Smart, Sustainable, Soon? Smart City Expo and the Cities of Tomorrow

Smart City Expo World Congress is the leading international event for cities. Held in Barcelona since 2011, Schréder has been attending for years as enabling a better future for cities and their citizens is at the heart of our work on urban lighting. 

This year’s edition had a hybrid format, with a total of 10,000 attendees taking part in events on and offline, sparking cross-sectoral conversations, forging and fostering partnerships, and building a platform to share smart city knowledge.

We hosted a Digital Side Event, “Think Smart, Deliver Sustainable Solutions” with our team from Schréder Hyperion, our smart cities hub. Nicolas Keutgen, Schréder’s Chief Innovation Officer joined Pedro Pinto, Smart Systems Development and Program Manager at Schréder Hyperion and Tomás Almeida, Schréder Hyperion’s Business Strategy and Public Affairs Manager to discuss innovative, sustainable solutions that can be delivered through lighting technology. You can watch the event here.

Meaningful Moments, Smarter Cities

Our ambition is to bring meaningful moments to people in public spaces at day or at night.

Nicolas Keutgen
CIO - Schréder

Headed by Nicolas Keutgen, Schréder Hyperion aims to help cities improve safety, better manage their assets, preserve fauna and flora, increase resiliency and connectivity and reinforce local identities and cultures.

Our panelists discussed Schréder’ team of engineers specialised in IoT (Internet of Things) who work closely with cities and communities to understand their challenges and propose bespoke solutions.

Above all, our aim is to support cities in their digital transition of the public space,” Nicolas Keutgen said. And that means supporting cities in using the products and systems they want, or already have, whoever manufactured them.

Schreder can offer end to end smart city solutions, however our philosophy is a philosophy of openness and interoperability.

Nicolas Keutgen
CIO - Schréder

One example is our work in Sint-Andries in Antwerp, Belgium. The city wanted to use smart technologies to reduce unnecessary energy consumption and light pollution. Thanks to interconnected smart cameras and detectors, people are able to cross the street more safely and the squares are lit in a more energy-efficient manner, adapting in real-time to actual needs.

Open lighting technology from Schréder is helping the city of Antwerp to create smart zones with extra value for citizens

Today’s Challenges, Tomorrow’s Urban Landscape

The three most prominent challenges facing cities are improving energy efficiency, mobility and protecting fauna and flora.

First, panelists discussed energy efficiency: 70% of the electricity bill of cities like Lisbon is spent on public lighting. By implementing smart lighting systems with the addition of sensors and cameras such as the one in Antwerp, we can vary the lighting according to traffic conditions, which generates 25% more savings than just replacing traditional lamps with LEDs. We can go even further, as we have done in some cities like Brussels, and adapt lighting to weather conditions.

When it comes to mobility, the electric vehicle (EV) is a growing phenomenon as we strive to reduce our footprint. An estimated 30% of cars will run on electric energy by 2030 at the latest. As EV sales surge globally, cities need to quickly adapt and offer charging solutions.

Using the public lighting grid for EV charging will enable cities to control parking and charging timings, giving the cities a way to make use of their existing infrastructure and monetise public spaces with additional city applications.

Pedro Pinto - Smart Systems Development and Program Manager - Schréder Hyperion
Pedro Pinto
Smart Systems Development and Program Manager

And it’s not the only way smart cities can manage traffic more effectively. According to a recent study, American motorists spend an average of 17 hours a year searching for parking spots on streets, in lots, or in garages, while 30% of car emissions in city centres come from people looking for parking spaces. Smart cities need intelligent parking, and Schréder partners with cities to provide data that can be used to manage the availability of parking spaces. These solutions ultimately free up public space, which can be transformed into parks, pedestrian areas, cycling paths, and so on.

Finally, a truly Smart City optimises resource use while improving safety and respecting the rhythm of nature. In Brussels, the Bois de la Cambre is a great example of how adaptive lighting can protect flora and fauna. This urban park is home to bats, squirrels, foxes and small deer. The lighting is adjusted in real time to ensure optimum safety for the buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians circulating on the road through the park, “resulting in energy savings that go up to 10% per year, reduced light pollution and less light disruption of local wildlife,” Pedro Pinto concluded.

The street lights in Bois de la Cambre are dimmed to 50% when there is less traffic on the roads

Innovating for our Ancestors

Schréder is a family-owned company, and as such, it is handed over from generation to generation. “So we need to be a good ancestor,” Nicolas Keutgen emphasised. This culture of long-term thinking is at the core of our business, meaning that we all have a duty to future generations to take care of our communities and preserve natural ecosystems.

Schréder’s action plan, “Together For Our Future,” subscribes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aims to ensure technology in smart cities works towards them. It should reduce carbon footprint, be part of the circular economy and help decision-makers avoid creating financial, economic, social, environmental, or technological debts for future generations. Over decades, Schréder has continuously found new ways to improve the energy efficiency of its products. Today, our luminaires, managed by Schréder EXEDRA, our IoT platform, can cut energy consumption by as much as 85%. “Smart cities should be platforms for innovation, and so is Schréder EXEDRA,” said Nicolas Keutgen. 

Cities have been hotbeds of innovation and progress for millennia, and the smart city is the next step in this process. Open, interoperable, safe and welcoming, lighting can transform a space but also make it smart, adding everything from weather sensors to CCTV. Smart City Expo is a great opportunity for city stakeholders to interact and share ideas, and it also showcases the diversity of the world’s urban centres. No two cities are alike, and with over a century of experience, we can help create a smart roadmap to help cities face their biggest challenges and battle against climate change. If you’re wondering about the best way to do this, get in touch!

Connect with Nicolas and Pedro on LinkedIn.