High Level Conference
Digital Cities Challenge:
A strategy for EU cities in the 21st Century
05 June 2019
High Level Conference
Digital Cities Challenge:
A strategy for EU cities in the 21st Century
05 June 2019
Cities host 72% of the EU population and are Europe's economic engine, contributing to two thirds of its GDP. As centres of economic activity, employment and innovation, cities have a vital role to play when it comes to promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and tackling economic, environmental and social challenges.
The revolutionary potential of emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, Internet of Things, blockchain offers to cities unprecedented opportunities for innovative business models, new market creation and addressing societal challenges, climate change, resource efficiency and a circular economy.
The European Commission with the Digital Cities Challenge initiative is helping over 40 European cities to reap the benefits of advanced technologies, develop comprehensive strategies and thriving ecosystems and achieve smart and sustainable growth. Launched in October 2017, the initiative offers policy advisory services, mentoring and coaching opportunities, while the cities share a network of collaboration, knowledge sharing and peer learning.
The technological, social, and economic effects of emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, Internet of Things, blockchain are rapidly changing the world around us. Nowhere is this more evident than in cities – where the density and diversity of human settlement creates innovation-friendly ecosystems that promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. City leadership must be aware and empowered to direct such transformation for the long term benefit of citizens. The European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge initiative drives urban and industrial transformation in 40 European cities and helps them achieve smart and sustainable growth, through four pillars: demonstrating visionary leadership, building thriving local innovation ecosystems, creating new markets based on smart infrastructures, advanced technologies and data and upskilling the city. The initiative offers policy advisory services and coaching opportunities and provides cities with tools and best practices both for assessing current city readiness and moving forward their vision for the future. The cities share a network of collaboration, knowledge sharing and peer learning.
Objectives of the conference:
The high-level conference will showcase the effects of technological transformation in European cities and will seek to agree on policy priorities and pave the way for the future strategy for Intelligent Cities in the 21st century.
It will discuss the following thematic priorities:
- Setting ambitious vision and creating modern, sustainable city-ecosystems for transformation of their territories
- Shaping the cities of the future, by promoting innovation in policy, decisions that are made on sound EU values as well as robust data, by investing in high-tech infrastructure, technology and open data and piloting the next generation of technological solutions
- Upskilling the cities through disruptive education and training, as an essential condition for the industrial modernisation and digital transformation of a territory.
Over 400 participants are expected including high level speakers, such as:
- Policy makers
- Industry and business leaders, clusters and associations
- Representatives of international organisations (UN, WEF, OECD, etc)
- Academics, digital transformation and smart city experts, representatives of think tanks, training experts
Timo Pesonen, Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs in the European Commission
Markku Markkula, First Vice President of the European Committee of the Regions and Rapporteur for the Digital Europe Programme
Normund Popens, Deputy Director General for Regional and Urban Policy
Catherine Trautmann, Vice-President of the Strasbourg Metropole
Jan Schoenig, Director Urban Development & Smart Cities - Siemens Global Center of Competence Cities
Paulius Kulikauskas, Chief in UN-Habitat
Olga Blanco, Executive Partner IBM Global Business Services
Success stories of city governance and reputation through the Digital Cities Challenge initiative. Panel discussion with:
Vojko Obernsnel, Mayor of Rijeka
Adrian Ballester Espinosa, Vice-president in Diputación Alicante
Felix Alberto Martin Gordo, Deputy Director of IT Systems at the City Council of Madrid
Fabio Graziosi, Professor at the University of L'Aquila
The lobby will host an exhibition of cities participating in the Digital Cities Challenge initiative and other city related initiative.
Marja-Riitta Pihlman, Director General in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Martin Klein, Global Head of Industry Business Unit for Public Sector at SAP
Cities have the opportunity to become pioneers in the adoption of emerging technologies, from ethical trustworthy AI to smart waste management and self-driving vehicles. Cities-ecosystems collaborate to facilitate technological transformation, transform data sets available into tools to improve urban management and trigger innovation and economic growth.
Jose Antonio Ondiviela Garcia, Western Europe SmartCities Director at Microsoft
Willem Jonker, CEO at EIT Digital
Panel discussion with:
○ Dan Folkesson, Chief Digital Officer for the city of Gothenburg
○ Pauliina Harrivaara, Manager of the ROBOCOAST cluster
○ John Baekelmans, Managing director & Vice President of imec the Netherlands
○ Swarna Ramanathan, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company
Industrial modernisation and digital transformation of a territory depend on people and their skills. Mismatches between the skills available and those needed to harness advanced technologies remain and are projected to increase. Cities need to invest on people, attract and retain talent to reap the benefits of advanced technologies.
