I recently had the opportunity to attend the Smart Cities Innovation Summit in Austin, Texas, both as a speaker about our mobile platform for cities as well as to learn about the latest innovations within the smart cities industry which spans a broad range of technologies and initiatives aimed at improving the efficiencies, security and quality of life within cities.
And while we haven't quite achieved that moment when, "Beam me up!" can actually happen, this year's summit certainly showcased a multitude of highly specialized, targeted smart technologies - everything from artificial intelligence enhancing rescue and relief efforts immediately after catastrophic earthquakes, a project being done by the team at One Concern, to several technologies blended together in a collaborative effort by Rutgers School of Engineering and the City College of New York in a pilot project aimed and making it better for those with special needs, like the visually impaired and those with autism, to navigate in crowded, urban settings.
It was interesting to compare this year's massive Smart City Innovation Summit, with over 200 cities in attendance, with the Cities Summit I attended in London, England, only two years earlier.
The 2014 Cities Summit, hosted by then-mayor Boris Johnson and CityMart, brought together 30 global decision-makers and early innovators to explore the potential of using smart city technologies as a means address the coming demands within cities and to improve quality of life. It was an intimate gathering - heady, exciting, and full of promise.
Witnessing the speed of change in just the past two years, it might be tempting to think that most of the difficult challenges are behind us.