The Metropolitan Solutions 2015

For 3 days, Berlin was the global capital of ideas for intelligent and sustainable urban development. Germany’s capital city hosted the “Metropolitan Solutions”, a network event bringing together a total of 27 conferences and extensive workshops for professionals from all continents. The attendance of politicians like Violeta Bulc (European Commissioner for Transport), Günther Oettinger (European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society) and Cornelia Yzer (Senator for Economics, Technology and Research in Berlin) demonstrated the success of this recent concept. Being the world’s biggest fair in the field of smart and green cities, 450 speakers and 130 companies were present, including Siemens and its urban experts.

It is no surprise that such a high number of speakers are able to provide insights on a wide range of topics, from smart solutions in Asian cities, to new European partnerships on smart communities, and new ways of municipal funding. Experts exchanged worldwide success stories on electric cars and new developments in the field of smart sensing. It was an almost endless line up of interesting presentations concerning the chances and challenges of future cities.

Siemens actively participated in this line up of presentations and panels with 7 experts, including Pedro Miranda (Siemens Corporate Vice President), who was presenting industry solutions for sustainable urban development in the “Sustainable Urban China Conference” organized by ICLEI. Other fields of Siemens expertise were represented, in the “International Finance Conference – Making Finance work for Cities”, for example, where Julie Alexander (Director at the Global Center of Competence Cities) discussed new funding sources for smart cities with experts from SAP, The World Bank, PwC and others.

Generally speaking, the core message of many presenters at the Metropolitan Solutions was that smart cities can’t be developed by simply providing them with single parts of data-driven technology: To enhance sustainable urban development, a holistic approach is urgently needed.

Therefore, it’s almost no surprise that the new City Performance Tool (CyPT) was a roaring success at the Siemens booth. Its holistic approach on simulating more than 70 technologies in a city and their potential influence on future CO2, NOx and PM emissions, as well as their potential on installing new local jobs, was the exact the topic of the fair. Thanks to a comprehensive analysis of the unique profile of a city, the CyPT is capable of delivering tangible numbers on the city’s future environmental performance and economic development, for up to 25 years. This allows stakeholders to make a more informed decision on possible infrastructure investments. Consequently, Klaus Heidinger (Head of City IT Applications) and his team were busy explaining the new software tool to interested city officials such as the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, or to the European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc.

Klaus Heidinger (Siemens Head of City IT Applications) with Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller

Nevertheless, the CyPT was not the only highlight. New infrastructure technologies in Siemens’ portfolio, like the Integrated Smart Parking Solution, demonstrated new, effective ways of managing a modern city. Moreover, Siemens experts explained new methods of financing energy infrastructure upgrades with “Energy Performance Contracting”, and provided a general insight into the comprehensive services of Siemens regarding the energy management, resilience and security of a city. Additionally, an interactive touchscreen table illustrated Siemens’ portfolio in a playful way, using heavy, crystal-shaped, transparent blocks as control panels.

The Siemens booth was not the only place to gain new insights about sustainable urban development in the exhibition hall. The Metropolitan Solutions 2015 offered its visitors a lot of opportunities to share experiences with each other: ICLEI, for instance, hosted workshops and roundtable discussions in their booth and offered a lounge-like set up for discussions. The so-called “brainbox” of Berlin’s Technical University created a huge room to inspire conversations on how potential partners collaborate in a city. The emphasis of #metsol was to ensure that all visitors talked as peers. It didn’t matter if the conversation started in the exhibition hall or briefly after a presentation – even high-level experts from cities like Copenhagen, NGOs like The World Bank, or companies like Siemens were open, tangible and interested in exchanging ideas. This is what made the Metropolitan Solutions a highly communication-driven urban innovation fair.

After three days of intense networking, interesting presentations and conversations at the lunch queue, experts and visitors left Berlin and #metsol reassured that they are on the right path: a path that will make cities cleaner, more efficient and hopefully more livable.