Dr Walter Weigel, vice-president of external co-operations at Siemens, discusses three key trends in the development of smart cities at the second Open Innovation 2.0 event in Dublin, and explains how ‘big data’ needs to be ‘smart data’.
Weigel was invited to speak at the conference on 12 June in the Convention Centre Dublin on the topic of the internet of things and smart cities, for which he notes three key trends: electrification, automisation and digitalisation.
Demand for electricity is increasing, but the energy mix is differentiating with the introduction of more renewables, particularly in smart cities. There’s also increasing demand for automisation in order to control of all of the systems these cities need, such as water supply, electricity supply, logistics, gas supply, and traffic handling.
Finally, if all these systems are using sensors and devices gathering information, this results in a lot of communication data, and poses the question of what to do with it. According to Weigel, big data analysis is not enough and Siemens takes it one step further to smart data analysis, which doesn’t take data at face value.
The first field trials of smart cities are already taking place and, in Siemens’ case, this involves the construction of a multifunctional urban district just outside Vienna, Austria, which, between now and 2020, will evolve into an intelligent city of the future with 20,000 residents and 20,000 additional jobs.
Though the term is ‘smart cities’, Weigel advises that densely populated and highly developed urban areas are not necessarily the best place to start building these projects. Instead of applying new infrastructure to old, it would be simpler to test these new technologies in smaller cities.
“This is not a matter of size. This is, for me, more a question of the mayors, of the available funding and, on the end of the politicians, when they would like to start,” he said.