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World Cities Congress Istanbul’18 Set the Course for Smart Cities

World Cities Congress Istanbul’18 Set the Course for Smart Cities

World Cities Congress Istanbul’18, hosted by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on April 17-18-19, 2018, set the road map for Smart Cities.

Hosted by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on April 17-18-19, 2018 at Yenikapi Eurasia Exhibition and Art Centre, World Cities Congress Istanbul’18 brought together the executive representatives and sectoral professionals working on smart city strategies, from all around the world. More than 10 thousand sector professionals participated in World Cities Congress Istanbul’18 this year, where knowledge and experiences on smart city applications were shared with a view to leaving a more liveable world to the future.

Smart solution to public transport in Istanbul

Following the opening speeches of World Cities Congress Istanbul’18, IETT’s autonomous tool was introduced. Faruk OZLU the Minister of Science, Industry and Technology, Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO Former Spanish Prime Minister, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Ilicali Erzurum MP, Vasip SAHIN Istanbul Governor and Mevlut UYSAL Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality attended the ribbon ceremony at which it was announced that one of the vehicles used as a nostalgic tram in Beyoglu was converted into an electric and self-driving autonomous vehicle by the General Directorate of IETT.

23 billion dollar savings is possible thanks to smart city applications

Hosting more than 140 speakers and 26 workshop events over the course of three days, World Cities Congress Istanbul’18 also set the agenda with the panels joined by the sector leaders. Moderated by Mujdat Altay the CEO of NETAS, Innovative City Technologies panel was joined by Paul Doany the CEO of Turk Telecom, Meltem Bakiler Sahin Deputy CEO of Vodafone Turkey, Steven Young the President of Bosch Turkey and Middle East and Cenk Kivilcim the CEO of Cisco Turkey.

“In the next 10 years, digital transformation in the private sector will create an added value worth 23,8 trillion dollars in retail, energy, finance, production, service providing and healthcare sectors. According to our research, Turkey has a potential to generate a value worth total of 192 billion dollars with digitalization a specific to Turkey. The private sector can create about $ 169 billion of this amount. And in the public sector, there is a potential to create approximately $ 23 billion additional value, especially with the smart city applications.” explains Cenk Kivilcim the CEO of Cisco Turkey.

Delivering a speech in the opening of the congress held at Yenikapi Eurasia Exhibition and Art Centre, Mevlut UYSAL the Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality said, “As Istanbul, we created “the smart city index” of Istanbul in an effort to build a city with a strong technological infrastructure. We have carried some works in order to set the smart city vision, strategies and road map. This Vision Document will add some speed to us in terms of smart urban development.”

The Mayor Uysal added, “In the 21st century, Smart Cities is one of the most important agenda items in the world. The need for smarter transportation technologies, energy solutions, buildings, communication and information technologies or briefly for a  smarter city is gradually increasing . 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities in the near future. So, we will need more. Rapid urbanization creates an immense pressure on transportation networks, emergency services and public services. Major cities in the world have already turned to smart projects because the cities need to be made smarter before such rising in the population.”

Noting that as local governments, they have to produce new solutions to the problems caused by urbanisation, the scope of the municipality services have expanded day by day and therefore they are obliged to be in continuous interaction with the residents around the clock in all fields, The Mayor Uysal stated, “While we produce fast solutions to the problems on the one hand, we have to raise the standards for the city. We must carry out the processes in coordination. Smart systems that will make the cities more e are of great importance in this respect. We have to work for clean, green cities that develop in a planned way. Therefore, as Istanbul, we created “the smart city index” of Istanbul in an effort to build a city with a strong technological infrastructure. We carried some works in order to set the smart city vision, strategies and road map. This Vision Document will add some speed to us in terms of smart urban development.”

Time For Mobile Applications
Stating that “The ideas that make the life easier are quickly becoming an integral part of our lives.”, the Mayor Uysal added, “We are now in the era of mobile applications. One of the early applications we have made years ago towards the smart urban planning was on traffic. “Pocket Traffic” which is used by millions of people in Istanbul, has responded and continues to respond greatly to the needs in transportation. And today, we have established an assertive alternative to the mobile taxi application, which is widely used in the smart cities, thanks to the software developed by the engineers of our municipality. We called it “I-Taxi”, namely Istanbul Taxi. By integrating the electric vehicles into this application, we have taken the vision of “future in public transport” to the public transportation. We are working on a number of public transport systems and traffic management issues.”

