towns.

What are your expectations for IISSC 2017?

The involvement of international researchers, as well as the participation of policy makers and industrial stakeholders will make IISSC 2017 a truly promising moment of knowledge sharing and technological showcasing. Moreover, we aim at boosting new research opportunities and foster novel project partnerships across the involved participants.

IISSC 2017 is now accepting papers! Learn more.

Leave a Reply