The latest winds of change in smart city development will blow into Tampere, Finland, in October, when the city hosts the Smart City Event for experts, companies, decision-makers and all who are interested in more convenient urban life.
Tampere’s Smart City Event is the biggest smart city development event in Finland, and it is on the crest of the development wave even on the international scale. Various Smart City conferences are organised frequently all over the world because smart development is one of the methods through which cities try to find their paths to the future.
“Cities look to smart technology for initiatives that attract companies and experts and also make urban life more convenient and comfortable for everyone,” says Development Manager Pauli Välimäki of the INKA programme, which is organising the Smart City Event on behalf of the City of Tampere.
The Smart City Event has been built as a comprehensive cross-section of everything that takes place in smart city development. At the event, Tampere will bring together experts, decision-makers, large and small enterprises and everyone else who is interested in the topic.
“It promises to be three days of occasionally surprising encounters,” says Välimäki.
Tampere is known as a pioneer in smart city development circles, and it has had a great deal of visibility internationally as an active promoter of environmental issues and intelligent transport, for example. The strengths of the region will also be visible at the event. According to Välimäki, the local strengths that help Tampere stand out among smart cities include local ICT expertise and its utilisation in the creation of smart applications and new business, city development as a platform for new applications, and bringing a citizen perspective into city development.
“The perspective of the Smart City Event is not technology but rather how technology can be applied in healthcare, transport or the development of city services, for example,” says Välimäki.
One of the event’s seminars is on the sharing economy, a topic which increasingly touches even ordinary citizens. New digital platforms make it possible for citizens to make their own services available.
“Airbnb and Uber are examples of how people can share their home or car, for example, and we want to figure out at the Smart City Event how the city could promote the sharing economy,” says Välimäki.
The seminar presents, for example, PiggyBaggy, a communal ride sharing service for goods that gives ordinary people opportunities to carry people’s packages on their commute or other trip for a small compensation. Helsinki-based CoReorient Oy, which developed the service, also produces local 24h communal spaces, smart containers with Internet connections that serve as service platforms of the local sharing economy.
“It all started with the difficulties of a carless family with transporting goods, and the solution combined the developers’ technology background and understanding of the limited amount of natural resources. Now we have a company of six people that is progressing in several different directions in sharing-economy solutions,” says CoReorient CEO Harri Paloheimo.
According to Paloheimo, it is difficult to predict the future of the sharing economy because it is affected by many factors ranging from the global market situation to local legislation. However, the potential benefits should be investigated.
“There seems to be a widespread demand for new solutions, but people are often unable to say yet what those solutions might be in practice. Think about mail delivery in sparsely populated areas, for example; new solutions could be found through crowdsourcing,” says Paloheimo.
Regardless of what the future brings for the sharing economy and smart city development, Paloheimo feels it important to keep the hype about them under control and our feet on the ground, so that the services developed become truly established as a part of everyday life.
“The content is the most important thing, and it can only be developed together with the people and by being truly interested in their problems. What we have done, for example, when customers say that there is no library or activities for children in their area – the first thing we bring to the area is a smart container with children’s books.”
The Smart City Event is part of the Mindtrek 2016 conference, the themes of which include the open source, open data and the Internet of Things. The themes of the events complement each other, and one ticket opens many different perspectives for the participants.
“The events are an excellent place to discover and share ideas, meet people and seek partners from among companies, researchers and us city developers,” says Välimäki.
The Smart City Event will be held at the Tampere Hall on 17–19 October. Event website: www.mindtrek.org/2016/smartcity.
Fly Finnair to join Mindtrek 2016 in Tampere 17–19 October 2016
Finnair is proud to offer special event fares for the attendees and their companions travelling to Mindtrek 2016 in Tampere, Finland. Read more and book your flights: www.finnair.com/int/gb/mindtrek2016