Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to this first meeting of the Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities.
I would like to thank again the Italian Ministry of Economic Development for co-organising this meeting, and especially Mauro Fazio, Director General of the Ministry for being with us this morning. Also Telecom Italia for providing these excellent facilities, and Huawei for its sponsorship of our events.
For those of you present at the 8th ITU Symposium on ICT and Environment Change this week, one thing became very clear: ICTs are a vital tool to tackle the developmental and environmental challenges facing the cities that are becoming the primary choice for habitation in the 21st century.
We have seen some inspirational examples from smart cities around the world, in particular from Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, Manchester and not least here in Torino.
We can learn from the many existing initiatives around the world, and create internationally applicable guidelines that can help cities face the developmental challenges, and forge ahead into a bright ICT led future.
The Roadmap that was agreed by the Symposium is essentially a call to action for this Focus Group, which has the opportunity to mobilise the forces of the ICT industry, ITU’s traditonal members, together with the other stakeholders that have an interest in applying smart technologies to make our cities better places to live in. So I would particularly like to welcome those of you who are new to ITU.
I also welcome the participation of the Mayor of the town of Fronte, Mr Claudio Bianco and the municipalities of Torino, Manchester and Genoa. We will work hard to attract the engagement of more cities in this important work.
The Symposium higlighted how ICTs have the potential to reduce water consumption, provide more efficient electricity distribution, reduce pollution levels and congestion through better traffic management, and bring services such as health, education, shopping, and work into the home.
ICTs can help to create sustainable economic development and high quality of life in cities of the future. However, if this is to be achieved it will require these applications to work together, to interoperate regardless of the service provider or vendor, and this will require the development of international standards, harmonized frequency spectrum, and the application of enabling policies and best practices.
International standards are an absolute necessity in ensuring the long term viability of smart city projects, and to support policy and financing mechanisms.
The Focus Group should identify the requirements for smart sustainable cities, and develop the basis for the standards to meet these requirements which can be passed to the parent study group, ITU-T Study Group 5 on Environment and Climate Change, for adoption as international standards.
Focus Groups are a concept developed to be as open as possible, they are free to define their own rules and organise their own meetings, and should aim to complete their work within a 12-18 month period.
I would like to thank Ms Silvia Guzman, Telefónica, for agreeing to chair the Focus Group, and congratulate her as the first woman to chair an ITU Focus Group. I am sure the Focus Group is in good hands, and she has a good team of Vice-Chairmen to assist her: Pablo Bilbao, Federation Argentina de Municipios; Flavio Cucchietti, Telecom Italia; Sekhar Kondepudi, National University of Singapore; Nasser Saleh Al Marzouqi, UAE; Franz Zichy, USA and Ziqin Sang, Fiberhome Technologies Group. The Focus Group will have two very energetic ladies to provide the secretarial support: Daniela Torres, Telefónica; and Cristina Bueti from ITU/TSB.
You have a series of challenges ahead of you, but I believe you have an opportunity to really make a difference, and I wish you every success in your goal of creating the foundations for the development of Smart Sustainable Cities around the world.
I appreciate very much your participation in this important work, and I wish you the best of luck.