International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development
IKED - International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development

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..:: The New Data Age and Smart Cities

The information revolution is about to enter a new stage with the combination of big data, smart sensors, convergence, distributed computing, the cloud, the Internet of things, and artificial intelligence. With 5G, Broadband capacity rolled out with support of satellites will be beyond anything we have seen to date and span the entire planet.

The resulting massive and also dense continuous communication between billions of human users and trillions of intelligent devices will transform the digital world as we have known it to date. Issues of security, authentication, authorisation, privacy, integrity, accountability and trust will have to be resolved through other means than we have seen thus far, capable of managing less of a trade-off between security and usability and with user-centric means for human beings to have a stronger "say" how their personal data is accessed and put to use.

On policy
This agenda opens for a range of new project activities in collaboration with various partner organisations. In several of these activities, IKED contributes with structuring analysis of governance and policy aspects. As policies are inherently slow in making, compared to technical progress and the processes of developing and commercializing new digital products, it is necessary to shift the logic of policy from serving as an afterthought to setting directions that make sense because they serve to back functionality and stakeholder engagement based on concern with outputs, not the adoption of specific solutions, and based on principles of vendor and technology-neutrality. To be effective, these kinds of policies further require a combination of clear direction at national level, effective collaboration on a super-regional level, and regional/local level room to maneuver.

Policymakers do carry a development-oriented responsibility, as seen, e.g., in public procurement, public private partnership, public R&D support, and so forth. Some of this action is, again, national or region/international. Much of the direct action that is now taken by public authorities to instigate new partnerships and solutions to various outstanding issues through use of ICT, however, occur at a more decentralised level. It is primarily at the level of city administration that an effective organisation is falling into place for this purpose. The result is what we are becoming familiar with as the "smart city" agenda. Through application of ICT, data is now being collected, processed and used in a way that engages people in an interactive process, allowing for continuous adjustment in-real-time to produce an environment for working and living that is much more receptive to outstanding issues and resolving problems in a strategic as well as immediate manner.

Of all European cities with more than half a million inhabitants, more than 90% now have distinct elements of a smart city agenda. In other regions, such as Asia or the Middle East, the share is less, but examples of dynamic and uniquely devised smart cities are appearing in all parts of the world.

Inconet-GCC Smart City Track
The first phase of the EU-funded Inconet-GCC project started in 2008 and lasted for approximately four years. Aiming at basic capacity-building, the first phase featured mapping of common research interests, areas and issues in the GCC-countries and the European Union. Its results included a specification of priorities for research collaboration between the EU and the GCC countries. It also helped lay the basis for various publications, see for instance...

The second phase, Inconet-GCC II, addresses specialised research and innovation agendas. As one of two main priorities, it incorporates a track on smart city development. IKED, as one of the European partners, focuses primarily on this part. On December 7-8, 2015, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Muscat, the Sultanate of Oman, the project team led by ITEMS in Paris and hosted by the Research Council of Oman, organised the major Conference, "Collaboration for Innovation; Linking GCC and EU". IKED played a major role in supporting the local organisation and moderated two sessions, on Main challenges in EU-GCC R&I cooperation: Ways to overcome the hurdles, and on Innovation in Energy/Smart Cities and Health in an international context.

A previous principal event in this programme was held on October 14-15, 2014, at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, addressed  ‘Smart Cities for Sustainable Development: European and GCC Perspectives". IKED was responsible for preparing and reporting from Panel 2 on "Smart City Infrastructure and the Environment: Leveraging Transportation, Smart Grids, and ICT for Sustainability".

Finally, ahead of the concluding event of the project, organized in Brussels on November 29, 2016, IKED assumed the lead role in preparing the Continuity Study, outlining strategies for future collaboration between the GCC and the European Union, as well as provided major contributions to the Whitepaper and Roadmap wrapping up the end results.

Apart from IKED, the complete list of partners in Inconet-GCC II are:

Smart Data and Well-being
Smart Data and Well-being is a particular project prepared by IKED in collaboration with the Middle East College in Oman and the University of Barcelona as a basis for pioneering and researching the effectiveness of various specific incentives to induce citizens to make use of new technologies for addressing critical outstanding issues, structured for covering transport, energy and heath.

Other related project activities
IKED engages with partners in the Middle East, Europe and Asia around further extensions in projects combining research and development with piloting and execution, to pioneer new methods and insights how to engage people and local communities in smart city development for the purposes of maximizing the benefits. A path-breaking programme is planned in collaboration with the Chinese Government and city authorities, and aims to cover a selected set of major urban regions in China and Europe.

These agendas benefit from the other global activities that IKED leads with a focus on addressing trusted e-services, cyber-security, authentication, privacy, and so forth. In regard to content for smart city development, IKED engages in development work wity PCS  in Sweden, which in turn collaborates with Ericsson Ltd. and researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden and at King's College in London. A particular set of work has to do with the preparation of new apps for integrated smart city solutions in regard to water, mobility-transport, water, waste and energy management.

For an overview of some of the above activities (see link)

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