Image | Smart City Expo World Congress

Smart cities are those capable of finding creative ways to improve life for their citizens and to make it more sustainable. Barcelona, among the many initiatives that it backs, has for years been focusing on making the city more inhabitable and its processes more efficient.

Evidence of this is the celebration of the Smart City Expo World Congress, which in 2015 marks its fifth edition. The SCEWC is the world’s premier event in the sphere of smart cities and urban solutions. The smart cities trend arose in response to the need to find a way to improve the management of large urban areas, hitherto inefficient and highly segmented. The standard practice was for each city to manage its services in a vertical way based on its different municipal departments, which also represented a planning problem. With the advent of new technologies, however, it was demonstrated that handling these processes in a more cross-departmental way would yield higher-quality integrated municipal management.

Since its first edition in 2011 the Congress has been very well received, in just a short time becoming an international landmark event in this new economic sector composed of smart urban solutions, and an indispensable meeting point for companies and institutions. Every year the Smart City Expo World Congress attracts more than 300 speakers from all over the world to reflect and share points of view on projects, new solutions, and revolutionary theories destined to transform the world as we know it.

In just 5 years the SCEWC has grown from 6,000 visitors and 120 companies at its first edition, to 11,000 attendees, 440 represented cities, and 275 exhibiting companies at its fourth. At the 2015 edition, to be held from 17-19 November, new records are expected to be broken in this regard, although in the organisers’ view the fact that the sector’s top people will be in Barcelona on these days is more important than the attendance figures.

Key figures 2014

Image | Smart City Expo World Congress

The profiles of Smart City Expo World Congress attendees are very diverse, as the multidisciplinary approach inherent to the smart city concept means that event brings together all kinds of knowledge-based professionals, whether businesspeople, technicians, municipal managers, politicians, researchers, theorists, economists, etc.

Entrepreneurship also plays a special role at the congress, as participation by entrepreneurs and startups is essential to the evolution of smart urban solutions. Entrepreneurs boast a capacity that major multinationals normally lack: they can develop innovative solutions to very concrete problems much faster. Thus, as a first at this 5th edition, Smart City Expo World Congress presents, in collaboration with 4 Years From Now, 4YFN @ SCEWC, an opportunity for mobile technology sector entrepreneurs offering products and services related to smart cities to connect with the field’s international leaders.

4yfn village

Image | 4YFN @ SCEWC

4YFN looks for the most innovative and revolutionary projects from the smart cities sector to participate in the 4YFN Village exhibition area, at which the startups selected by 4YFN will be able to display their projects, related to the fields of sustainability, mobility, energy, technology or the governability of smart cities, to potential clients and investors in the sector. 4FYN’s participation at the SCEWC is rounded out by the celebration of a special edition of the 4YFN Awards. Startups interested in forming part of the 4YFN delegation at the Smart City Expo World Congress must fill out the form before 25 September.

Another of the Smart City Expo World Congress’s draws is its speakers: figures like the economist Edward Glaeser, who heads up a list including official representatives of cities, professionals from companies that are disruptive solution leaders in the sector, researchers and theoreticians from the academic world; in short, multi-disciplinary profiles designed to offer a 360º view of technology’s potential in the smart city sector.

Thanks to a combination of knowledge, innovative culture and technological support, Barcelona has become an international leader in the smart cities ecosystem.