6 LESSONS FROM THE 2016 MANAGERS’ EXHIBITION
Our participation in the 2016 Managers’ Exhibition allowed us to present and showcase our vision and catalogue of #SmartCities services. This issue truly has become a priority in the political debate, both in the municipal sphere and in the regional sphere, although for many managers and administrators, this phenomenon remains sometimes blurry.
During the two-day exhibition, the NRB Group was able to demonstrate all of the usefulness for a town, whether large or small, to develop a "Smart" strategy. This is in fact just an instrument that will allow it to implement its strategic plan, taking into account technology, user experience, and the users’ nearness to the city.
The 8 conferences held at the exhibition and the various media, including our educational panel on the internet of things, helped demystify the Smart City concept and make it much more concrete.
Lessons that we drive from this 2016 version
The desire of the Walloon region to play an important role and unite its stakeholders around a “SmartRegion” strategy is real. This has been said and repeated, notably by Pascal Poty of the Digital Agency during the “Smart Cities: together we are building intelligent city of tomorrow” conference.
The Digital Plan initiatives are numerous and ambitious. The funding model in place enables both the region to be in the driver’s seat and also allows the actors on the ground to participate in a bottom up approach by proposing new projects.
Agoria proposes to build and promote a Walloon digital platform that will enable, in time, the various actors (companies, citizens, local authorities, etc.) to have easy access to data and therefore the ability to create new tools and services for citizens and also public authorities.
More and more start-ups are appearing that offer solutions for public authorities, citizens, and local economic actors as demonstrated by the presence at the Managers’ Exhibition of Let’s Go City, Localisy, and also Opinum. This also shows how dynamic, creative, and enterprising the young people in our region are.
The notion of the ecosystem is increasingly present in the speeches of the various participants. We understand that the success of a programme such as the Walloon Digital Plan across the region must involve some industrial players surrounded by a set of start-ups and SMEs.
Lastly, through the discussions we had with the many visitors to our stand, change management in public administration remains an ongoing challenge. Support is needed to reach a significant level of adoption of new technologies by our public services.
In conclusion, we find a clear desire everywhere to move forward on the issue of Smart Cities by bringing as many players as possible, both in the public and private sector, in order to implement pooled solutions, but also allowing each city or town to promote its own identity.
The ball is now in the court of our political leaders as well as some of the major players in the Walloon economy. The objective is to give a regional and industrial dimension to the initiatives that remain very local and too little concerted.