Paolo Sabatini, Digital Transformation Advisor for the Digital Transformation and Services to Citizens Office of Milan
Boris Koprivnikar, representative for the City of Ljubljana
Jason Whittet, Digital Innovation Lead at Amazon Web Services
Dr. Katerina Zalamova, Smart City Expert & Advisor and CEO of CREA IDEA LAB SL
Moderated by Alex Irwin-Hunt, Global Markets Editor and co-host of Rising Ecosystems Podcast at fDi Intelligence

How will cities of the future be designed and operated? Today, simulation software that can create accurate “digital twins” of entire cities enables planners, designers and engineers to improve their designs and measure the effect changes will have on the lives of citizens.

Cities are hugely complex and dynamic creations. They live and breathe. If we think about all the parts: millions of people, schools, offices, shops, parks, utilities, hospitals, homes and transport systems, then changing one aspect often has an impact on many others.

Digital twin simulation software is a fast-growing business, with firms such as Siemens, Microsoft, GE, Dassault Systems and Cityzenith. Research firm Gartner predicted that by 2021 half of large industrial companies use digital twins and estimates that those that do save up to 25% in operational running costs as a result.

Many of today’s smart city/community development efforts are isolated and customized projects. We explore what solutions are available to enable cities and communities to improve services, promote economic growth, and enhance the quality of life.

The future of design is virtual and driven by data. The key to a successful future proof city is in how effectively this data can be collected and used for the greatest benefit.

Will cities go beyond the design and become partly virtual where citizens and businesses can engage?

Paolo Sabatini, Digital Transformation Advisor for the Digital Transformation and Services to Citizens Office of Milan

Paolo Sabatini, Digital Transformation Advisor for the Digital Transformation and Services to Citizens Office of Milan since April, 2019 and represents the office of Ms. Roberta Cocco, Deputy Mayor at Milan Municipality.

He has over ten years of experience as a professional and an entrepreneur in the fields of public affairs, innovation, and strategic communications.

Since 2012, Milan has developed and adopted a range of plans across the following policy areas: urban development; sustainable mobility; energy efficiency; the sharing economy; and smart cities.

Milan considers the idea of a smart city not as technology-driven, but centred on its citizens. Smart city for Milan covers smart mobility, a smart environment, smart inclusion and citizenship. This sets out a bold agenda, which sees the re-orientation of demand for transport services; the standardisation of payment technologies and methods; and the adoption of a range of energy efficiency solutions.

Milan works closely with other cities within the Sharing Cities initiative.

Boris Koprivnikar, Representative for the City of Ljubljana

Boris Koprivnikar, Representative for the City of Ljubljana has spent the majority of his professional career in management positions in the public sector and has been deeply involved in the development of digital systems in the broadest sense. From 2014 – 2018 he was Minister for Public Administration (responsible also for digitalization), Deputy Prime Minister and, Governmental Chief Digital Officer. Since 2018 he has worked as a consultant specialized in Smart Cities and Smart Government and has been the Mayor’s advisor for digitalization since 2019. Boris is also leading the working group for digital development in Ljubljana.

Experienced Chair Of The Board Of Directors and CEO of Sinclair Consulting, with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry. Skilled in designing complex informatics systems, Organisation of public systems and services, International Project Management, Negotiation, Big data usage, Public procurement, Innovation and change management. Strong business development professional with a Bachelor’s degree focused in Information Technology from Faculty for organisational sciences Maribor.

The City Municipality of Ljubljana is one of eleven city municipalities in Slovenia and is the capital city.

Sustainability and promotion of the quality of life has been a key focus for the city for the past decade and is an integral part when creating city policies and implementing urban solutions.

The city is constantly looking for new solutions to urban challenges; actively communicating with its stakeholders, monitoring the activities and reacting to changes. Citizens are at the centre of every decision, growing together and developing the heartbeat of the city with a higher quality of life in mind.

In Ljubljana the city is putting innovation and live laboratory into practice. It is testing new concepts and reacting to initiatives from different stakeholder groups. 

When results are promising and accepted by citizens the city expands them into other parts of the community and promotes them in intercity cooperation. New concepts are introduced in cooperation with many stakeholder groups emphasizing two-way communication and field work.

Jason Whittet, Digital Innovation Lead at Amazon Web Services

Jason Whittet works for Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the Digital Innovation Lead at the Arizona State University Smart Cities Cloud Innovation Centre. He previously led Smart Cities efforts for 100 Resilient Cities at the Rockefeller Foundation and held smart cities roles at GE, ATT and IDC Research. Jason helped lead the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and the development of the $100M MassBroadband123 fibre network and served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer and in the Army National Guard. He is a graduate of ASU, has a MPA from Northeastern University and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Amazon Web Services is a subsidiary of Amazon providing on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies, and governments, on a metered pay-as-you-go basis.

It is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centres globally. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing start-ups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—are using AWS to lower costs, become more agile, and innovate faster.

The AWS Cloud spans 80 Availability Zones within 25 geographic regions around the world, with announced plans for 15 more Availability Zones and 5 more AWS Regions in Australia, India, Indonesia, Spain, and Switzerland.

Dr. Katerina Zalamova, Smart City Expert & Advisor and CEO of CREA IDEA LAB SL

Dr. Katerina Zalamova is a recognised Smart Cities expert with a special interest in zero waste infrastructures and the circular economy along with the adoption of digital infrastructures focused on economic development and social change.

With a masters in applied physics and a doctorate materials science Dr. Zalamova, has developed various renowned Smart City Concepts, including, the concepts “smart & social” and “micro-city building” which have been applied in projects such as the EU project Triangulum in Sabadell. She also held the position of academic director for a brief period at the Barcalona Blockchain Institute & Technology

Along with her Smart City consultancy, Dr. Zalamova runs the think-tank for advanced cities, CREA IDEA LAB, with the objective to transfer new technologies and circular economy knowledge to the new and growing smart societies. At CREA IDEA LAB she also fosters, mentors and supports new smart innovators and young entrepreneurs who she believes will be the next developers and applicators of the new smart cities.

Dr. Zalamova also has a keen research interest in optimisation of data processing, knowledge extraction, Blockchain and AI application in smart city development and Zero Waste logistics, analytics and infrastructure.

Headquartered in Barcelona Spain, with offices in Dublin, Ireland and Dubai UEA, CREA IDEA LAB is a consultancy and think tank for advanced smart cities. The company has its own R&D department and start-up incubator where innovative companies are developing solutions for the Smart City market. It has participated in the EU projects Triangulum (HORIZON2020-No 656478) and UrbanWins (HORIZON2020-No 690047) in Sabadell, Spain since 2016. CREA IDEA LAB is a member of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC), EU AI Alliance, the IoT Catalan Alliance of the Catalonian Government and the Chamber of Commerce Brasil – Catalonia. It advocates for purpose-centred design of the city’s infrastructures deployed through an integration of its vision and understanding at all levels. It has promoted a unique city design methodology through its work in CREA IDEA LAB since 2014. It consists of the best global practices and also learning from past projects. CREA IDEA LAB has its roots in Europe and as a result works closely with such great cities as Barcelona, Milan, Amsterdam and Eindhoven.