A festival dedicated to smart cities
Has “smart city” become a buzzword as people in communication like to say? The overwhelming majority of us will be living in cities, and so it is not surprising that many leading figures are wondering about and are planning for the city of tomorrow. Vinci is the most legitimate player in this urban space because the group’s mission is to “design, finance, build and operate infrastructure and facilities that help improve daily life and mobility for all”. Recall that Vinci is the brand that, since the beginning of the century, federates more than 2000 companies and now has more than 2000 companies employing nearly 185,000 people worldwide; inventiveness, humanism and technical challenges are their key values.
But why a festival dedicated to the future of cities? And, more importantly, who are the key players and what are the emerging themes?
While browsing the program of this event that takes place in Paris (and other locations) from June 8 to July 19, we can discover a multitude of stakeholders and promising meetings. For example, Claudie Haigneré, Erik Orsenna and Nicolas Gilsoul, will discuss their vision for cities and citizens in public. But the key changes coming will be from start-ups. Several dozens of them are invited by Vinci to pitch their projects. Will they get us involved in augmented cities? And will they take into account the dizzying volume of data that these new cities will generate?
Data processing, a major issue
The future of data governance is a major challenge for cities. It will be unavoidable in the face of the two requirements of citizens: control and freedom. While urban data can help improve our cities in the very near future, how will the data be kept safe and under what conditions will the data be used? The conference, scheduled for July 3rd at the Fabrique de la Cité in Vienna, brings together Victor Mayer-Schonberger from the Oxford Internet Institute, Charles Népote from FING and Jacques Priol from Civitéo. It promises to be instructive in this respect.
Not so long ago (at the beginning of the year) an English journalist had wanted to defy the surveillance apparatus of a big Chinese city, and had mixed into the crowd of the city (of over 8 million inhabitants) with the hope of not being found. He found himself surrounded by police forces in the space of 7 minutes! This was more proof of the obvious, and perhaps a bit scary, power of the image processing provided by cameras placed all over China (China is particularly advanced in facial recognition related to Artificial Intelligence).
Data is an essential resource for the development of cities and it can – and must – certainly help to improve construction and traffic. However, the issue of securing data and the security of the inhabitants who create this data, can not be neglected. Vinci invites us to think about this and their laboratory, christened Léonard Paris, is an excellent point of meeting and debate for innovative ideas in this field. It is a great initiative to highlight the creative spirit of France.