When it comes to projects that aspire to change reality, we usually find a pivotal moment. This crossroad is when you must decide what is truly possible and what is teetering on the edge between dream and reality. It is this equilibrium between theory and praxis, dreams and reality that embody the actions of those who, like us, dream about smart ecosystems and new urban environments.
At Barcelona’s Smart City Expo World Congress, experts and practitioners from around the world gathered to observe what innovations are being used, what new solutions have been developed and to what extent theory is pushing the boundaries of today’s reality. The event itself, the world’s largest Smart City gathering, is at a pivotal moment and its own crossroad between three paths—the good, the bad and the disruptive.
From its inception, the Smart City Expo World Congress seeks to push the envelope for advancement in the deployment of new technologies, the exploration of new governance models and to fight the inertia of government. It is this latter reality that poses the greatest threat to innovation within our cities. This year’s gathering awakened those paying attention to the fact that we, as a Smart Cities community, find ourselves in the same crossroads, fighting the same battles between the good, the bad and the disruptive.
The “bad”, materialized in the comfort of business as usual, finds itself among those public and private sector representatives who continue to share the same stories of years gone by and of technologies originally deployed in what the digital age would consider an eon ago. These solutions are still being implemented because many cities have not had the foresight, the financing, the political will and/or determination to alter their reality. Few cities want to be at the bleeding edge of technological advancement, fewer still have the resources to seriously consider it. As a result, innovation generated by burgeoning entrepreneurs and talented individuals can easily be lost to time as cities struggle to operate at the pace of innovation.