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Barcelona's Not Open to Pilot Tech Projects

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piratejulie
piratejulie  
12/3/2013 4:51:59 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: City Protocol
Thank you Nicole for refreshing my memory by way of Boyd Cohen's very clarifying piece.  I noticed I commented on it last year! I had forgotten.

Ironically, after having a look at the City Protocol website, Boyd's dissatisfaction last year echoed mine this year.

But as Boyd summarized, it boils down to this :

"In essence, the goal of the City Protocol is to leverage the power of collaboration amongst cities, researchers, and corporations to co-create solutions to common challenges and opportunities."

Collaboration, I've noticed is one of our 21st Century refrains.  One of our wishes, hopes, desires.  Far more difficult is its implementation, its execution.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/3/2013 1:09:27 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Consistent
Pablo, exactly. I wonder what Vives' take would be on pilot projects like those versus tech pilots.

Pablo Valerio
Pablo Valerio  
12/3/2013 5:00:34 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Consistent
"Sometimes we need to see how citizens are going to interact with something new before committing to it. But pilots must still respond to a need. Pilot projects just for the sake of pilot projects aren't useful."

I agree. As in NY, many people complained in Barcelona about more bike lanes and the bike-sharing program. Now almost everyone is happy with less traffic and more bicicles on the road. Some people that come into town are still complaining for lack of parking, but they don't live in Barcelona.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/2/2013 4:07:16 PM
User Rank Staff
Consistent
I had the pleasure of meeting with Vives last year, and he shared similar thoughts with me in that he said he doesn't want vendors just coming in with "smart city" technologies. Rather, anything Barcelona rolls out needs to be specific to the needs of that city. I think that's wise.

I do think that, in general, pilot projects are a good idea -- whether we're talking about bike lanes or road sensors or whatever. Sometimes we need to see how citizens are going to interact with something new before committing to it. But pilots must still respond to a need. Pilot projects just for the sake of pilot projects aren't useful. 

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/2/2013 3:59:51 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: City Protocol
Hey piratejulie. Just to refresh your memory on the City Protocol Society, here's a blog that Boyd Cohen wrote for us last year: 3 Problems With 'City Protocol Society'

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
12/2/2013 12:38:58 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Risk
Good point about the cheaper alternatives carrying the day, Pablo. To get a foot in the door, many startups will offer a pilot project gratis or for a heavy discount. The visibility helps get them on the map, but the city could pay a heavy price in choosing them. Even if the pilot succeeds, the startup could fail, leaving the city with a great application or device that it can't support.

Pablo Valerio
Pablo Valerio  
12/1/2013 11:10:38 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Risk

@Mary, one of the key discussions during the Smart Cities Congress was the actual risk of successful pilots.

While some cities in Europe welcome some trials of new technology there is no guarantee that the city will buy the technology, especially today when most cities are facing serious budget constraints. Also most cities have complicated bidding systems for new services, and many times a proven technology, or vendor, loses the bid to a cheaper alternative.

The best way, as Antoni Vives pointed out, is to work on long term projects with each city and help devise comprehensive solutions together.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/30/2013 7:38:40 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Risk
I can totally see the point of Barcelona not wanting more pilot projects. The problem is, of course, that pilots aren't guaranteed long term. Even if they are successful, the vendors providing them might not be.

I'm reminded of the situation many cities in North America are facing, wherein their key system supplier seems to be unreliable.

It's tough to build a future on promises, and even tougher to have to abandon an attractive plan for lack of follow-through and support.

bulk
bulk  
11/29/2013 9:46:18 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Risk
Yes, having the plan is the easy part. Sticking to it is the hard part.

PeterJ
PeterJ  
11/29/2013 5:02:58 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Risk
Yes, bulk, and also for the entity, especially one that can change politically, to have the will to adhere to that plan over time.

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