User orientation and co-creation are now emphasized in smart city development

The Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 gathered over 24,000 visitors to Barcelona on November 19-21. This year, in the world’s leading annual smart city developers’ international event, user orientation and versatile co-creation were emphasized.

For many years, the Smart City Expo World Congress has been a meeting place for businesses, cities and other stakeholders interested in smart city development. This year, the event attracted more than 1000 exhibitors, over 400 speakers and over 700 cities from 146 countries. Tampere was also present together with eight companies to talk about the smart city development done in Tampere, Finland. Tampere is seen as a pioneer and the solutions developed here aroused interest – this was confirmed, among other things, by the fact that the meetings for companies and Tampere city representatives organized at the end of the Meet the Nordic Cities session were fast fully booked. In addition, during the traditional Tampere Reception, many visitors gave positive feedback on the work done in Tampere. Delegations from the United States and Great Britain visited the Tampere stand, and the BBC was interested in interviewing one of the companies from Tampere, Utelias Oy, about the Elias robot and its development work.

Welfare, efficiency and competitiveness through user orientation

The role of human well-being was strongly emphasized in many contexts in the event. Smart city development is not just about technology development, but cities want to use technology to improve the quality of life of their citizens, the efficiency of city services and activities, and the competitiveness of the region. Smart city development has gone from technology-driven development through citizen and user-driven co-creation to a tentative approach that addresses the needs of citizens in a diverse ecosystem. In Japan, “Super Smart Society” and “Super Cities” are already being designed to solve economic and social challenges in a user-friendly way using the latest technologies (IoT, artificial intelligence, robotics). Increased integration of the physical and digital environments requires more comprehensive architectural design.

Smart city development is moving in an increasingly holistic direction, where people remain in the center. In Tampere, determined work on ecosystem development has been done. This enables the development of a diverse smart city. Tampere has also involved urban citizens in strategy work and was the first city in Finland to launch a crowdfunding experiment, says Project Manager Merja Maijala from Business Tampere.

Strong will for co-creation

Another trend that emerged strongly at the event was the will to develop together. Tampere has made progress in developing functional ecosystems that systematically push things forward and deliver visible results. Cooperation is needed both within the city and between different actors. In urban development, the challenge is often find and optimize cooperation between different city units to advance common topics. Indeed, promoting cooperation between the city units is also one of the decisive factors in determined ecosystem development.

Tampere has attracted international attention thanks to its strong cooperation. Different parties want to learn how we work, says Smart Tampere Ecosystem Program Director Seppo Haataja from Business Tampere.

People are used to getting a more comprehensive service and the same kind of action on city services is inevitable if cities want to provide an easy and smooth daily life. Developing a city in partnership with university, city and business experts brings a multidisciplinary dimension and ensure the best possible outcome.

In practice, co-creation can be very far from simple, and unsuccessful experiments will inevitably come up. It is important, therefore, to gather and share the lessons so that you do not have to repeat the same mistake in many cities. For this reason, Tampere participates in the working groups of Finnish cities as well as Nordic and European networks in order to make the latest lessons of development projects available to different experts.

The companies that attended Smart City Expo World Congress 2019 together with Smart Tampere were Cation Oy, Demola Global, Jalonne Oy, Metosin Oy, Loopshore, Multi Agent Technology Oy, Utelias Oy and Vinka Oy.


More information

Merja Maijala
Project Manager, Smart Tampere
Business Tampere
tel. +358 50 486 1253

Share news