Liveblogging the 2018 Nordic Innovation Conference, Seattle (6)–Nordic Smart Cities Movement

AFTERNOON FIRST PANEL: “Changing the World from its Northeast Corner I–The Nordic Smart Cities Movement”


Six panelists: Bernt Reitan Jenssen, (CEO, Ruter AS Oslo); Johan Bjorklund, (Ericsson, VP GM Smart City and Market Development); Knut Eirik Gustavsen, eSmart Systems; Teemu Lehtinen (Chief Digital Officer, KIRA-digi project); Goran Sparrman (Seattle Department of Transport)

  1. Jenssen: Oslo Ruter video on public transit, real problem: we pick up people from where they don’t want to be and take them where they don’t want to go. Want to change the public transit industry; example no tickets, just get billed by the month. Focus on user experience.
  2. Bjorklund: Smart Cities like telecom used to be; exciting, but nobody knows quite where it’s going; in 10 years, much more useful technology will be available than the purpose-built today; business model on smart cities using citizen data won’t really work–people are starting to get creeped out about how their data is being used; thus challenge–how do we use this data for peoples’ well-being, rather than being used by those who would monetize it
  3. Goran Sparrman, Seattle Department of Transport: Seattle maybe most dynamic economy in USA today, yet also many social impact issues–transport; equity; housing; Seattle: we view ourselves as the high-tech capital of the United States (sorry, Silicon Valley!); yet developing technology and how it impacts us, so guiding principles: traffic systems; social equitable, affordability of transportation systems; engagement and empowerment on transportation, housing, growth. Q&A: important to deal with data gathering and privacy.
  4. Knut Eirik Gustavsen, eSmart Systems: “Cities have to grow from within”; each city has different needs. If you want a smart city, it has to come from within. His company, practical in approach; want to show things work. Smart small; be practical; help city administration build from within. Q&A: Norway has highest concentration of electric vehicles (EV), straining the grid, EV issues a surprise.
  5. Teemu Lehtinen, Finland: (see; Models as 3D “digital twin” in open data for companies and citizens) Work on quick, experimental projects with 40% government funding, 60% from companies that apply. Q&A: Openness, open standards are key. Ex: mobility/transportation–Finland company WHIM app makes for better user experience
  6. Kris Hanssen, Nordic Semiconductor: Oslo-based company with R&D in Norway, Finland, Poland, USA; “World leader fabless semiconductor”; launched ultra-lower power short-range wireless communication. Only about 10 years, smart phones have come out, and peoples’ lives have changed from these devices, like paying bills with them. So we may have similar and maybe even more positive experiences from smarter devices to come.

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