Smart City Expo World Congress: time to accelerate urban innovation

Smart City Expo World Congress: time to accelerate urban innovation

Microsoft and its key partners are some of the many exhibitors showcasing how their technologies can build smarter, safer and more sustainable cities

City leaders, technology providers and other key stakeholders from both the public and private sectors must unite to future proof cities and ensure they become more sustainable and liveable  

Rebecca Gibson |

Cities must take urgent action to overcome a myriad of challenges and create safer and more sustainable places for citizens to live, said Ugo Valenti, director of Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), when opening the event in Barcelona, Spain, on 7 November 2023.

Welcoming delegates to the three-day event, Valenti explained that cities worldwide are facing challenges related to rapid urbanisation, climate change, geopolitics, the rising cost of living and more. He urged cities to act swiftly to find ways to overcome these issues – and to do so in a collaborative and inclusive manner to ensure all citizens benefit from equal access to opportunities, services and resources.

“In a world full of challenges, cities really need to work together and take action,” he said. “They need to walk the talk.” 

He added: “The true essence of a smart city lies in putting people at the forefront.”

Maria Tsavachidis, CEO of EIT Urban Mobility, echoed Valenti’s sentiments in her welcome address at SCEWC, which is expected to welcome a record-breaking 25,000 professionals and more than 600 speakers and exhibitors from over 140 countries.

“Terror, war, societal challenges and politics are setting us back but they’re not stopping us,” she said. “We’re seeing so much innovation in urban mobility, and faster than ever before. We need close collaboration between all actors – public and private – to solve the problems that cities are facing today.”

Image alt text here

Maria Tsavachidis of EIT Urban Mobility discussed innovation in urban mobility and overcoming challenges facing development


Multiple other roundtable discussions, conference sessions and presentations explored how increased collaboration, partnerships between the public and private sectors, and the responsible and innovative application of technologies such as artificial intelligence, the cloud, data analytics, digital twins and quantum computing can help cities to become more connected, secure, safer and sustainable in the future.

Other sessions focused on innovation in mobility, the green transition of buildings, how innovative digital services are empowering cities, the role of the blue economy, the concept of the 15-minute city, how cities can curb the climate change emergency, and how to secure cities against cyberthreats.

Jeremy Goldberg

Jeremy M. Goldberg, Microsoft’s worldwide director of critical infrastructure, hosted a session focused on how innovative digital services are empowering cities


In addition, exhibitors including Microsoft, Accenture, CrowdScan, Cyclomedia, Johnson Controls, Makutu, Siemens, Unity showcased how their technologies, solutions and services can help cities to achieve their goals. 

“The 2023 edition of Smart City Expo will be the biggest ever,” said Valenti. “The numbers prove that urban innovation ecosystem is in full force again.”

Subscribe to the Technology Record newsletter

  • ©2024 Tudor Rose. All Rights Reserved. Technology Record is published by Tudor Rose with the support and guidance of Microsoft.