The conference in Beijing, 9-10 April proved eventful, both for the 350 participants and for the organiser. Nearly one hundred politicians, Smart City professionals and representatives from private businesses in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland travelled to Beijing to exchange Smart City initiatives and experiences with Chinese authorities and private companies.
The program covered a range current Smart City topics, including cross-border collaboration within the Nordics, presented by project manager for Smart Reykjavik Kristinn Jón Ólafsson, the development of sustainable and good communities in Stavanger, Tampere, Finland and Sønderborg in Denmark, testing and implementation of new concepts in real-life living labs and a number of workshops, on themes such as urban mobility and health.
The Chinese presented state-of-the-art AI and big data projects and large-scale smart city developments in Beijing and Xiong'an. The Xiong'an project alone spans an area of 2,000 square kilometers and houses a population of between 2 and 2.5 million people.
International knowledge exchange on all fronts
The aim of Nordic Edge China was to offer an international Smart City knowledge exchange between two distinct regions with ambitious plans. For Chinese participants it was an arena for networking and access to initiatives, past and present without travelling to Scandinavia and facing possible language challenges. For Nordic visitors it posed an opportunity to experience large-scale Smart City projects first-hand and find potential business partners on the Chinese market. The conference in Beijing, 9-10 April proved eventful, both for the 350 participants and for the organiser. Nearly one hundred politicians, Smart City professionals and representatives from private businesses in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland travelled to Beijing to exchange Smart City initiatives and experiences with Chinese authorities and private companies.
Following a series of talks by public officials, Nordic companies were given the opportunity to present their activities and plans in China. Among these were Arctic Green Energy, Envac, the House of Energy House. Sweco, Tomrao and Velux. Day two ended with a visit to Huawei's impressive facility for showcasing their worldwide solutions for Smart Cities.
- The visit marked the end of two inspiring days, where we have met a number of interesting contacts, had good sessions with our Nordic collaborators and associates, and confirmed that China is really interested in the Nordic Smart City model, says Bjarne Uldal from Nordic Edge who annually receives large delegations from China at the Nordic Smart City expo and conference in Stavanger.
Nordic Edge China is a Nordic-Chinese collaboration organised by Nordic Edge in collaboration with NTNU, Business Sweden, VTT Finland, Demos Helsinki, Nordic FlexHouse, Innovation Center Denmark and World Green Design Organization from China, with support from Nordic Innovation and Innovation Norway. The municipality of Stavanger and the Nordic embassies in China have been important contributors to the conference.
In continuation of Nordic Edge China, the global network of research and innovation centres and hubs (ENRICH) invited participants to the city of WuXi to delve deeper into Smart Health. Another option was to visit the City of NingBo – a sister city of Stavanger Municipality, followed by a program in Shanghai.
Director of Nordic Edge Expo, Mona Vervik says the response from China has been positive both prior and after the event in Beijing.
- It is obviously rewarding when more than 300 people are on the waiting list for an event that has a cap on 350 participants, she said, adding that Chinese cities are lining up to host the event in 2020.
- It is too early to promise a new conference in China next year, but the large interest is definitely something to consider. First of all we have to evaluate, then focus on the upcoming event in Stavanger 24-26. September, and Nordic Edge USA in Washington on November 14th 2019, she said.
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