Christian Tordo, Deputy Mayor of Nice responsible for digital transformation
Olivier Crouzet, Director of Pedagogy in Ecole 42- accompanied by Cristina Fernandez Bornay
Sotiris Siagas, Investment Director at iGrow Labs in Thessaloniki
Cities pioneer in digital transformation and create the conditions for innovative business models and new markets to thrive. This session will discuss how cities can enhance growth and innovation at local level, by bringing together the new and the old economy, investing in advanced technologies and promoting innovative solutions.
Pierre Alexander Ballard, innovation strategy advisor and professor at Utrecht University and MIT Media lab
Eugenia Kazamaki Ottersen, Head of JASPERS Smart Development, European Investment Bank
Success stories of market creation through the Digital Cities Challenge initiative: panel discussion:
Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency
Piia Wollesten, Development Manager in the city of Espoo
Miguel Fontes, Executive Director of Startup Lisboa
Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit for Advanced Technologies, Clusters and Social Economy in the European Commission
The lobby will host an exhibition of the 40 cities participating in the Digital Cities Challenge initiative and of other EU level initiatives.
Markku Markkula is the First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) having served as President February 2015-July 2017.A member of Espoo City Council since 1980, he held its Presidency 1990-92 and 2010 and is the Chair of the city's board 2017-2021.
Markku was member of the Finnish Parliament (1995-2003) where he served among others the Committee for the Future. He works at Aalto University specialising in EU research, innovation and education policy. He previously worked as the Director of the Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli and was Secretary-General of the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education (IACEE).
In Finland he has been on boards of companies and associations, such as Tekes the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and Technology. As a tribute to his achievements he was elected to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2008.
Ulla Engelmann is the Head of Unit for Advanced Technologies, Clusters, and Social Economy within DG GROW, the Directorate General being responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission. Previously, she worked at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of European Commission, for many years in different functions. She started in the JRC in Ispra (Italy) in 1993 as a post-doc in fusion research, and moved on to manage various units (communication, international relations, and others) in Ispra and Brussels. Dr. Engelmann holds a PhD in analytical and radiochemistry completed at the National Research Centre in Karlsruhe
Timo Pesonen is Director General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs at the European Commission. He has studies in social sciences, foreign relations and diplomacy in Finland, Belgium and the US and has held various diplomatic positions in his country as well as in the European Commission. Among other things, he was Chief of Cabinet of EU Commissioner for EU Enlargement Olli Rehn, during which Romania joined the bloc.
Marja-Riitta is a seasoned leader in various policy areas of Government with the knowledge of complex interrelations requiring multidisciplinary solutions.
She has accumulated a wealth of experience in leading demanding public policy projects as well as in Government decision-making roles. Marja-Riitta is a member of the Ministry's Senior Management Group and the chairperson for the Steering committee on the regional government reform, regional development and the growth services at the ministry. She is renowned for her keen interest in the development of public services for citizens and businesses at municipal, regional, state and EU levels. In her current position, she is responsible for the redesign of the public employment services and services for enterprises as well as regional development, cohesion policy and structural funds.
Enthusiastic pathfinder all around the globe, she takes pleasure in various outdoor recreational activities at land and sea. Always on a lookout for developing new skills of her own or spotting exceptional talent around her.
Normund Popens is Deputy Director-General for Regional and Urban Policy (REGIO), as from 2011, and he is responsible for Cohesion Policy. Prior to that, he held various positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia (MFA). Between 2007 and 2011, he acted as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary - Permanent Representative of Latvia to the EU. He has studied Chemical Engineering, International Relations and Social sciences.
Piia Wollsten has long experience in strategic development of public sector services and public procurement. As Development Manager Piia supports City as a Service -strategy implementation and the design and implementation of digital projects. Piia leads Enterprise architecture planning at city level, that ensures smart and customer oriented digital services. In addition, Piia coordinates the strategic cooperation between the city and Aalto University.
