What will the future cities look like? Can we leverage the technology and form partnerships that contribute to an eco-friendly economy, drive inclusiveness and reduce inequality? How to create a positive impact for the communities and the environment? These were the issues raised at the webinar ‘’Smart and Sustainable cities – building an ecosystem for a better future through innovation’’ in the launch of the Visa Innovation Program 2022, held on 24 February. GATE was recently accepted as a research and technology partner for the Smart Cities Challenges in Visa.
The Director of the GATE Institute, prof. Sylvia Ilieva took part in the discussion focused on the smart and sustainable future. She introduced the main application domains of GATE and pointed out that “Future Cities is one of these domains, where our main focus is on City Digital Twins and Data Spaces as compelling technologies and innovative models that enable smart data sharing and data-driven and evidence-based decisions in many city aspects such as air quality, urban planning and building, energy consumption, infrastructure, city transportation and logistics, mobility, etc.”. She underlined that GATE’s main goal in the Future Cities domain for the next couple of years is to build a Digital Twin City Model of Sofia, a City Living Lab with IoT sensors and the first Urban Data Space in Bulgaria.
Asked about the GATE’s approach to creating partnerships prof. Ilieva explained that GATE’s role as a Centre of Excellence is to be an intermediary between academia and applied research in Data analytics and AI. “As part of the oldest and highest ranking in Bulgaria, Sofia University, GATE will design and deliver high-quality education and professional training about fundamentals, contemporary topics and future innovation trends in Data Science, Big Data, and AI to public institutions, industry, and society”, said prof. Ilieva. “GATE’s advanced infrastructure will enable innovative startups to develop Smart City and Smart Society applications. It will serve also as a Future City sandbox for industry prototyping, test-before-invest experimentation, and demonstration.”
She shared information about best practices in smart city/society applications from several countries worldwide and concluded that GATE sees the Data Space and City Digital Twin as accelerators of the city green and digital transformation that helps to offer cleaner air, safer transport and less congestion and noise to the citizens.
The webinar was attended by representatives of startups, bank executives, researchers and experts from the public and private sectors.