A new network of city-scale test beds that will enable industry to deploy, test and validate smart city innovations in member cities will be launched by the end of the year.
The Urban Technology Alliance is a non-profit that will provide neutral guidance to cities for their sustainable digital transformation.
Levent Gürgen, R&D Project Manager at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, CEA, is leading the building phase of the alliance. He said during the announcement at Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona that what will set this alliance apart from others is the testing and validation.
“If you want to develop a smart city solution you can’t validate it in a lab environment,” he told Cities Today. “Openness is key because the local ecosystem of those cities should also benefit from all the data produced in the city in order to create innovative applications.”
Gürgen said the aim is to create a vibrant ecosystem composed of cities, industry, academy and non-profit organisations. The alliance’s members will network, build partnerships, deploy and test concrete solutions in real-life environments and share best practices and success stories among members worldwide.
The alliance will be open to cities coming “with their problems” and offer an experimentation space for industry to propose solutions. Guidelines and recommendations for deployments will come from members including the key performance indicators necessary to measure the success of the deployment. Although funding is not provided, Gürgen said the alliance will assist to source funding opportunities.
“With these real life deployments in city environments we can validate not only technical aspects but also business models, social acceptance, citizen acceptance, ethics requirements and others,” he added.
Three types of membership will be offered including strategic, principal, and associate. Fees range from €50,000 for large corporates to €5,000 for small companies and cities.
The initial test bed cities include Grenoble, Taipei, Busan, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Bristol, Santander, Daejeon, Bordeaux, Fujisawa, Saitama, Tsukuba, with more due to sign-up.
Although US cities aren’t featured in the list, Gürgen revealed that he is in discussions with Houston and Kansas City. The official launch will take place in Tokyo in mid-December.