After three successful editions in Barcelona, a wonderful first edition in Kyoto and the participation in the World Urban Forum in Medellin, Smart City Expo has already set its sights in Canada to launch the first Smart City promotion fair in North America. From December 10th to December 12th, experts and entrepreneurs in the Smart Cities area have an appointment in Montreal. François Morin, CEO at Eventium (the company in charge of the organization), talked to us about it.
“Citizens should be at the heart of smart cities. Without them, without their engagement, projects can’t work”
The city of Montreal, in Canada, is getting ready for one of the most important dates in the year, which will also be a turning point in the urban scene of the city. Fully aware of how important Smart Cities will be in the near future, the city authorities, along with several companies in the city, have decided to take the lead and launch the first Smart City Expo Montreal, which will be held from December 10th to December 12th. The Expo is organized by the company Eventium, partnered and mentored by Fira de Barcelona. The Expo, devoted to smart cities, is important for Montreal in two ways. With the first edition, Montreal will not only position itself as the most prominent city in the Smart Cities area in Canada, but also will become a link for the sector in the whole c, because this is the first time an event of this kind is held in the region.
To find out more about the Smart City Expo in Montreal, SC Actual Smart City had the opportunity and the pleasure to talk to François Morin, CEO at Eventium. The company is in charge of setting up the event from all points of view: establishing contacts with administrations and sponsors, promoting the event… Mr. Morin told us that the Smart City Expo Montreal has already signed agreements for 5 editions of the event. 3000 delegates and 200 sales stands are expected for the 5-year period, after which new agreements will be reached. In order to make sure the event is a great success, Fira de Barcelona cooperates with Eventium, contributing knowledge and mentoring so that the first edition of the event achieves its best possible outcome. Mr. Morin emphasized that Fira de Barcelona is highly professional and a wonderful team player, which will undoubtedly contribute to the Smart City Expo Montreal being a great success. For its part, Fira de Barcelona thus adds a new city and region to his job portfolio to promote Smart Cities worldwide, after holding successful events in Bogotá, Kyoto and Barcelona itself.
Smart City Expo Montreal will be held at the Congress Centre in Montreal, a colourful congress building which has held tens of summits and events related to ecology and environmental issues (in fact, even the architectural design of the building and its remodeling processes were devised to be efficient in terms of energy, water management and other resources). Right there, all over three days, almost 10,000 people from 293 countries in the world will visit the Expo; a substantial presence from cities and citizens from the United States and Latin America is expected. The Expo contents will be divided in four topic clusters: Urban Resilience, Open Government, Sustainable Mobility and Energy and Climate Change. Montreal has much to offer in the last two areas: the city is the capital of the Quebec region, a region with amazing infrastructure involving renewable hydropower [for further information on the Quebec region, see “Expoelèctric: Formula E – movilidad eléctrica a pleno rendimiento” (“Expoelectric: Formula E – electric mobility at its peak”) and the interview with Daniel Breton, SC Actual Smart City number 7]. Besides, Quebec is a region that has largely promoted clean and electric mobility, and it currently is the world region with the highest number of hybrid and electric vehicle charge stations per citizen. In the last Smart City Expo World Congress that was held in Barcelona, Quebec had an opportunity to show its progress in electric mobility during the EVS27 fair. Without the slightest doubt, Smart City expo Montreal will be another wonderful occasion for Quebec to show what it has to offer to the world.
Bringing the Smart world closer
The initial budget amounts to 1.2 million Canadian dollars, and it is thoroughly supported by local and national administrations; Smart City Expo Montreal does not only imply a great opportunity for business creation, promotion and search for partners for new projects, but also a great opportunity for Canada citizens to get more insight into the possibilities available the Smart area. François Morin believes that “right now, Montreal citizens are somewhat baffled by the messages, sometimes contradictory, launched by some companies”, but, on the other hand, “they already have a collective mindset in terms of efficiency and environmental concerns”. Because of that, Mr. Morin is in high hopes that “this Expo will move the details of the Smart World closer to them, and on seeing the social and economic benefits such solutions and projects may bring forward, citizens will be willing to join the debate on which kind of Smart City to set up in Montreal, and which tools are required to achieve our goals.”
In this context, Mr. Morin believes that any project to be introduced in the Smart Cities area should be focused on citizens. “No project” -he states- “will be really successful unless it takes the final user into consideration: citizens. Therefore, any Smart City Expo anywhere in the world must move along this pathway, otherwise Smart Ideas will not be effective.”
Given this strong conviction, the SC Actual Smart City team is certain that François Morin, Eventium and Fira de Barcelona, supported by companies and administrations in Montreal and Quebec, will manage to create a wonderful Smart City Expo in Montreal, thus laying the foundations for a strong development of Smart Cities in North America in the near future.