Reminding that smart traffic signalization is an application developed by IBB, the Mayor Uysal noted that this system is used at 100 major intersections throughout Istanbul. The Mayor Uysal added,  “This system manages the signalling intervals and driving times based on the congestion. Thus, Istanbulites save time and fuel. It is a must for smart urban planning to furnish the entire city with fibre networks; to reach every citizen with fibre networks. We’ve covered quite a distance in this respect. Our goal is to predict the needs of the future and to deliver a fast internet across the entire city. Cities are the centres of innovation. As a municipality, we promote productive, innovative ideas and practices. We are in close cooperation with the industry, universities and businesses. In this context, the works towards living and experience labs in Istanbul are rapidly increasing. And we provide them with support. As you know, it is the innovative ideas and inventions that were introduced in the past; to help us to reach today’s level of welfare. Likewise, we will shape today and the future with innovative ideas, new technologies and innovation-based initiatives. We have to do that for a better future. We have to carry out these works.”

We Need a Strong Technological Infrastructure
Underlining that IBB is an organisation that produces thousands of data every day and therefore a having a strong technological infrastructure is as important, the Mayor Uysal mentioned, “Furnishing the cities with smarter systems can be possible primarily by processing the large data owned by the public. Obviously,  artificial intelligence will be involved more frequently in the business and service processes in the cities of the future. We are in the era of the cities where the houses are lit up by the energy they derive from their own wastes, alarm systems operate against the disasters and risks and the gas line is automatically shut off in case of any disaster. We have these systems in place as Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. As the smart city technologies become more active and popular, the quality of life and economic welfare will increase in cities, too. We all know very well that local governments have more work to do towards smart urban planning.”

Delivering a speech in the opening of  “World Smart Cities Congress 2018”, Faruk Ozlu the Minister of Science, Industry and Technology expressed that the understanding of a classical town management is already old-fashioned and added, “City planning means more than just regular public services, such as cleaning, water, road, etc. the course of new city planning is towards the smart city applications.”

Expressing that “Istanbul has a global identity for the whole world, thanks to its economy bigger than those of 130 countries.”, the Secretary Ozlu added, “56 percent of our country’s foreign trade volume and 27 percent of our national revenue stems from Istanbul. Istanbul is also on its way to become an attraction centre for the world, thanks to its large-scale projects and investments. Istanbul, a global city, is one of the central hubs of technology, as well. Istanbul is the most important link of our objective “Turkey: the centre of science.” Istanbul is one of the world’s most important centres of attention particularly in technology, R & D and innovation. The fact that this important congress is held in Istanbul is very meaningful in terms of discovering the potential of our city. Today, Istanbul ranks on the top of the list of the fastest growing cities in the world. Istanbul, Turkey’s most popular city, hosts a number of international organizations in every field from sports to art to culture to trade. Istanbul hosts approximately 130 international congresses and nearly 100 trade fairs a year and ranks the 6th among the cities worldwide in this area. This great interest in our city encourages us.”

The Secretary Ozlu mentioned that Istanbul deeply deserve the title of becoming the fair and congress capital of the world and said that the cities are now managed with mind in this era. Pointing out that “smart city management” is a must in a country like Turkey, in which 93 percent of the population lives in the cities and town centres, Mr. Ozlu stated that from the viewpoint of Istanbul, this table gets more distinct.

First things first; Digitalization is a Must for Smarter Cites
Minister Ozlu stated that the cities should first be digitalized in order to become smart and said that the data related to energy, infrastructure, traffic and security has to be managed with a certain mind and strategy. Mentioning that they can assess the digital transformation of Turkey in harmony with the digital transformation of the cities for all these reasons, Mr. Ozlu added, “We regard the Smart cities as an important part of the road map for digital transformation in our country. We consider the smart and digital city applications as a leverage, towards our objective “Turkey: Centre of Science, Technology Base, and Advanced Industrial Country”. Turkey has a long-time civilization and a well-established urbanization tradition. All our cities take their identities from our history, culture, art and traditions. We will see the traces of thousands of years of history and civilization no matter which city you visit in Turkey. We are determined to protect our cities and build and rejuvenate them under the light of our civilization. And when doing so, we will embrace the concepts introduced by modernity. We will continue to offer smart city applications to our citizens in 81 cities and 921 town in our country.”