Vojko Obersnel graduated in Experimental Biology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Zagreb and obtained an MA in Oceanography, and Medical Genetics at the Medical Faculty in Zagreb. He gained his first work experience at the School of Medicine in Rijeka –where he was involved in various scientific activities. In 1997, he became head of the Department of Health and Welfare of the City of Rijeka. As the Coordinator of the Rijeka – Healthy City project, he managed to introduce the city in the European Network of Healthy Cities of the WHO. He is the Mayor of Rijeka since 2000 and after two consecutive terms, he became the first directly elected mayor of Rijeka, now in his sixth mandate. He is member of the Social Democratic Party since 1990 and was President of the SDP City Organization from 2010 until 2018. He is Member of the Managing Council of the Rijeka Port Authority and Member of the International Association Cities and Ports Steering Committee. He was President of the Croatian delegation of observers to the EU Committee of the Regions. He is Vice President of the European Committee of the Regions since 13/07/2017 and Member of the Covenant of Mayors Ambassadors. For special merits in bringing the Croatian and Italian nations closer, in 2003, he was awarded with the Commendatore honorific title, conferred by the President of the Republic of Italy. Mr. Obersnel is married to Branka Obersnel, a paediatrician. They have a son, Ognjen, age 35, graduated in Business Management.
Pauliina Harrivaara is Liaison Manager for Robocoast. Robocoast is a Digital Innovation Hub evaluated by European Commission. Robocoast cluster is located in the Satakunta region and its headquarters are located in a digital city of Pori. The clusters strengths are in innovative robotics, AI, and industry 4.0 that serve the strong industrial sector of the area. Also the public sector and its innovative services contribute to the growth and development of the companies. In addition, Robocoast has strong networks to Europe and China.
Christian Tordo has been General Manager of the French subsidiary of Texas Instruments Inc from 1994 to 2013. He has been Deputy Mayor in charge of Finance and Economy for the city of Nice and Vice President of the Nice Côte d’Azur (NCA) Metropolis, in charge of Economic Development since 2008. In April 2014, his responsibility covered Economic Development, Employment, Industry and Digital Innovation for both the city of Nice and the NCA Metropolis. In February 2015, he was put in charge of Urbanism and Real Estate Development. Mr Christian TORDO is also the Vice President of the board of the EPA Nice Ecovallée sustainable development project. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for NCA and member of the supervisory board of the Côte d’Azur Savings Bank (CECAZ). Mr Christian TORDO’s earlier career was built working with Texas Instruments since 1977. His roles included financial responsibilities for the company’s European organization and serving as General Manager of its French subsidiary from 1994 to 2013.
Olga Blanco Poves has more than 20 years of successful track record in business development, strategy formulation and delivery of innovative and creative revenue and profit growth capabilities working with a large variety of stakeholders. She holds a position of the Global Business Services Executive Partner at IBM and is leading the MiNT project - Madrid City Hall Smarter City. She has been also acting as IBM SPGI Blockchain Leader as well as IBM Cognitive, Analytics and IoT Leader.
Olga is a recognised expert who combines a unique profile in both leadership and consulting advising leading companies and organisations. She has worked for national and international customers leading projects from strategy formulation, transformational processes, overhead cost reduction, procurement and optimisation models, e-administration platforms as well as smarter city solutions.
Adrian Ballester Espinosa is a 36 year old professional, engineer in telecom and professor, with important work experience in a project management company as a CEO and 12 years in Public Administration (regional, provincial and local) as a politician. He has academic experience, is a PhD candidate, professor and researcher. He is interested in communications, media, politic, engineering, ICT, public economy, electronic administration, transparency, big data and open data.
Cristina Fernandez Bornay graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain. Cristina Fernandez has had the opportunity to experience a variety of education systems within the EU. After a semester abroad in Finland, Cristina was eager to see how other schools practice academics. She is currently studying at 42, a programming school renowned for its revolutionary pedagogy. She also volunteers at the communication board of the school.
About Pierre Alexandre
Pierre Alexandre Balland is an Assistant Professor of Economic Geography at Utrecht University, Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(Media Lab), and Fellow at the Center for Complex Systems Studies. I am an economist by training, and I try to understand why some parts of the world are rich, other poor, and what we can do about it. On a more applied side, I work with policymakers and companies to solve real-world problems using network analysis and complex systems thinking. On this website, you'll find data, codes, journal articles, and news about my team and my research.
Catherine Trautmann is past member of the National Parliament (1986 to 1988) and Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Employment, responsible for the elderly and disabled in 1988.
She is a former member of European Parliament (1989 to 1997 and 2004 to 2014). She was on the head of the French Socialist Delegation to the European Parliament from July 2009 to June 2014.
She was the Mayor of Strasbourg from 1989 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2001, a position she left in 1997 to join the Jospin government as Minister of Culture and Communication until 2000, and spokesperson until 1998.
She is currently a member of the Council of the City Hall of Strasbourg and Vice-President of Strasbourg Eurométropole, in charge of economic development, international attractivity, support for the creative economy, audiovisual and cinema.
She is also President of the Port of Strasbourg since 2008.
Since October 2014, Catherine Trautmann is the new European Coordinator for the North Sea-Baltic core network corridor.
