The Internet of Things (IoT) heralds a new level of digitisation. The three driving factors are:  

  • Miniaturisation of sensors and the capturing of mass data
  • Connectivity, i.e., the networking of all possible objects to the Internet and the emergency of new wireless technologies
  • Convergence, i.e., networks merge and devices become multi-functional

This new level of digitisation through the Internet of Things already reached citizens a long while back. Smartphone is actually a wrong term, because these devices are actually Life Management Devices with which one can not only socialise, but also manage daily life – be it shopping, making reservations, seeking information, entertainment, or organising.

This new digital dimension and the Internet of Things has also arrived in the business community and the majority of companies are in the process of strategically acting on it. Those who do not proactively act on this challenge are at great risk of losing market share or completely disappearing from the scene.

This is because the IoT calls into question the business process in all industries. New, non-industry providers are entering the market and challenging established companies. Who would have thought that companies like Kodak or Nokia would disappear? The IoT facilitates new business models and alliances.

Now, the cities have to follow suit because the cities are the habitats for quality of life, for jobs and ultimately for business success.

Over the past decade, the cities and their businesses have already done much with computerisation of administration. The task is now to consolidate existing data, capture new data, link the systems, to connect with the infrastructure, and to merge into a comprehensive system.

  • What should the cities undertake themselves, and what should they leave to third parties?
  • How is one to proceed?
  • Where is the potential?

These are the key questions that SmartSuisse wants to answer.

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Prof. Dr. Carlo Ratti

Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Carlo Ratti

«The best role governments can play, is more to allow citizens to take action, is really more to create a platform so the citizens themselves can force urban innovation. And I think it's more like thinking bottom up instead of top down.»