An ICT platform for sustainable energy ecosystem in smart Cities

logo report 1 IEEEParticipant: Marcos Aurélio Domingues (INESC P&D BRAZIL)

In August 6 to 11, 2017 took place in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, the First IEEE International Summer School on Smart Cities (IEEE S3C). The school was organized by the Metrópole Digital Institute (IMD), located at the campus of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). The school focused on the use of Information Technology (IT) to solve many problems faced by big cities. The School provided a wide range of state-of-the-art courses and activities led by some of the most prominent researchers and practitioners in the area. Marcos Aurélio Domingues, from the INESC P&D BRAZIL, attended the school on behalf of the ERA-NET LAC ITCity project consortium. 

The goal of the school was to provide an overview on problems, methodologies, techniques and economic assessment approaches related to the use of information technology solve many problems faced by big cities, as for example, transportation, security, health, tourism, and so on.

In order to provide more details about the summer school, a short description of the courses presented during the school is given below.

A Practical Perspective on Innovative Design for Smart Cities by Gilles Betis covered the practical part of the programme of the summer school, promoting an iterative and growing methodological approach for the development of smart cities based on ecosystem empowerment, innovation, value creation, and entrepreneurship. Based on real-life case studies, an intensive group work format was provided to the participants with the appropriate environment to collectively address issues and design solution plans for smart cities. As result of this course were proposed some applications to address problems related to security, garbage collection, tourism and transportation in the city of Natal.

Urban Happiness, Modes and Means by Derrick de Kerckhove covered different ways to make a city smart, achieving efficiency between various services and, presumably, harmony among its citizens. This course also examined the city of Singapore and its extremely advanced smart city program, but also the consequences on citizen sense of well-being and civil liberties.

Kansas City Case Study by Aaron Deacon described a case study of a city which was independently chosen as pilot location for Google's experiment in laying fiber-optic cables and delivering gigabit-speed Internet to homes and businesses. This private investment, estimated at near $1 billion, had a transformative effect on the Kansas City region, sparking an entrepreneurial renaissance, a city focus on data-driven performance, and the pursuit of additional smart city projects.

Smart Mobility: issues and opportunities by Rosaldo Rossetti gave emphasis to understanding whether smart mobility and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are synonymous or there is a dichotomy between the concepts. In addition to being a central concern in ITS, citizens become active participants in smart mobility. The author also covered issues and opportunities for citizens' engagement in generating disruptive innovation in mobility systems.

From Living Labs to Human Smart Cities by Álvaro de Oliveira presented some Living Labs user-driven innovation methodologies and the transition from the triple to quadruple Helix where a strong collaboration between companies, universities, public administration, and citizens will be driving the new urban innovation ecosystems. Several Living Lab cases studies were also presented during this course.

Internet of Things on Smart Cities: Challenges and Perspectives by Joel Rodrigues presented basic concepts about Internet of Things (IoT) in the context of smart cities. The author also presented the Inatel Smart Campus, an open campus started in August 2016 for research on IoT and promoting the academy-enterprise interaction.

Cloud and Fog Computing for Smart Cities by Nelson Fonseca presented an introduction and discussed concepts such as smart cities, IoT, the role of Cloud and Fog Computing for smart cities, types of services, processing, storage and networking in Cloud and Fog Computing, virtualization, and Big Data processing. 

Exploring the Potential of Civic Apps Competitions by Kiev Gama described some findings and presented strategies for constructing civic apps. The course focused on competitions stimulating the creation of "civic apps" by using the argument that a few thousands of dollars invested in prizes would generate crowdsourced software that altogether would cost millions of dollars to develop. The author also described that in recent years, the potential of these contests started to be criticized with different arguments: the participants being motivated only by money, bad scope definition of applications, problems around the resulting applications such as low quality or lack of maintenance, etc.

Besides the courses, the school also provided a workshop where the researchers had the opportunity to present their works to an audience of experts in the area. The topics of interest to the workshop, according to the web site of the event, included:

  • Open data, ontologies, taxonomies, and data integration;
  • Data Analytics (data mining, data visualisation, big data, data streaming, etc.);
  • Smart mobility;
  • Social Simulation and societal issues;
  • Smart city ecosystems e innovation methodologies;
  • Metrics and benchmarks;
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and platforms for smart cities;
  • Civic engagement (government, health-care, sports, etc.);
  • Standards for smart cities;
  • Entrepreneurship and new business models;
  • Energy sustainability;
  • Renewable energy sources.

Finally, I want to finish this report by mentioning that the school was a good opportunity to disseminate the ITCity project.

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