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Shaping Tomorrow’s (Event) World: Smart Cities


Sustainability is a multifaceted topic that has been inundating almost every industry in recent times, including Meetings & Events. Taking this one step further, one might wonder: Where does the real battle of sustainability lie?

And the answer is right in the core: in the cities. Over the last decade, the “smart city” concept that was initially pioneered in the US and Europe, has started to expand to the rest of the world; and just as the name points out, it characterises the cities that have gradually become smarter – and consequently more efficient – about using their existing capacities and resources.

Smart cities manage to decrease operational costs, save more energy, improve services leading to a better quality of life and reduce their environmental footprint. How do they achieve that? By employing innovative technologies that allow them to make use of a larger percentage of their available natural resources.

According to the Global Destination Sustainability Index, in 2017 more than 200 cities around the world are adopting practices that contribute towards a community that shows concern for the environment and its people. The Smart city market booming and in fact, it is estimated to reach a potential €1,5 trillion market by 2020.

Although using technology is critical to driving efficiency, recent trends show that Smart City leaders are putting people at the centre of their strategy. Engaging and activating citizens is and will increasingly become more critical to accelerating and scaling impact.

From our research, here are six central drivers of the smart city market, which will all effect the development of MICE focused destinations:

  • Climate Change towards a warmer planet places cities at the forefront, forcing them to become more sensitive and proactive.
  • Crowded planet forecast sees that that 70% of the world population will be living in cities by 2050; thus, the way and quality of living is tightly connected to smart city strategies.
  • Competitiveness among cities to become more sustainable and attract more talents and finance is a significant driving force.
  • Citizen Involvement is a catalyst. Even though technology is one of the most important parts of smart cities, encouraging citizens to become active supporters can make all the difference.
  • Collaboration among various eco-systems within and outside cities is required in order to co-create and implement the necessary technology.
  • Compassion towards cities with greater needs is essential, as the concept of smart cities should also expand to areas where it could be vitally beneficial.

At MCI we are strongly committed to sustainability and for over a decade we have been working with governments, corporations and associations on a global scale to facilitate the transition to a more sustainable world. Utilizing our expertise and unique capabilities we aim to promote collaboration within cities; to foster change and embrace the power of community in a sustainable environment.

In the beginning of 2017 MCI launched a strategic partnership with the Smart Cities Council and is proud to help organise the Smart Cities Weeks in Washington DC and Silicon Valley, as well as pioneer the development of the Smart Cities Council in Europe. Additionally we are supporting the European Commission with the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities.

For more insights into sustainability in the events industry visit our blog, or visit our website for more information about our work, CSR initiatives and sustainability services.

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