In March 2015, she succeeded Jacques Toubon as co-president of the Franco-German Cultural High Council (HCCFA). Catherine Trautmann has been elected President of the Eurimages Fund for a four-year term of office until 31 December 2020.
Since September 2017, she is Vice-president of AJA (Alsace Japan Agency).
Catherine Trautmann is an Officer of the Legion of Honor, Commander of Arts and Letters and Honorary Doctor of the University of Leicester. She also received the Cross of Merit Officer of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Prof. Willem Jonker has a broad background in ICT, both in industry as well as in academia. He studied mathematics and computer science at Groningen University, worked at Delft University of Technology, received his PhD from the University of Utrecht, and is a part-time full professor in computer science at Twente University. Willem Jonker's industrial experience covers telecommunications (KPN), IT (European Computer industry Research Centre, Munich) and consumer electronics (Philips). He held several positions as researcher, international project leader, department head, sector head, and account manager. In 2006 he was appointed Vice President Philips Research. Prof. Dr. Jonker has served European ICT research in various ways amongst others as project leader, reviewer, and advisor.
Martin Klein is the Global Vice President and Head of the Industry Business Unit for Public Sector at SAP, which includes SAP’s Future Cities Program. He is responsible for SAP ́s end-to-end footprint in the Public Sector business, driving the company’s overall strategy for this industry, overseeing the global business in the sector, directing product and solution roadmaps, and leading go to market activities.Martin joined SAP in 2002 and has served in several senior management roles in business development, corporate strategy and business operations. Before joining SAP he worked in consulting, strategy, and business development with Gemini Consulting and Lufthansa. He holds a master’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in technology management from the University of Mannheim, incorporating studies in the UK, Norway and the US. Based in Walldorf / Germany, Martin lives near Heidelberg with his wife and two teenagers.
Dan Folkesson is Chief Digital Officer for the City of Gothenburg. His focus is on empowering business development through new smart digital solutions, so the city can be sustainable and open to the world.
Previously he held various leading IT positions in the private sector at Länsförsäkringar, the largest Insurance and Banking company in Sweden. He studied computer science and has a Baccalaureate degree from the Jönköping University.
Olivier Crouzet holds a master’s degree as an IT engineer. After 2 years as system administrator at the 3rd French Internet service provider, he developed during thirteen years an IT training model, and has been for the last five years involved in 42, the IT school founded by Xavier Niel, French telecom tycoon. While still making evolve the revolutionary Peer-Learning model of 42, Olivier Crouzet is also promoting evolution in the French education system through various conferences."
Fabio Graziosi was born in L’Aquila, Italy, in 1968. He received the Laurea degree (cum laude) and the Ph.D. in electronic engineering from the University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, in 1993 and 1997, respectively. He is with the Department of Information Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics, University of L’Aquila, where he is currently a Full Professor. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT). He is also the CEO of WEST Aquila s.r.l., a spin–off R&D company of the University of L’Aquila. He is involved in major national and European research programs in the field of wireless systems and he has been a reviewer for major technical journals and international conferences in communications. He also serves as Technical Program Committee member and Session Chairman of several international conferences in communications. He is a member of IEEE and has authored over 200 papers in technical journals and conference proceedings. His current research interests are mainly focused on wireless communication systems with emphasis on IoT, spatial modulations, and cooperative communications. Fabio Graziosi is the principal investigator of the INCIPICT project (www.incipict.univaq.it) and the coordinator for University of L’Aquila of the 5G Trials in progress at the city of L’Aquila (2018-2021).
Vladimir holds an MBA from the American University in Bulgaria and a Master Degree in HR Management from the Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Management from the same university. His professional experience has been in the Real Estate, Manufacturing and Trading sectors, where he held the positions of Head of Sales and Country Manager in several companies with international presence. With a strong background in entrepreneurship and business development and a deep interest in start-ups, Vladimir has already developed broad expertise in managing companies and teams with a global presence.
About Jose Antonio
Jose Antonio is the Microsoft Western Europe Public Sector Industry Solutions Executive for Government / SMARTCITIES. He joined Microsoft in 1995 and holds a wealth of Microsoft experience in field sales, sales strategy, partner management, operations and marketing. He incubated the WW CityNext (SmartCities Solutions from Microsoft partners) programme and is a frequent speaker at international events, such as SmartCityExpo, Mobile World Forum, TEDTalks, etc. He obtained a degree in telecommunications engineering from studies in Madrid, a master’s degree in Enterprise and Institutional Communication Management in Barcelona, and a master’s in Financial Business from INSEAD. He is currently writing his PhD thesis at Universidad Francisco Vitoria, Madrid, on “Beyond SmartCities 2.0: How to create an Attractive City for Talented Citizens”. His favorite hobbies are wine culture (enology), golf, and spending time with his family in the countryside.
