Smart Cities are an imminent reality. There are several pressing challenges, along with substantial opportunities, which are inciting this development. The world is growing into an increasingly urbanized environment, making space and resources more scare as our world population swells. This has a collateral negative effect on pollution, consumption habits, infrastructure and public health. As these challenges loom and threaten our way of living, opportunities are emerging which provide real, innovative solutions. Current megatrends in efficiency and digitization are metamorphosing into sophisticated tools which transform the infrastructure of modern cities, turning them into Smart Cities. With ICT and energy efficiency enabling this transformation, Smart Cities will be a central force in moving towards efficient living, sustainable growth and socially responsible competitiveness.
However, this global challenge requires the collaboration of all stakeholders at every level. This is not achieved in the near future; this requires long – term collaboration and policy action. Horizon 2020 calls for the European Union to assist in fostering smart cities through research to understand the social, economic and cultural issues involved. Challenges still persist in funding, research and standardization among fragmented stakeholders. Thus, in order to deliver Smart Cities it must be approached in an open, collaborative model. The Smart Cities of the Future session at ES:GC2 will examine some of the research challenges facing Smart Cities while offering potential solutions. Key aspects of the session will focus on policy regulation, standardization challenges and research opportunities. As the conceptualization of Smart Cities development from end user to the producer becomes more sophisticated, this exposes the dire need for increased support for capacity building, large scale infrastructures and innovation.