Olivier Biancarelli: “From smart city to smart territories”
Olivier Biancarelli clarifies ENGIE’s unique “Business to Territories” offer, which reflects a transition from smart city to the broader concept of smart territories, which are “sober, agile, safe and resilient,” as he explains.
Extract from an article published on June 16, 2017 on LinkedIn Influencers
When can we expect the energy revolution?
Let’s face it, the concept of the smart city – confined not so long ago to a handful of colloquiums – is often discussed through the prism of the latest innovation, start-up or app. The emphasis is on the technological dimension, the power of digital technology, and so on, sometimes with a degree of fascination. And many investments are made in pilot projects, “first-of-a-kind” projects, “proof-of-concept” projects. This is no doubt useful.
But is it really the best way to make cities smart? In this approach, where do you find the reality of the territories?
ENGIE’s international stature gives us a position of privileged observer. And what we observe is that, all around the world, the are very, very few cases where an app, a technology or a start-up alone can meet the needs of the decision-makers.
Because the issues that decision-makers responsible for a territory ire have to deal with are complex and intertwined. Guaranteeing air quality, for instance, doesn’t simply mean dealing with the pollution levels of tailpipe emissions, or reducing emissions linked to power generation, or managing the emissions linked to the energy consumption of buildings. These all have to be tackled together. And they themselves are extremely closely related to other key issues in territories: mobility, safety and the resilience of cities.
Such complexity calls for a lucid view of the nature and the needs of territories. Territories more than cities alone. That means zones that are clearly defined geographically and that depend on an authority, whether public or private: cities, of course, but also islands, military bases, university campuses, and so on.
Clearly, these territories need smart solutions. But if they are to be genuinely smart, we have to think them out in depth. They have to be linked to infrastructure, to infrastructure services and, of course, the powerful and unique contribution of digital solutions.
Two years ago now, this belief led us to develop an original offer, that we call B2T – a “Business To Territories” offer designed with and for territories. Without false modesty, it has proved a great success.
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