Smart cities and communities are living environments in which the use of modern ICT technologies allows people to raise the quality of life in many areas. It involves the participation of society, infrastructure and the environment, which through the use of digital technologies allow for lower costs, lower consumption of resources, easier transfer and mobility of the population, greater security and thus higher quality of life and participation of the population. At the same time, the higher quality of the developed solutions within the smart cities also enables a more rational use of public funds.
Why is the conference in Slovenia?
Slovenia has an important geo-strategic position. It is positioned on the crossroad of several macroregions such as Danube, Alpine, Adriatic-Ionian and Mediterranean region and is therefore also the crossroad of different transport routes and corridors as well as the crossroad of different cultures.
Since one of the greatest challenges R&D companies are facing today, is the lack of testing environment through common pre-commercial procurement models, where the developed solutions could be tested and proven, we see Slovenia as a perfect platform for new solutions. Because of its size and it strategic position Slovenia is perfectly suited to be the reference country for different “smart cities” solutions which could then be implemented in other parts of central and eastern Europe also.
Most of the “Smart cities” investments today go to big metropolitan cities in the Western Europe. However, the majority of cities in the area of Central and Eastern Europe are smaller in size and therefore have different issues and challenges.
Therefore, we see the need and opportunity of bringing more capacities also to smaller cities in EU regions, which would enable them more innovations, sharing basic “smart infrastructure” and enabling SMEs to test, deliver proof-of-concepts and reference installations in specific areas. This would certainly speed-up and facilitate the implementation process for the industry, while improving the capacities and the public image for the cities as well as increase the competitiveness of these regions.
The objective of the conference
The overarching goal of the conference is to connect small sized cities (less than 300.000 inhabitants) in order to facilitate the exchange of best practices between them and to find synergies and possibilities for future development.
Smart Specialization Strategy is an important approach for improving the competitiveness and has to be taken into account. Slovenian government has positioned Smart cities as one of important pillars of long term innovation and established Strategic research innovation partnership (SRIP) Smart Cities and Communities. The partnership, coordinated by JSI (the biggest research organization in Slovenia), and engaging more than 140 partners from industry and research, is the major organizer of the smart towns conference.
The conference will cover the following topics:
• Mobility, transport & logistics;
• Energy & Circular Economy;
• Town Management;
• Interregional Cooperation.
The smart towns conference will be the first of its kind in Ljubljana.
It is organized by:
- Jožef Stefan Institute – the coordinator of Strategic Research Innovation Partnership (SRIP) Smart Cities and Communities,
- European Commission and
- Watify (a non profit initiative supported by the European Commission).