The concept of the “smart city” has been introduced as a strategic device to encompass modern urban production factors in a common framework and to highlight the growing importance of Information and Communication Technologies, social and environmental capital in profiling the competitiveness of cities. It is significant to mention that by 2050 more than 50% of the global population will live in cities. As a result, a growing number of large tech companies are increasingly focused on smart cities, as they see their technologies and tech solutions as helping make cities, especially very large ones, more easily manageable, and therefore “smart.” Given the enormous scope of the smart cities initiatives in Europe, we expect to see lots of entrepreneurial success stories around smart cities-related technologies and solutions. The big players are all anxious to work with innovative startups. There are already several teams working with more than 5,000 universities around the world, and they are interested in identifying university-related entrepreneurs and startups that would like to work with them on new and innovative technologies, solutions and concepts. A few companies are making concrete efforts to work to both incubate new startups within their company as well as work with external startups in other parts of the world. Although Silicon Valley is already a frontrunner, these companies have committed considerable investment to what Russia hopes will be its future Silicon Valley: Skolkovo. We suspect that many of the projects coming out of the many Skolkovo initiatives will also have direct or indirect connection to smart cities. Either it is Europe, Silicon Valley or Skolkovo, the new trend is one: SMART people create SMART cities, and smart entrepreneurs respond to the current trends by being innovative and creative.
13 May 2013