Copenhagen has emerged as an international incubator for smart city start-ups, with nearly 250 companies involved in smart city activities. Driven by the collection and analysis of data from both the physical environment and the city’s citizens, smart solutions have the power to improve efficiency and environmental outcomes. Sensors on lampposts, rubbish bins and sewer grates will play an important role in Copenhagen’s quest for sustainability, while improving quality of life and making the city more attractive for investment.

The city’s resolution to be carbon-neutral by 2025 is a key driver of innovation, particularly in the energy and environment fields. Copenhagen’s high degree of digitisation and political vision have also helped it become a ‘test bed’ for smart urban services – a global market that design and engineering consultancy Arup estimates will grow to $400 billion annually by 2020.

Marianna Lubanski, director of investment promotion and clusters at Copenhagen Capacity, the city’s organisation for business development, says: “We can help foreign companies with matchmaking in terms of partners and competencies. We can help find test facilities and experts to document tests. And we can provide information on opportunities for economic support.”

The most important smart city sectors are energy, water, transport, waste and health. Early stages include developing and testing technologies such as intelligent street lighting, green waves in traffic for buses and cyclists, and energy saving technology in buildings.

The Copenhagen Connecting project has already earned a World Smart Cities Award. Smart data investments in lighting and intelligent traffic signals are set to reduce travel time by 10 per cent for cyclists and bus passengers by 2018. The project also features smart sewers and trash facilities, water management and real-time air quality monitoring. The consultancy Ramboll estimates that Copenhagen Connecting can have an economic impact of around €600m, with a large part of this impact recurring annually.

The technology sector has been quick to join the zeitgeist in Copenhagen, with global IT giant Cisco Systems forming a partnership with the city to developing tomorrow’s digital infrastructure. Cisco calls these activities the Internet of Everything (IoE) – an extension of the concept of the Internet of Things, which describes a digital network connecting people, data processes and things.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen Solutions Lab, a new municipal governing body, is leading the development and implementation of smart city innovations across all sectors, in collaboration with scientific institutions, companies and the city’s inhabitants. A key focal point is establishing a Big Data Digital Infrastructure Platform for sharing data across the public and private sectors.
Click here to read the full report by Focus Denmark ‘The city of tomorrow’


Featured image by Kristian Juul Pedersen, via Visit Denmark