Smart Dublin: a regional approach to smart cities projects

by
Zaira Rivera Fernandez, Regional Coordinator for Smart Dublin
20 April 2017
Smart Dublin

Smart Dublin is an initiative of the four Dublin local authorities to engage with smart technology providers, researchers and citizens to solve challenges and improve city life.    The unique project, which was launched in March 2016, brought together the four administrative bodies in the city - Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council - under one umbrella to pull resources, share information and work together to find solutions to their problems.  They were already participating in a range of smart city initiatives; however Smart Dublin now takes a regional approach and provides a central point of contact. 

Smart Dublin is not just about technology for technology’s sake, it is about creating new collaborations internally and externally and improving the way we work.  That is why we started the project by engaging with operational staff and finding out the real challenges they face.  By being proactive and articulating our problems, we can encourage the development of solutions adapted to our needs. 

Externally we collaborate with business, academia and other organizations. The projects we are involved in include:

  • The cycling challenge or cycling SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research). It is an initiative in partnership with Enterprise Ireland that sought innovative and low cost solutions to increase the number of people cycling in Dublin. Launched in March 2016, the call out generated 98 expressions of interest and 23 proposals. Five companies won funding to develop a proof of concept and four of them secured further funding to develop a pilot.

Building on the success of this competition we are now launching three new SBIR competitions in April 2017 to source new smart, low cost solutions to tackle illegal dumping, to address flooding and to improve wayfinding across the Dublin region.

  • We are working on two EU projects:
    • Smart Impact - a two-year project funded by URBACT focused on smart cities governance structures, processes and business models.
    • Route to PA -  a  Horizon 2020 project that aims at improving the engagement of citizens by making them able to socially interact over open data, by forming or joining existing online communities that share common interest and discuss common issues.

The contacts made through our Smart Impact project were key to developing a Horizon 2020 lighthouse bid called InnoLEVER which was submitted in February 2017 and we look forward to a positive result over the next few months.

Smart Dublin also collaborates with other cities nationally and internationally through organizations such as the All Ireland Smart Cities Forum launched in December 2016, TM Forum, Open and Agile Connected Cities (OASC), The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), Connected City Advisory Board and the City Protocol Society.

A highlight this year has been AT&T’s announcement of Dublin as their first international city collaboration for Smart Cities and IoT outside of the United States.  

Smart Dublin is only at the beginning of a fascinating journey.  The region has the potential to be a world class test bed for smart city solutions.  There are excellent network capabilities, a natural tech environment and an innovative mindset. Furthermore, the majority of the main global tech firms are present in the region including Google, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Microsoft.  Dublin is also home to numerous prestigious research institutes and has a vibrant start-up tech scene. Smart Dublin acts as a broker that brings all these different parties together in joint projects that enhance city life and help to create new innovative technology solutions.

Zaira is the Regional Coordinator for Smart Dublin, an initiative of the four local authorities of Dublin to engage with smart technology providers, researchers and citizens to solve challenges and improve city life. Through this role she manages and supports a portfolio of smart city projects. She also manages the promotion of the Smart Dublin brand and represents Smart Dublin at an international and national level. She plays a key role in the All Ireland Smart Cities Forum, a community of practice focused on the advancement of smart cities in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Zaira has a diverse experience in local government having worked in international relations, corporate communications, and also The Studio, the first innovation hub in Dublin City Council, where she managed projects such as Startup City, The Dublin Project and the Staff Ideas Scheme.

Get in otuch with her on Zaira.rivera@smartdublin.ie . She tweets at @smartdublin and @zairarivera

Follow Smart Dublin as well through their Linkedin page and website www.smartdublin.ie