Delivering a speech in the opening of “World Smart Cities Congress 2018”, Vasip Sahin the Governor of Istanbul stated that while the urban economy and production system in the cities is transformed based on data and technology on the one hand, it offers great opportunities for a better service delivery, quality and access to information, on the other hand.

The Governor Sahin mentioned that the concept of smart cities gets more and more popular lately and added, “Smart Cities has become a focal point and quite a popularly growing concept lately in Istanbul and other cities of our country. Smart cities offer great opportunities for transformation and optimization of the urban economy and production system based on information and technology on the one hand and for a more efficient delivery of city services and increasing the quality and accessibility of such services.”

Expressing that there are a number of applications in the field of smart cities in Istanbul, which can be set as an example for Turkey, Mr. Sahin noted,
“We need to take these experiences into consideration and carry them further to a more advanced level  with a longer-term perspective without ignoring the works in other cities in the world, with which we compete. In this sense, our Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and our public institutions work together in an effort to create the strategies. One of the most important points here is the access to data. At the centre of the concept of “smart cities” lies the access to the data –which we call big data- that is produced by the public and private sector but can be used more effectively by all parties providing solutions in this area. Especially, the cyber security is yet another aspect that has become increasingly important lately for the own security of the countries. Today, considering the fact that all services are transferred to a digital environment, the life itself gains importance in many aspects such as data security and the safety of the services provided on the net, protection of personal data and sustainability of the services.”

Following the speeches, the protocol members cut the ribbon of the “World Smart Cities Congress 2018” on the stage all together. Then, the Mayor Uysal and other protocol members participated in the promotion of the electric autonomous car manufactured by IETT and took a test drive. The members of the protocol visited the exhibition area all together and got information from the booth staff.


At the event called “Big Data of the City and Cyber Security”, Dr. Omer Fatih Sayan, the Head of ICTA, noted that cyber security in addition to the advancing technologies improved.

Dr. Omer Fatih Sayan, the Head of Information Technologies and Communication Authority, participated as a moderator in the program called “Big Data of the City and Cyber Security”, which was organized by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality at Yenikap. Eurasia Show and Art Centre. The event was also joined by Gunduz Sengul Deputy General Director of Communications from the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications, Defne Tozan IBM General Manager and Murat Kansu Microsoft General Manager, along with the Chairman Sayan. The main agenda of the event joined by around 100 speakers was the ways how the smart cities will shape our future.

Speaking at the first session of the event and pointing out that the digital transformation has affected the entire world, the Head of ICTA Mr. Sayan noted, “It is not only recently that the digital technologies focusing on computer hardware, software and mobile devices as well as communication networks. The convergence of these technologies and mutual interaction in physical, digital and biological fields is a clear sign of great developments which we have never witnessed before. Information and communication technologies sector which appear in the centre of the technological developments is not simply a sector as it used to be, but it also turned out to be the most important domain of digital transformation age by becoming the top player of development and growth in other sectors as well.”

Stating that data size will increase by 4300% in 2020 as compared to the present day, Mr. Sayan mentioned, “It is estimated that 90 percent of the digital data pool in the world emerged in the last three years, 5.2 terabyte data will be produced per person and a total of 40 zetabyte data will be in circulation in 2020. Today, there are 5 billion mobile phones, 2 billion internet users, 66 billion sensors in the devices/objects we use and 13 billion security events monitored by video/digital/IT technologies in the world. Therefore, “Big Data” can be regarded as one of the most powerful IT assets of today. Nowadays, Internet of Things extends from small household appliances to the smart cities and the data generated here appear as what we call the big data.”


Emphasising that the concept of the Internet of Things has become indispensable in our lives, the Chairman Sayan told, “The physical objects surrounding us almost every moment enrich our lives, turning it into an almost information ecosystem. In a near future, every object around us will be equipped with a sensor and become a part of the human existence. IoT will not only affect the personal and everyday life, but also change and transform the business world, as well. It will give numerous opportunities as it offers unlimited imagination. This big change will be felt in all sectors. In particular, we can say that it will offer an opportunity in the manufacturing sector, for fundamental structural change, similar to the industrial revolution. Every device and equipment used becomes more digital and more connected.”

Pointing out that the machines provide much more power and energy, Mr. Sayan noted, “1.9 billion smart household devices are predicted to be used by 2019. Given these figures, we can say that around 490 billon dollar income will be earned potentially. While, on the other hand, 968 thousand smart garments were delivered to the consumers in 2015, this number is expected to reach 24.75 billion by 2021. One of the concepts that best describes the significance of the technology in our daily lives is in fact the smart cities. When it comes to Smart Cities, you can obviously tell that the city itself can determine what it actually needs and take the necessary steps in order for it demands to come true and it can virtually act as if it is a living creature.”


