We need better cities – Urban Tech Forward is a hybrid event discussing tech solutions for urban sustainability. Find out everything you need to know about the trade fair here.
The Urban Tech Conference
On 27-28 September 2022, the Urban Tech Forward conference took place in Warsaw, Poland. Organised by Futurae Media, this hybrid conference revolved around the theme of “Rethinking Cities”. Companies from all over the world were represented to present their ideas for more efficient, safer, and at the same time sustainable urban development at the trade fair.
By 2050, two out of three people will live in cities. Therefore, according to the organisers, it is important to showcase innovations from the sector and enable an urban tech transformation. The conference focused on efficiency, resilience as well as technology and brought together innovators, investors, real estate developers, politicians, and entrepreneurs.
These were the main topics, each of which had its own stage:
- Construction Technology
- Real estate and property technology
- Smart buildings and IoT
- Infrastructure and Industrial IoT
- Waste and Water
- Energy Efficiency
- Urban mobility
Speakers such as Virginijus Sinkevicius from the European Commission, Laura Fox from Citi Bike and Stonly Blue from Third Sphere shared their vision and experience with over 1,000 participants. The conference took place at the Praga Koneser Center in Warsaw. Local participants had the opportunity to visit the exhibition of start-ups and companies as well as take part in city tours.
Cities after the pandemic
One of the key events of the Smart City Conference was the presentation on “Defining post-pandemic cities. How does COVID-19 change the way we do urban planning and development?”. Experts from Stanford University, Culture Cascade Today and Spatial Experience discussed how the pandemic has changed our cities.
They agreed that society has moved outwards with the pandemic. Since the transmission rate of the virus is significantly lower in the fresh air, this was the logical consequence for many people. Accordingly, public spaces and parks have received significantly more attention.
From the perspective of start-ups and companies offering urban services, the neighbourhood has become significantly more important. In the sense of the 15-minute city, the pandemic has led to a much clearer understanding of how heterogeneous and multifaceted neighbourhoods in cities are. This applies to both transport planning and apps that work to combat social isolation.
“We try to re-engineer and re-establish processes and embrace wellbeing. Now, we don’t just look at neighbourhoods, but also at the individual level and at what’s happening inside each building,” explained Bart Sasim, CEO of Spatial Experience. “Because of the pandemic, we are all re-discovering ourselves as citizens of a city,” he added.
Urban Tech Challengers competition
An important part of the Urban Tech Forward conference was the award ceremony in the Urban Tech Challengers competition. This award recognises the most innovative start-up that is leading the way for future cities. It is about disruptive solutions that improve city life. Over 400 different start-ups took part in the competition. For this, the condition was that they were active in one of the conference’s thematic areas.
There were 70 finalists represented at the conference. From these, the jury selected one finalist for each thematic area. In the end, the German start-up Blickfeld from Munich won the prize. Blickfeld develops LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles and IoT applications. LiDAR refers to a form of three-dimensional laser scanning. Instead of radio waves like radar, laser beams are used here.
The start-up has been active in Munich since 2017. It offers both hardware and software. This includes compact sensors that record data points and are then processed into 3D point clouds with the help of software. Thus, it is possible to produce action-oriented results for smart city technologies.
About Futurae Media
Futurae Media is a UK-based organisation that aims to find sustainable solutions to the grand challenges of our time. In addition to the Urban Tech Forward conference, the company organises many other related events. The trade shows are always about innovation and inclusion. The company also aims to bring together key stakeholders and launch a fresh, action-oriented dialogue.
Topics such as energy, mobility, food and agriculture, digital healthcare, transport, and logistics as well as urban tech or smart city are at the forefront. All Futurae Media fairs invite the private sector to work together with start-ups, non-governmental organisations, and politicians. Importantly, the company wants to find private funding for innovative ideas and thought leaders. The company’s Hybrid Food Tech Congress will take place at the end of October 2022. Here, Warsaw will be the host again.
By the way, you can read more about smart cities and urban transport here.