Smart with a Heart: Bringing Together the Smart City Community at Nordic Edge 2018
From 25-27 September 2018, the fourth Nordic Edge Expo & Conference took place in Stavanger, Norway. The Nordic Edge is an annual event showcasing the latest innovative solutions from the Smart City community and thus the ideal meeting place for the project partners of the Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities programme. 4500 visitors from all across Europe and even beyond attended this three-day event to present outcomes, exchange knowledge and meet with project partners. Apart from the official event, several side-events were organised around this largest Smart City event in the Nordics, such as the SCIS Project Coordinators Meeting 2018.
“Smart with a Heart” was the theme of this year’s Nordic Edge Expo and Conference. To the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities (SCC1) projects, being smart with a heart has many different meanings. But mostly, it’s about working together and about seeing the person behind as well as in front of the technology – that is, both project representatives as well as the citizens living in Smart Cities. That’s why the Nordic Edge was such a special event this year: it gave project coordinators, universities, technical partners, municipalities, but also investors and decision makers the chance to meet like-minded people with the same enthusiasm at heart. The Nordic Edge Expo with 2500 m2 of exhibition space and 200 exhibitors from more than 47 countries is the place in the Nordics for the Smart City community to exchange knowledge, network and create new business opportunities. During all three days of the exhibition, the SCC1 projects were thus represented with a joint stand, organised by Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (project partner for either dissemination, communication, exploitation or project management in the SCC1 projects Triangulum, Remourban, SmartEnCity, mySMARTLife and also part of us - the Smart Cities Information System) in close cooperation with Stavanger Kommune (project partner of the Lighthouse City Stavanger consortium within Triangulum). The stand featured all 12 SCC1 Lighthouse projects (Triangulum, Remourban, GrowSmarter, Replicate, SharingCities, SmartEnCity, SmarterTogether, mySMARTLife, Ruggedised, IRIS, MAtchUP and STARDUST) as well as SCIS and the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC).
At the stand, project, tender, city and technical representatives had the chance to meet each other, to talk to and inform visitors about the overall SCC1 community, the individual projects and the solutions developed therein and to illustrate the progress that they have made via the joint SCC1 Multitouch Tool that hosts information about all SCC1 projects. Almost the entire SCIS consortium was represented at the stand to promote the SCIS database to the broad public as well as other exhibitors and project representatives.
At the same time, intensive internal task force meetings took place, where the SCC1 community talked about joint activities and shared challenges. SCIS was actively involved: we discussed cooperation possibilities as well as collaborative work between the individual projects and our tender. At the subsequent SCIS Project Coordinators Meeting, representatives of FP7 projects such as R2CITIES, CITyFiED, CITY-zen and EU-GUGLE, joined the meeting to exchange experiences.
The main SCC1 contribution to the Conference took place on Thursday, 27 September: the “Lighthouse Cities Programme”, an entire day of six public and five internal parallel sessions focusing on the challenges and outcomes of the SCC1 projects. The public session “Trial, Innovate, Scaling Up. Lessons learned from Europe ‘s Smart City Lighthouse Projects in a European Context”, moderated by the European Commission’s DG Energy Policy Officer Jens Bartholmes, informed about first results and lessons learned from the projects. Another public session focused on hands-on stories from the City Coordinators of Vienna, Milano, Nottingham, Cologne, Stavanger and Tartu. With the title “Communication – How to make «invisible» projects visible”, communication representatives of various SCC1 projects as well as SCIS, Lighthouse - and Follower Cities presented their findings from a prior internal workshop, which was moderated by facilitator Josh Stinton (Outspire), to the public. Results were graphically illustrated – putting a lot of heart into it - by Kristof Braekeleire and then pitched to the public by the individual project or city representatives.
As part of the plenary sessions, Damian Wagner (Fraunhofer IAO), project coordinator of Triangulum, talked about the progress of the first three SCC1 projects (Remourban, GrowSmarter and Triangulum) and how cities are paving the way towards a European Smart City market place in his talk “Trial. Innovate. Scaling Up!”. Anna Lisa Boni, the Secretary General of EUROCITIES, project partner of SharingCities and also consortium member of SCIS, discussed with the Mayors of Stavanger, Eindhoven and Tampere (amongst other politicians) how to connect with our citizens´ dreams when building smarter cities. The yearly session “Meet the New Lighthouse Cities“, this time co-organised by EUROCITIES, Greater Stavanger (project partner of Triangulum) and Stavanger Region European Office, introduced the latest SCC1 projects IRIS, MAtchUP and STARDUST.
Apart from the official Nordic Edge programme, the SCC1 community used the presence of so many representatives to take part in various other joint activities such as a Stavanger demo site visit, an informal Get Together at the Stavanger Art Museum and the “CROSS-SCC Replication Workshop” (organised by the SCC1 Replication Task Group, Innovations and Networks Executive Agency (INEA), European Commission and SCIS and supported by Morgenstadt and Nordic Edge), a session for fostering replication and upscaling of Smart City solutions amongst the SCC1 community. The cherry on top of this eventful week was a hike to Preikestolen to enjoy the view from the pulpit rock down into the Lysefjord.
The Nordic Edge 2018 was a full success, offering the Smart City community the possibility to meet, discuss challenges, exchange knowledge and best practices and also to network and create new business opportunities. Events like these are at the heart of all the technological and scientific advances that the more than 380 SCC1 project partners (and all the other Smart City stakeholders across the world!) are working on day by day. The theme of this year’s Nordic Edge has thus absolutely brought it to the point. We need to be “Smart with a Heart!”. See you all next year for Nordic Edge 2019 again.