By Charles Delancray and Gergana Petkova, Deloitte Luxembourg. Although there is no universally accepted definition of a “smart city,” by and large it represents a multidimensional and cross-sector ecosystem, enabled by digital technologies such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, data analytics, open data platforms, and next-generation broadband infrastructure. IoT-based technologies such as smart grids (energy sector), autonomous cars and smart lights (transport sector), smart homes and buildings (real estate), public services, and wearable devices all intersect in a complex interaction to form what is called a “smart city.”
Smart cities can provide an answer to the global challenges posed by rapid urbanization and population growth, climate change, and mobility by transforming traditional urban areas into cities of sustainable growth, improved resource efficiency, and quality of life.
Where is Luxembourg on the smart city map?
In the above-illustrated context, Luxembourg stands in good stead when it comes to digital innovation. The country can leverage on its unique future position as the European Commission digital “hub” (the Digital Pole). As such, Luxembourg hosts the EC data centers, the European Open Data portal, and will facilitate European efforts in four priority areas:
• European digital infrastructure super-computing, quantum computing, high-speed networks, data centers and robotics
• The European Data Economy: open data and data analytics
• Public service innovation: eGovernment, interoperability, digital trust
• Digital solutions: health, well-being
Compared to their fellow European countries, Luxembourg is well-positioned on the European “smart city map.” The European Commission Digital Economy and Society Indicator showed that Luxembourg is among the most advanced digital economies for 2017 in Europe after Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, scoring high on four dimensions: connectivity, human capital, internet usage, integration of digital technology, and digital public services.
Furthermore, Luxembourg has been proactive when it comes to responding to global trends. This is reflected in the “Third Industrial Revolution” study, which bases Luxembourg digital strategy on several aspects essential for smart cities such as ICT, intelligent transport systems, IoT, Big Data and interconnected systems. Moreover, Luxembourg authorities, academia, and private sector have cooperated on several Smart City projects in in the framework of Digital Luxembourg initiative in the past few years, which we will now delve into.
Energy efficiency and sustainable development
Hollerich Village is planned as an eco-district at the heart of Luxembourg city with zero carbon and zero-energy buildings. It is part of the “One Planet Community” of sustainable development organization, called Bioregional.
The Smart City Energy platform was developed in the framework of the Interreg MUSIC project, by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)
Interoperability and interconnectivity
The GOLIATH project, co-funded by the National Research Fund (NRF) and LIST, tackles IoT issues related to interconnectivity between connected objects in smart buildings to increase users’ comfort real-time. The project team is developing a smart interface layer that ensures the interoperability between the various connected components such as ventilation, heating, lighting, and blinds in smart homes.
ICE Gateway, established by telecom operator Vodafone, connects streetlights with outdoor services such as lighting, traffic, real-time marketing, tourism, and security on the Vodafone high bandwidth secure network. During the Smart City Conference held at the Chamber of Commerce on the 24 May 2017, Ice Gateway was identified as a major component of the smart city model in Luxembourg.
Intelligent transport and logistics
Smart City Logistics, developed in the framework of the MUSIC project, is a “decision support platform for urban logistics for European cities.” It integrates transport, environmental, and socio-economic information to enable users to identify trends and make better decisions.
The importance of open data as an enabler of smart cities was stressed during the Smart City Conference. Luxembourg has already launched its own Open Data Platform in April 2016 and Luxembourg universities and ICT national players are actively participating in related European-wide initiatives.
One of these is known as the BE-GOOD project, executed by a LIST-led consortium of European partners, aiming to develop “solutions based on open data in the field of infrastructure and environment such as emergency traffic management, air and water quality monitoring, and infrastructure maintenance planning.”
Luxembourg also participates actively in projects deployed by the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities such as the Sustainable Urban Consolidation Centres for construction (SUCCESS), which aims to respond to the growing population in European cities by improving efficiency in the construction supply chain. The project is deployed in Valencia, Luxembourg, Paris, and Verona.
What are the future success factors of a Smart Luxembourg?
Luxembourg faces the same global challenges as the rest of the European countries, however it can leverage on its strong position as a future European digital hub. The rapid urbanization and increasing population density (especially considering the country’s size and population growth in the coming years) will push for an increased need for the efficient use of resources. Recent initiatives also show that Luxembourg is addressing the challenges of climate change and the need for environmental sustainability.
As a global rule, digital transformation in cities also need support from national governments to put forward frameworks that stimulate growth and digital innovation. The Digital Lëtzebuerg initiative, which brings together the public and the private sector, is a good example of efforts made in that direction. With the adoption of the right policies and practices, a scenario in which Luxembourg continues to evolve to become a global smart city in the future is a possibility. The pre-conditions and motivation are all set.
Deloitte Luxembourg will discuss smart cities and IoT at their next Digital Series on 5 July 2017. For more information, please visit the event webpage: https://www2.deloitte.com/lu/en/pages/technology/events/fintech-deloitte-digital-series-luxembourg.html