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Smart Cities and Communities: Solving Urban Challenges

  • Thursday, 27 September 2018
  • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • 08:30 - 15:00
  • Overview

The scale and reach of new technology is impacting on people’s lives at an unprecedented pace. Governments across the globe are embracing smart city concepts and employing cutting-edge technologies to improve the quality of life for citizens. New innovations at the forefront of smart projects include Artificial Intelligence, open data, Internet of Things, remote healthcare monitoring and clean technologies. Delegates will learn from the leading authorities in urban and community projects about how to employ smart city technologies to transform UK communities.

The UN estimates that by 2030, 5 billion people will be living in cities across the world. Local governments are now embracing their role of protecting and furthering the interests of their citizens and businesses amidst this ever changing and complex landscape. At Smart Cities and Communities: Solving Urban Challenges delegates will discuss the very latest research, policy areas and projects; reflecting on the smart cities strategies that are emerging around the world. Receive practical advice and inspiration from a range of real-life examples.

“The most beautiful visions and the most intricate plans fall down when they are confronted with the messy reality of living cities… if cities do not engage with this issue, then technology will disrupt them regardless.” Jarmo Eskelinen, foreword Smart City Strategies: A Global Review 2017

Our cities and communities are facing increasing pressures on housing, energy, transportation, infrastructure and healthcare due to rapid urbanisation and ageing populations. To address these societal challenges governments across the globe are embracing the smart city concept and developing cutting-edge technologies to improve the quality of life for citizens. New innovations at the forefront of smart projects include Artificial Intelligence, open data, Internet of Things, remote healthcare monitoring and clean technologies to improve sustainability. Smart services can make our cities better but as digital technology and transformation evolves there are challenges as well as opportunities for both citizens and stakeholders.

The latest projections from Future Cities Catapult (Smart City Strategies: A Global Review) show that the smart cities market is expected to grow by 20% per year from over $300bn in 2015 to over $750bn in 2020. As the market continues to grow urban life is rapidly changing, recent years have seen the rise of companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Deliveroo that have brought digital disruption to ecosystems and place. Smart city strategies are typically underpinned by a drive to improve economic, social and environmental outcomes through digital transformation and ICT solutions. As the Future Cities Catapult report makes clear there has been a rapid evolution of the smart city concept. In recent years the narrative has shifted from a technology-led focus on reducing costs and improving service efficiencies to a more citizen-centric approach, focusing on how services and infrastructure can be transformed to improve quality of life and empower citizens. Local authorities have become more proactive engaging with citizens through service co-design, innovation hubs, digital platforms, open data portals and crowd-funding schemes.

Now we are in the third wave of the smart city, one bypassing old systems and focusing on the consumer, with tech companies using digital technology at scale to transform cities. The digital connectivity and infrastructure of cities is being utilised as a platform for companies to create their own markets and providing consumer services such as food deliveries, taxis, accommodation and travel planning. Alongside the opportunities of disruptive technologies in the marketplace there are also challenges, for example the strong evidence that Airbnb can drive up rental prices. Governments are having to manage the implications of digital disruption and take measures to protect their citizens and their data in this new marketplace. How can local government play a more active role in enhancing the positive impacts of technology and safeguard against the negative consequences? How can new technology be harnessed to be more inclusive, transparent and help empower citizens?

Join us at Smart Cities and Communities: Solving Urban Challenges to learn about the latest strategies to stimulate local economic growth, optimise services, improve connectivity and inclusivity, and better understand citizens needs. The agenda will explore the impact of global platform companies, the sharing economy and how local and national governments are responding to the digital disruption challenges. There is growing pressure from citizens for our cities to provide public services in line with what they expect as consumers. This event will help you to tackle implementation challenges for smart city projects and take advantage of the opportunities of the smart city revolution.

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  • Confirmed Speakers

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Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair’s Opening Address

  • Trevor Gibson, Smart City Leadership and Development Manager, Opportunity Peterborough (confirmed)
  • Mike Pitts, Head of Urban Systems, Innovate UK (confirmed)
"Better Urban Living through Smart Infrastructure"

As we add more intelligence to our urban infrastructure the way we will deliver services to citizens in the future will be radically different. Innovate UK are helping business get to that future faster. This talk will describe how the future may be different and examples of the innovation we have supported.

  • Julie Snell, Managing Director, Bristol is Open (confirmed)
"Implementing Smart Strategies, Solving Challenges"

Bristol is Open was named as a pioneering smart city, just behind London, in Huawei UK's Smart Cities Index. The smart city project was also announced as Smart City Innovator of the Year by TM Forum's Digital World Awards. This session will explore how big data is being used to solve problems such as air pollution, traffic congestion and assisted living for the elderly.

