By 2050, over 70% of the world’s population is expected to be living in a city. In addition to a booming world population that just surpassed 7 billion, more and more people are moving into cities from the countryside, a trend that, in 2008, resulted in over 50% of the world's population being concentrated in cities for the first time in human history, according to the UN. While many people still think of cities as polluted, crime-riddled population hubs, what most people do not realize is that cities are actually some of the greenest places to live in the world. Not only is a carbon footprint of a city dweller significantly smaller than that of their countryside counterpart, but cities also offer a unique setting for resources, people, opportunities and ideas to converge and spur new avenues of innovation, technology and thought. To match this impending social evolution, there will need to be an equally worthy technological evolution in urban infrastructure to compliment it.
It is expected that the cities of tomorrow will evolve into highly efficient, highly technical habitats for large populations. The infrastructure necessary for this will include a range of technologies from BIPV skyscrapers to personalized public transportation systems, to sustainable green spaces, to sewage and water treatment and reclamation infrastructure- just to name a few. These new technologies will all need an efficient and effective smart grid infrastructure. Smart grids across the globe have already helped cities in substantial ways. In Madrid, emergency response teams have had their response times cut by up to 25% due to smart grid technology. In the Pacific Northwest, IBM smart grid technology has helped cut home energy consumption by 15%. Data sensors tied into the grid along the Hudson River in NYC have helped engineers streamline water management solutions. Tomorrow’s grid will do much more.
As metropolises evolve, the smart city characteristics of the grid will move beyond simple energy efficiency, and will be gateways into human efficiency. Our panel will will take a closer look at the recent evolution of the smart grid and how cities are taking advantages of those new technologies to increase sustainability and quality of life for its inhabitants.
Potential Discussion Topics:
Evaluating the Current Smart City Landscape
§ What are the cutting edge, innovative technologies and planning strategies being put in place in today’s smart cities?
§ What markets effect and are directly effected by smart city development?
§ How are municipal governments and local agencies incorporating smart city planning into their agendas?
§ What market value have these investments created for business?
Future Smart City Development
§ What are the near term plans for smart city development?
§ What tools are available to municipal governments to implement smart city strategies?
§ What markets and industries stand to gain from smart city developemtns?
o How can they nurture smart city industry development?
o What investments are immediately available for smart city interests?
o What can companies expect from the smart city market in the future?
§ What are the financial business obstacles that are in the way of these future developments?