Technology and Economic Development Leaders Join Forces to Accelerate Smart Cities

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The Smart Cities Council, developed and managed by Global Smart Energy and Mercator XXI, LLC, will hasten the adoption of digital technologies that can revolutionize urban life, making the world's cities more livable, more workable and more sustainable. The smart cities market is estimated to grow as large as $2.1 trillion by 2020.

"We want smart city technology to bring us convenience, comfort and sustainability," explained Jesse Berst, founder and managing director of Global Smart Energy. "But we also want it to bring jobs and growth.

The world is hurtling toward enormous urban agglomerations. Estimates suggest 6.4 billion people, 70 percent of the world’s population, will live in cities by 2050. Now two global consulting firms have come together to administer an industry group, backed by heavyweights such as General Electric, IBM, and Itron, to accelerate progress toward smart cities.

Global Smart Energy, of Redmond, Wa., and Mercator XXI, LLC, of Washington, DC, said the Smart Cities Council will help establish the technological, financial and policy underpinnings for clean cities with smart digital infrastructure (power, water, gas, transportation, communications, emergency response, etc.).

The goal of the partnership is to team technology savvy with economic development expertise.

"We want smart city technology to bring us convenience, comfort and sustainability," explained Jesse Berst, founder and managing director of Global Smart Energy. "But we also want it to bring jobs and growth. That's why I'm pleased to partner with esteemed economic development experts."

Mercator XXI has a core team of policy and economic development specialists in Washington, D.C. plus an affiliate network in Canada, Japan, China, India and the Middle East. This global team will be engaged in recruiting, managing and supporting SCC Partners, advisors, events and initiatives in the regions.

“Innovation-driven economic development is the only realistic path to a sustainable and viable future for the world’s urban centers. We are excited about partnering with Global Smart Energy to enable municipal leaders across the world to implement leading edge solutions, and to work with someone having a track record as a technology thought leader” said Christopher Caine, Mercator XXI founder and CEO.

James F. Whittaker, a principal at Mercator XXI, LLC, will be SCC’s director. He is a former executive with Intel and Hewlett-Packard and has in-depth experience in international policy and government affairs. Berst will chair the council. Berst is an internationally known analyst and author who founded the Internet's oldest and largest smart grid site and co-founded the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. Smart grid and smart infrastructure are widely viewed as the foundational technologies for an intelligent city.

With the help of its members and a worldwide advisory board of leading experts, the council will develop a vendor-neutral Readiness Guide, propose financing templates and work closely with public sector leaders to shape policy to accelerate the build-out of smart cities. It seeks to answer questions such as: How do we architect a digital infrastructure to provide a foundation for future growth and prosperity? How do we pay for it? Which policies can speed success? How do we educate citizens about the benefits and bring them along as enthusiastic partners? How far away is a city from being able to design and implement a smart city strategy and plan? What are the critical elements and when are they needed in place to advance its smart city vision?

Encouraging open standards for smart cities, the SCC will set the metrics that define a city’s intelligence. It will also work directly with global cities to help them assess their current standing and find ways to transition step-by-step to genuinely smart cities with a shared digital infrastructure, providing a robust platform for economic growth.

The Smart Cities Council is guided by an executive council, which presently includes representatives from General Electric, IBM and Itron.

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Ronald Berst

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