Highlights from the Smart Cities Expo World Forum

KPMG Adoxio attended the Smart Cities Expo World Forum in Toronto May 7 & 8 to learn what others are doing to “educate people towards smart cities and urban planning technologies, strive for innovation, promote business, and connect thousands of Smart City Experts from around the globe”. 

Cybersecurity must be at the forefront

A major theme at this year’s Forum was Cybersecurity, with sessions covering what cities need to be aware of when becoming part of the smart cities initiative as more and more devices connect. Cisco indicated in their presentation that in 2015 there were 25 billion devices connected to the internet, and that number is expected to double to 50 billion by 2020.

The main takeaway is that cybersecurity needs to be at the forefront of every city’s initiative, rather than an afterthought. Information presented over the two days provided a chilling perspective on what hackers are already doing on a daily basis that most of us are completely unaware of.

To get cities started with their cybersecurity plan, the following steps were presented:

  1. Prevent – try to prevent an attack with appropriate security measures, even though they are not 100% preventable
  2. Detect – once an attack occurs – and it will – have measures in place to detect it as quickly as possible – ideally within minutes
  3. React – have a pre-determined plan on what your reaction will be once an attack has occurred and been detected, including an action plan on how to notify stakeholders (citizens, authorities, press, etc.)

Cities can finally compare “apples to apples”

A highlight of the Forum was the presentation by Professor Patricia L. McCarney, PhD, President and CEO of the World Council on City Data (WCCD), Canada. McCarney presented on ISO 37120 Sustainable Development of Communities: Indicators for City Services and Quality of Life, the new international standard created by cities, for cities. This is the first certification system which allows cities to finally compare “apples to apples” from 100 specific measurement areas spanning 17 major themes, including Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, and Finance (read the complete list).

This ability to benchmark against other municipalities has always been a huge challenge, and now cities can accurately compare themselves against the best of the best in each category to help them identify specific areas for improvement.   

Read the Benchmarking city services: Finding the courage to improve report by KPMG to explore findings and insights into how persistent problems and transformative trends are managed by municipalities across the globe.