With the advent of the “smart city” concept many world nations began competing for this title. The modernization of infrastructure, development of 5G networks, ensuring the safety and comfort of living spaces – it is a race involving the most cutting edge technologies. Participants of the session “Need for Speed. How connectivity speeds up the development of cities” discussed the essence of the “smart city” paradigm.

Today 55% of the population of the planet lives in cities. “According to the UN prognosis, soon, when our numbers reach the 10 billion mark, this parameter will have increased to 75%,” noted Microsoft Vice President Steve Crown. The more pressure is on the city infrastructure, the greater is the need for drivers of its development.

“In early two thousands, when we had began to build optical networks in Russia, everyone was saying, “who needs a 100 megabit speed?” One megabit was considered a fast speed back then. Yet it is the creation of the optical networks that made the modern degree of development of the internet possible. And today we yet again need to develop the infrastructure, to work ahead of the schedule. Because it will be too late when there is already demand for it. The creation of a countrywide network takes years. And now, just like 18 years ago we are again being asked, who needs such quality. But we know that it will soon be the norm,” reported President of ER-Telecom Holding Andrey Kuzyaev.

Former leader of the Australian Government's Digital Transformation Agency Paul Shetler shared how he had spoken with an employee of the Brisbane administration about their approach to the smart city. “We want to provide our citizens with high quality services and to give them an opportunity for development,” said that woman. She wasn’t talking about automation or self-driving vehicles. She said, “The city needs to understand what it means to be “smart.” We want our city to be wonderful, so that people would want to live there.”

“We are much too focused on technology. The platform principle is more important than the platform itself. We need to unite people, to build a consortium. We hold different views, yet we work together. We speak different languages, yet we communicate. It is important to be oriented towards global goals and to create a partnership so that we could move forward. It is a digital journey into the future,” announced Vice President of Huawei Enterprise Edwin Diender.

The ideas of a smart city vary based on social and cultural differences. While some bet on technological development, others prefer to ensure comfort, and someone else is focusing on creating a balanced ecosystem. Yet, they are all united in the pursuit of a higher quality of life for their citizens.