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CeBIT 2017: Smart Cities of the Future

2017-03-08 10:29:40


Digitalization is opening up massive opportunities – and not only for businesses. Cities and municipalities are also benefiting from the Internet of Things, Big Data and artificial intelligence. At CeBIT 2017 some of the top names in the industry will be unfolding their vision for the smart cities of the future.


Hannover. Congestion-free traffic, dynamic navigation systems that guide each motorist to an empty parking space, and intelligent technology that delivers energy exactly where it is needed – such visions of the cities of tomorrow almost sound too good to be true. But at this year’s CeBIT a number of companies will be showing that these concepts are not far-fetched at all: digitalization has brought them well within reach.


In Germany, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich are already leading the way, with smart-city programs in the pipeline. Most of these new concepts are about the intelligent control of urban systems, such as traffic management, utility supplies or logistics. Dirk He user from the Urban Software Institute (Hall 7, Stand A14) believes that there is a great opportunity here for cities and municipalities: “85 percent of the population is already living in large towns and cities”, he points out. “So the time has come to tap existing data sources such as traffic control centers, registers of residents, environmental sensors and energy supplier records, and to make practical use of the data.” Not only will businesses then be able to design services and offerings that make life better for their customers, but residents themselves will benefit directly by having valuable information at their fingertips – about energy generation, environmental conditions or traffic volumes, for example.


Drawing practical conclusions from public data

The Institute has developed a platform known as “Urban Pulse”, which collects all the data and makes it available to different interest groups. The information is sent by sensors and specialist departments, typically from parking meters, traffic lights and cameras, as well as record offices and traffic control centers. This data can then be analyzed and used for practical benefits such as dynamic traffic light switching or individual route planning for satellite navigation devices – all in real time.


ZTE, a leading Chinese supplier of telecommunications equipment and network solutions (Hall 12, Stand D53) is presenting its Smart City 3.0 project, aimed at driving forward the digital transformation of towns and cities. ZTE has opted for a PPP model, which gets private enterprises, public stakeholders and the people hence PPP – working together to create a firm economic and social foundation for the implementation of smart city solutions. The main priority here is the development of the technical infrastructure and networks in our towns and cities.


As well as traffic management and freight logistics, maintaining utility supplies energy and water – is another growing challenge faced by towns and cities worldwide. Today, 54 percent of the world’s population is already living in urban environments, and by 2050 that figure is expected to rise to 66 percent, according to a United Nations forecast. In this context, innovations clearly have an important part to play in helping us to use energy more efficiently.


Efficient electricity supplies

One such innovation is the use of so-called smart meters, which not only measure energy consumption, but can also transmit readings, making them a vital component of modern smart grids. Capgemini (Hall 7, Stand A44) is one company that is developing solutions for efficient energy use in collaboration with big players such as Siemens, Microsoft and SAP – for example, by utilizing management platforms or cloud-based systems for dynamic distribution.


One area with huge growth potential is energy management in our buildings. The energy consumed by buildings accounts for anything from 20 to 40 percent of a country’s total energy bill. Experts are therefore estimating that the market for smart building technology will be worth around 36 billion US dollars by the year 2020. “The Internet of Things is going to speed up the digital transformation tremendously”, says Olivier Sevillia, head of Application Services Two at Capgemini. “Developing a consistent strategy and an innovativeplatform for IoT services is an essential instrument for businesses to deliver the support their customers require.”


Connected systems for towns and cities – and their residents

Digitalization is a fact of life – and towns and cities need to get to grips with it like everybody else. “The question is not whether to go along with digitalizationor not”, says Dr. Daniel Holz, CEO of SAP Germany. “The question is whether youare going to use this trend to your advantage, and get the maximum addedvalue out of it.” At this year’s CeBIT, SAP will be presenting a live demo amongstother things, where visitors are invited to slip into the role of an airportmanager. With the aid of augmented reality technology they will have theopportunity to learn about the different issues, processes and challenges thatare part of everyday life at an airport – and how digital applications can assist with their management and resolution.


The conference “Beyond Smart Cities: Smart Urbanism”, part of the program for CeBIT 2017, highlights the challenges and opportunities presented by thedigital transformation, with presentations by guest speakers working in thetechnology sector, research, and town planning. Once towns and cities aroundthe globe are connected via digital networks, they can learn more quickly fromone another and jointly develop effective strategies. Technology will in futurebe an integral instrument of social innovation. “Smart Urbanism” is at the heart of this.


There is no standard template for the smart city. Rather, towns and cities willneed individual concepts and technologies, adapted to their specific situationand framework conditions.


At the “Smart Options” convention, participants will be introduced to the opportunities that exist for large sections of the population to play an active role in combating climate change. The main focus will be on low-cost solutions for the rented housing sector. Exhibitors will be presenting apps, for example,that help to cut the cost of heating by saving energy, as well as entry-level engineering solutions for improving the energy performance of buildings in the low-cost sector. The majority of these products are aimed at the general public.


The “B2City” conference explores the potential for our cities of innovations developed by start-ups and SMEs. The conference serves as a platform for knowledge-sharing and international collaborations between commercial suppliers and city authorities.


CeBIT – Global Event for Digital Business

CeBIT is the world’s foremost event on everything essential to the wave of digitalization transforming virtually every aspect of business, government and society. Every spring, the show features a lineup of around 3,000 exhibitors and attracts some 200,000 visitors to its home base in Hannover, Germany. The spotlight is on all the latest advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, virtual and augmented reality, humanoid robots anddrones. Thanks to a rich array of application scenarios, CeBIT makesdigitalization tangible in the truest sense of the word. “d!conomy – no limits”, the chosen lead theme for 2017, underscores the show’s emphasis on revealingthe wealth of opportunities arising from the digital transformation. As amultifaceted exhibition/conference/networking event, CeBIT is a perennial must for everyone involved in the digital economy. The startup scene is also right at home at CeBIT and its dedicated SCALE 11 showcase, which sports more than 400 aspiring young enterprises. The next CeBIT will be staged from 20 to 24 March 2017, with Japan as its official Partner Country. 

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