Stating that smart street lamps and traffic monitoring sensors are in use to facilitate the lives of pedestrians and cyclists in various cities of the world, Mr. Sayan mentioned, “These applications, which require millions of dollars of investments, aim to facilitate the lives of the urban people as part of the smart city concept. More than 25 world cities are expected to transform into a “smart” city by 2025. And that gives us the signs that a market, which will cost 1.565 trillion dollars, will be created by 2020. On the other hand, On the other hand, it is a fact that the more we use technology, the more we become dependent on it. This means that we are more vulnerable to the risks brought about by these technologies. Individuals, companies, critical infrastructures and countries are under serious cyber threat. Maintaining the cyber security is not simply a requirement any longer to eliminate the hazards in areas where technology is heavily used.”

Expressing that cyber security has also become a part of the National Security, Mr. Sayan mentioned, “While, on the one hand, we should focus on how the new technologies can make our lives easier and how to make these technologies more accessible, we need to think about how to ensure the security of these new technologies and take steps accordingly, on the other hand. While ICTA carries out its regulatory duties regarding the electronic communication sector in our country, it also fulfils its duties to maintain the national cyber security, as required by the duties and responsibilities assigned to itself. Within the scope of the cyber security organization established in 2013, we continue to perform the tasks related to this field in the best way with an increasing momentum.”


Reminding that cyber security has to be improved both institutionally and personally, Mr. Sayan concluded, “Increasing the level of awareness and achieving sufficient consciousness and knowledge level enables the fight against the cyber threats to be carried out more effectively and efficiently. On the other hand, cyber security is no longer individual or institutional, but it has become an important agenda item for the countries. The countries carry out their works on cyber security in a confidential manner to a great extent. The potential damage likely to be caused mutually by all related parties in the event of a possible cyber-war is even intimidating the most advanced countries in this field, which leads to the search for more powerful means and capabilities. In this context, as ICTA, we, together with our stakeholders both in the public and private sectors, are decided and determined to improve all the opportunities and capabilities regarding the cyber security of Turkey in coordination with the international stakeholders.”


Delivering a speech at “World Smart Cities Congress 2018”, Zapatero said, “Istanbul may claim to be leader in terms of Smart Cities”. Stating that the future of humanity is directly related with the future of the cities, Zapatero added, “This is because 70 percent of the world’s population live in the cities. Therefore, it is not possible to stop this trend. We had a radical change in the last century. Not only are new technologies, applications, platforms and new cities emerging but also the cities are created all over again. I mean; if we think more original and authentic, the cities transform into more liveable places for the residents. The city for a future, for people, for pedestrians and for all. Cities where the public transport is conceptualized by sustainability. And the cities come into being, where all social services are expanded, the risks are reduced and cultural activities are organized. Of course, the culture is very important here, too. Culture is in the heart of a smart city. The idea of smart city here in Istanbul is about commitment to a task and a mission. Istanbul can be the leader in this respect. It can achieve a leading position for itself among the network of cities in the world.”

Europe Needs Turkey
Delivering a speech at “World Smart Cities Congress 2018”, Zapatero expressed that he established a special relationship of friendship with Turkey during the period he served as the Prime Minister in Spain and added, “Spain and Turkey have some common points. They are the two countries with a very deep history. They also have the connections and great civilizations. Therefore, Spain and Turkey are the two countries that are open to relationships. There’s a lot of potential in this point. It is all about the collaboration of the civilizations in peace. In particular, we produced a cooperation of joint cultural and civilizations, with the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Here, we initiated a battle against radicalism, hate and violence and intolerance.”

Here is how Mr. Zapatero answered to a question “What do you think about ?”: “If we are to choose a capital in the world, it would definitely be Istanbul. It is a city with a very deep history, Istanbul; it forms a gateway between the continents and a bridge between the cultures. If Istanbul had not been in Turkey, the world would not have been as it is now. Europe needs Turkey. A Europe without Turkey will be much, much weaker. First of all, Istanbul should be the leader of smart cities and should be the leader in the technological revolution. We wish Istanbul became  the capital of peace and then tolerance, together with the artificial intelligence. And, we need to do it all together. Turkey and Spain all together.”


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