Renato de Castro (International Advisor for World E-Government)


Technology and the City: Disruptive Innovations and Platforms for transforming Smart Cities

Smart Cities: The role of Technology in the City
I used to say that technology is 90% of smart cities in whole and probably in the future we are going to reach almost 100% with its use to make life better. I would love to share some examples that go beyond the use of technology, where, again technology is very important but what are their results? So two years ago, I was in Melbourne and I saw a very nice project. They are making cities more livable. They are mapping 7000 trees, putting all the information of trees in an application where people can download the app to see all the information of these trees. So people started sending the real images of trees, sharing how important the tree has been in their childhood and now they are feeling bad because the tree is about to die in two years. What they saw was that enabling and applying technology to the environment, bring us and our relationship back with the environment. With this Digital Avatar, may be, we can have this relationship with environment through technologies. The next step in Melbourne for them is to start building the relationship between trees and cities, and by chance or not, Melbourne has also been listed as one of the most livable cities in the world from the last five years. So, Technology is very important but we must also use technology to make our lives better.

IoT Technologies Optimizing Smart City Operations
Well the issue about IOT nowadays is connectivity. We are going to internet 5G, so we need to enable more connectivity or leverage the use of IOT. Last February, during Mobile Conference, 1100 people were there, and the mobile industry came with a prediction or forecast that from 3-5 years from then, probably they are not going to have any more smartphones. Can you imagine your life without a smartphone? 10 years ago we didn’t even have a lamp. Now every time we are on a smartphone and 3 years from now, we not going to have smartphones, why? Because we are going to have wearables. When we go to a concert, we see half of the people in live concert, recording and watching the concert through 7-inch screen, which makes no sense. We are not born to type, we are born to speak, to listen and to see. What technology or companies try to do today is to bring back that sense to us. Taking out smartphones and using wearables for going more natural in relating with each other through technology. It’s also a disruption, I really can’t imagine my life without a smartphone!

Technology Trends Shaping the Industry
I think that the new evolution that we are going to face in the future will come with the Smart Cities. We talk a lot about PPPs (Public Private Partnership) that are legal to do urban planning. What I try to do is that, propose one more ‘P’ i.e. Public Private People Partnership.
First of all, what we are doing in smart cities is that bringing new technologies to make our life better. Second and the most important one is in the new sharing economy where we talk a lot about Crowdfunding. I will be very happy to invest in a company that is bringing solutions to make my life easier. It is not about begging for money; it is giving a possibility for people to invest for future. So we should bring this perspective into smart cities, as well.

The World's Most Tech-Ready Countries: Globalization and International Competitiveness
By far we have Singapore that is really a smart city, today. They are running a project called Smart Nation. Singapore has mastered themselves in being a smart city. Singapore Rally got to leverage communication tools in order to make easy flow between government and city. Beside these they have good mobility so if you want to experience the real smart city, then go to Singapore. We need to adapt solutions to our reality, benchmark doesn’t work so well when you come from different countries to different realities. India, as brazil, are still developing countries as we have huge issues in infrastructure. Technology can help a lot in India and this is a good advantage. India is now thinking about smart city mission and the whole world is talking about this. You must ask yourself about the competitive advantage. Lot of technological companies who are not in India yet are willing to come to invest in India. In Silicon Valley, we have engineers from India. It’s time for India to take a proactive role in this world of technology.