  • Matthew Gould, Director General for Digital and Media, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (confirmed)
"Privacy, Safety and Innovation - Squaring the circle with the Digital Charter"

The more that smart technology is used, the more that data is required for all sorts of information flows. This session will examine the role data and security play within smart cities.


Question and Answer Session

  • Mike Pitts, Head of Urban Systems, Innovate UK (confirmed)
  • Julie Snell, Managing Director, Bristol is Open (confirmed)
  • Matthew Gould, Director General for Digital and Media, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (confirmed)

Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study

  • Frans-Anton Vermast, Strategy Advisor & international Smart City Ambassador, Amsterdam (confirmed)
"Amsterdam Smart City project"

Discussing progress of Amsterdam Smart City project, one the world’s exemplars in open data, smart energy and transport, and citizen engagement through a smart citizens lab.


Case Study

"City Smart Services: A complete solution for municipalities"

Smart Cities was a 117-billion-euro industry in 2017. Pretty impressive for IT standards. As technology steadily advances, it’s only natural that we find new uses to make our everyday lives easier – and not just through the social apps that we’re already so very familiar with. However, even these social apps have an important role to play in terms of inspiring user adoption for this type of technology for cities. Learn more about what Smart City initiatives are available, how you can play a part in advancing your municipality and be more proactive in creating a safer, eco-friendlier environment in your region. Check out City Smart Services with Resco, and find out what you can do, to be ahead of market trends and go big with your urban data.


Question and Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area


Chair's Afternoon Address

"Smart Data 2018: Real Case Studies, Real Benefits"

UrbanTide are building smart cities and communities using a unique approach and our award winning SaaS cloud software USMART.IO. Our real-life case studies from 2018 have saved money and increased revenue for public sector clients whilst embracing the ideals of openness and transparency. 

We truly are helping to unlock the power of data and making it super simple for others to do the same with easy to use, scalable and valuable data services. Please come and see what we have done! 

Case Studies include:

  • Big data insight and savings for housing organisations (with Smartline and Coastline Housing)
  • Income revenue generation North Lanarkshire Council
  • Cycling Scotland real-time big open data publication and innovation
  • Jon Sandford, National Infrastructure Planning Lead, Homes England (confirmed)
"Smart Places"

Homes England is the UK government agency responsible for delivering housing. Jon Sandford will provide some current, informal thinking and ideas from Homes England on the issues of Smart Cities as they apply to large scale housing sites - creating collective 'Smart places'. Additionally, Jon will update attendees with a summary of Homes England's overall current remit and priorities.     


Question and Answer Session


Chair's Closing Remarks and Event Close

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  • Featured Events
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Contact Details


  • Smart Cities – Ambitions for the Future

    • Posted on 31 March 2017
  • Data Platforms to Unlock the Potential of Smart Cities

    • Posted on 09 March 2017
    • by CACI Ltd




The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Construction of The Bridgewater Hall commenced on 22 March 1993, but the idea of a new concert hall for Manchester dates back to the reconstruction of the Free Trade Hall in the 1950s after wartime bomb damage. The Free Trade Hall was home to the city’s famous Hallé orchestra and also hosted rock and pop concerts. However, despite holding great public affection, the 1850s Free Trade Hall was ill-equipped to respond to the rising standards of service and acoustic excellence demanded by performers and audiences.

Featured Events

  • Smart Cities & Communities: Shaping the Future

    • 15 March 2016
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Manchester Conference Centre
  • Smart Cities and Communities: Connecting Citizens

    • 09 November 2017
    • 08:30 - 17:00
    • America Square Conference Centre, London
  • Smart Cities and Communities: Solving Urban Challenges

    • 27 September 2018
    • 08:30 - 15:00
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Smart Cities and Communities: Achieving Smart Urban Growth

    • 22 March 2017
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Studio, Manchester

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.
  • Smart Cities Connecting Citizens (1)
    Smart Cities Connecting Citizens (1)

who will attend

·         Academics

·         Asset Managers

·         Central Government

·         Chief Information Officers

·         Councillors

·         Development Managers

·         Directors/Heads of Enterprise and Innovation

·         Directors/Heads of Technology

·         E-government Leads

·         Executive Directors and Chief Executive Officers

·         Heads of Economic Development

·         Heads of Growth and Regeneration

·         Heads of Innovation

·         Heads of Inward Investment

·         Heads of Planning

·         Heads of Policy

·         Heads of Research and Innovation

·         Heads of Sustainability

·         Heads of Transport

·         Health and Social Care

·         Higher Education

·         Investors

·         LEPs

·         Local Authority Officials

·         Local Businesses

·         Local Enterprise Partnerships

·         Managing Directors

·         Project and Programme Managers

·         Project Director/Programme/Portfolio Managers

·         Senior Managers

·         Strategic Directors