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Shaping The Smart City, A Dublin Perspective

The technology landscape has changed drastically in the past ten years. With the rise of Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Social Media and Mobile there is a real opportunity to apply these new technologies in a way that can make cities more sustainable, efficient and engaging for residents and visitors alike.

The creation of the Smart Dublin programme 2016 was a step in the right direction to turn our city challenges into opportunities for innovation addressing questions like:

  • How might we reduce Traffic congestion and deliver sustainable mobility?
  • Can we better understand and respond to extreme weather events?
  • How do we improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of our buildings and transportation services?
  • How can we engage citizens and work more closely with them to deliver enhanced services? 

There is a real opportunity for cities across the world to increase the capacity of their administrations to better plan and implement smart technologies and infrastructures. Smart cities absolutely require collaboration and engagement between the city authority, the academic and business sectors and, most importantly, citizens. We are the independent broker who can bring all these sectors together. And that is very much the key to success from our experience to date. 

Established in 2018, our Smart Docklands district is located at the heart of Dublin’s technology quarter. It’s mission is to deliver and fast track smart city projects and deployments and to understand the different types of connectivity and future networks that would enable future cities.

It is a partnership with CONNECT research centre through its Enable programme – both funded by Science Foundation Ireland and based in Trinity College Dublin. Smart Docklands has created a dedicated Project Management Office (PMO) to play an independent role amongst multiple stakeholders and drive the delivery of these deployments.

This includes world leading global tech companies such as Google, Intel and IBM to local residents’ groups, from academic institutions to international property developers, and from the municipality itself to innovative start-ups and small businesses.

Cities are competing with each other for talent and jobs and unless you are ahead of the curve, your city could be left behind. There are important decision points to be made in terms of how cities and states respond to new technologies, and also how they can use data to improve decision making. If the city doesn’t help shape the future are we happy for commercial entities and corporates to do so without the input of citizens? And if cities aren’t stepping up and being proactive – working with partners and engaging the market to create new solutions to our big challenges, it’s a missed opportunity.

Dublin is now leading the way in demonstrating the potential of new and emerging technologies that will transform cities. We are fast-tracking projects such as 5G connectivity and open source 3D city models as well as providing physical test site in which companies can trial new technologies, r ensuring that Dublin is at the forefront of innovation.

Dublin recently ranked in third place in fDi’s Smart Location of the Future, 2019, while the Smart Docklands initiative was first place in the FDI Strategy category.