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Denmark is a smart partner for Smart Cities

The Minister for Higher Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen's speech at the opening of the conference 'Smart Solutions for Innovative Cities' 10 September 2015 in Copenhagen.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, dear guests.

Thank you for the invitation to speak at this conference on Smart Solutions for Innovative Cities.

And also thank you to Copenhagen Business School for hosting the event.

Some of you might have arrived at CBS by car.

If so - you would have experienced the hectic morning traffic in Copenhagen.

Imagine a large city with no traffic jam.

With no queueing, waiting time or frustrated drivers.

With smooth transport from A to B.

And imagine a city where electric cars and buses bring an end to air pollution.

Or maybe even a future where blind people are assisted by holographic dogs bringing them safely through the city.

Is this all science fiction?

Or are these imaginations realistic forecasts for the future?

We are here today because these scenarios are no longer figments of the brain.

Because the future is already here.

Smart solutions to global challenges

We live in a time of a digital revolution.

You can go online almost everywhere.

The capacity of IT-systems increases by the minute.

And the amount of data grows explosively.

Combined with the development within mobile and wireless communication, we look at new opportunities for rapid processing and exploitation of extremely large amounts of data.

We must use these opportunities to create value for society – and to create smart and innovative solutions to global challenges.  

And we must also engage in the more moral debates on how technology influences society and us as people.

For the innovative solutions are being developed.

Just think about the case study from the conference report where a Community Warning System in Rio de Janeiro uses mobile phones to alert in the event of rainfalls or changes of meteorological conditions.  

The future is already here.

Now the question is how we make it sustainable.

My colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has already touched upon the subject from his point of view.

As a supplement and from my point of view it is about releasing, supporting and organising the immense potential of big data through science and partnerships.

Denmark is a smart partner for Smart Cities

Denmark is on the right track.

From a scientific point of view, Denmark has good prerequisites for finding smart solutions for innovative cities.

At the political level, the ambition is to maintain Denmark’s position as a leading nation within green solutions.

Furthermore, the government recognises excellent research and innovation as drivers for the development of society.

Denmark already has leading research environments and technology-driven businesses within areas such as IT, telecommunication, green energy and Smart Grid – all areas relevant for Smart Cities.

One example is the market for Smart Grid technologies.

Here, Denmark is the leading European country hosting 22 % of all European Smart Grid test and demonstration projects.

Another example is wind turbines which will play a central role in the decentralised energy system of the Smart City.

Furthermore, Denmark is home to leading knowledge institutions specialised in research within the field of smart technologies and green solutions for Smart Cities.

And more than half of the Danish municipalities are steps ahead in both thought and action when it comes to testing and implementing innovative solutions for smart cities.And they are good at it.

Among other things, the cities of Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg are ranked among the leading medium-sized smart cities in Europe.

Smart cities demands smart partnerships

Scientific knowledge and regional test beds are important elements for smart cities.

But if we are to make use of the immense potential of big data we need to “tie it all together” so to speak.

We need to make a system of systems.
We need to form partnerships.

At the political level, we will continue our strong tradition of involving stakeholders in decision and planning processes.

And we will encourage partnerships across sectors.

Knowledge and initiatives from businesses,
universities, public institutions and – not least – citizens are all important.

But it is the interaction between all stakeholders that are crucial for future, multifunctional smart city solutions to be developed.

Furthermore, if we are to develop our society, we must all take responsibility.

And stakeholders must be willing to set aside their own agenda.

No one can build smart solutions for innovative cities by themselves.

Smart cities demands smart partnerships.

Today, and as a successful bridge-builder, the
Innovation Centre Denmark has taken the first step and brought together leading international experts on Smart Cities from around the world.  

Let us take advantage of this situation.

The future is already here, but the full value chain has yet to be created.

Let us partner up and create Smart Solutions for Innovative Cities.

Let’s make our smart cities even smarter.

last modified Sep 11, 2015