Jan Schoenig is Director for Urban Development & Smart Cities in the Siemens GlobalCenter of Competence Cities.In this role, Jan is responsible for the strategy, partnerrelations, program management and business development in the area of solutionsfor smart cities’ infrastructure.Jan began his career with Siemens in 1997 and has gained a broad knowledge base on awealth of experiences both operational and strategic over the past 21 years in a variety ofnational and international assignments, projects and management responsibilities. Fromthe company’s Munich headquarter he supported during eight years Siemens programmanagers worldwide for large scale infrastructure projects mainly in the context of MajorEvents.After a four and half year delegation to Qatar as head of Corporate Development andSpecial Projects, he returned to Munich in July of last year. In his role in Qatar, Jan wasresponsible for the business development of infrastructure projects. In addition, he wasasked in 2015 to take over the Business Unit Energy Management Low Voltage Productsand turned it into a profitable business within 12 months.Key former responsibilities include also Unit manager of the Siemens IT Solution Unit fortwo years in France.Jan Schoenig holds a master degree in business administration.
Sotiris Siagas holds a BSc and Diploma in Electrical and Computing Engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and an MBA from Imperial College Business School, UK. For more than 15 years, Sotiris has been involved in IT, Energy, Telecommunications and Security from both sides of the table, as an entrepreneur and as an investor. He was co-founder of the first GIS start-up in Greece which received venture capital funding. He has more than 12 years of experience in technical and financial consulting. As the Executive VP and Investment Director of i4G, he focuses on seed investments in young innovative companies and on projects in business development and technology transfer. He has been involved in various start-up initiatives focusing on venture capital funding and business development. He has also been involved in projects promoting entrepreneurship in Greece and abroad such as Regional Government Planning, Start-up Greece initiative, various start-up events, the Turkish SME Development Agency, STP development in Qatar, Oman, Romania and elsewhere. Sotiris is also member of the BoD of the Association of ICT Companies in Northern Greece (SEPVE). He speaks Greek, English and French. Mr. Siagas is going to present iGrowLabs, an initiative of the business and the academic community of Thessaloniki to reverse the brain drain and enhance the collaboration.
Miguel Fontes is the executive director of Startup Lisboa, a business incubator backed up by the Lisbon Municipality and private entities. Miguel holds a Sociology degree awarded by ISCTE –Instituto Superior das Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa, and a Post Graduate Degree in Business Management from INDEG/ISCTE. Miguel has played mainly management positions. Was Executive Director of Aicep Global Parques -Gestão de Áreas Empresariais e Serviços, S.A., between 2010 and 2015, and earlier, in the private sector, took over the management and administration of several companies with responsibilities in the commercial and marketing areas, mainly in real estate. Miguel was also Deputy Cabinet Assistant of the Prime Minister, between October 1995 and November 1997, with responsibilities in educational, formation and social politics areas. Between november 1997 and april 2002 he was Secretary of State for Youth.
John Baekelmans is Vice President & Managing Director for IMEC in the Netherlands. As Managing Director, he is responsible for the overall NL business and operations. Next to his ImecNL role he leadsthe Internet of Things and Connected Health Solutions teams and is responsible for the Smart City verticalacross imecglobally.Before imec, Johnspent 21years at Cisco where he held various global leadership positions within Engineering, Services and the M&A departmentsand has authored numerous US and European patents. John was also the co-founder of a Belgian residential solutions startup called fifthplay. Before Cisco, John designed, implemented and operated large PBX-networks at Siemens. John obtained a Master’s degree in computer sciencefrom the University of Antwerp, Belgium and is a former Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert(CCIE). In his spare time, he is engaged in Belgium’s National fast response rescue team to assist in global disasters. He loves to ski, is an advancedscuba diver and currently lives in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
John Higgins has been the public face of the digital sector in Europe since November 2011 and speaks regularly on platforms and at conferences throughout Europe and beyond. He was Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, the association for the digital technology industry in Europe, until April 2017, following nine years leading its UK member association, Intellect, now TechUK. In spring of 2017 he became Chair of the Global Digital Foundation and a Senior Advisor to global communications company, Burson Cohn & Wolfe. He continues to chair DIGITALEUROPE's Brexit Advisory Council and is chair of the University of Warwick's European Advisory Board.
The High Level Conference will take place on 05 June 2019 at the:
Fine Arts Museum of Belgium
Place Du Musée