Smart City innovation challenge – VINCI Energies and Axians Infoma offer sustainable solutions
Twelve hours less of sitting in traffic every year? For many long-suffering city dwellers, including in Germany, this might sound like paradise. In Dubai it’s already a reality. The Arabian city has millions of inhabitants – through investments in the smart city and similar targeted measures, it succeeded in making noticeable improvements in quality of life for its citizens. This work gained Dubai a top position in the ranking of smart cities.
But what exactly does it mean to be a smart city? According to the DIN definition, smart cities are residential areas where sustainable products, services, technologies, processes, and infrastructures are used in a systematic way – typically supported by highly integrated and networked information and communication technologies. To put it another way: Smart city concepts are designed to improve quality of life, for instance through smart networking of environment, energy, and traffic. This is an existential issue for German cities, and will become more important as time goes on. After all, roughly three quarters of the country’s population lives in cities, and that number continues to grow.
Digitizing society, policies, and administration is the key to smart urban development. The trend stands for future major shifts both in administration and in the lives of citizens. It involves new, more transparent and more efficient administrative processes and the fulfillment of citizen expectations for quality of life, sustainability, and improved service.
If German local governments don’t want to lose their spot in the international rankings of leading smart cities, close collaboration with a network of companies will be key to create a comprehensive approach. However, strategies for doing so that take into consideration a large number of different smart city services – from mobility to energy management and security solutions – are rare. The results of a recent study confirmed this. German cities need to “focus heavily on using new technologies or initiate transformations to become a smart city, in order not to fall back in international competition and lose their attractiveness. Having the right smart city concept is becoming more and more of a factor in choosing the right location,” according to the study “German smart city market 2017-2022 facts and figures” by Arthur D. Little consulting and the eco Association of Internet Business.
This means that smart cities are primarily an innovation challenge. The challenge is based on three main issues: sustainable development, initiating and expanding digitization, and citizen participation. These result from the digital transformation and energy transformation, and are developments supported by the range of services offered by our parent company VINCI Energies. As part of the global Axians umbrella brand for ICT solutions by VINCI Energies, Axians Infoma also provides a broad range of services that help efficiently build consistent, citizen-friendly processes as the basis for a smart city – from integrated invoice workflows to the ePortal to electronic files and much more.
Without a doubt, creating a “smart” local government is an extremely complex project that involves heavy investments. Many different areas have to be taken into consideration and integrated. In order to provide customers and interested parties complete information on issues like the digital and energy transformations, VINCI Energies installed a digital platform last year. The company uploads new content each month at www.theagilityeffect.com. The website reports on initiatives and innovations from all over the world developed specifically to shape the upheavals currently underway in energy and digital technology. In addition, “The Agility Effect”, a print magazine, is put out twice each year and includes selected contributions from the platform. The current issue, for instance, deals with different issues like the dashboard as a key tool for the smart city, or networked properties allowing consistent controlling for buildings, using Africa as an example. From large-scale energy infrastructure projects to the quick implementation of digital services, the continent is working towards positive economic and social development.
La Fabrique de la Cité is another international platform by VINCI Energies with the goal of “inventing the city of tomorrow today.” It brings together different players who design, plan, build, and live in smart cities for research projects. Currently, La Fabrique de la Cité is working to plan out the city of 2050. The focus is on current and future challenges like demographic shifts, climate change, dwindling natural resources, and lifestyle changes.