16 Ottobre 2023

AI in the city: Microsoft at Smart City Expo World Congress 2023

I had just started my new job as Deputy Secretary for Technology and Innovation at the State of New York. As I stood in front of the whiteboard in my office, I paused and reflected on the role technology could play in improving the lives of New Yorkers. It was a moment of epiphany for me.    

As I wrote in a recent LinkedIn post,1 I felt a mix of excitement and pressure. Recognizing that state and city governments were at a transitional phase as they redefined their identities, digital priorities, and technology investments. Today, four years later, the landscape has evolved dramatically, with generative AI emerging as a powerful new force for change by offering capabilities that weren’t imaginable before.   

This is good news for city governments, large and small. I hear it directly in conversations with city leaders, many of whom are eager to begin using generative AI to solve problems across the myriad of challenges that they face.

As I look forward to Microsoft’s upcoming participation in Smart City Expo World Congress 2023—the world’s biggest and most influential event on urban innovation which takes place from November 7 to 9, in Barcelona, Spain—we’re excited to continue enabling city governments to put people first while using generative AI as part of their toolkits.

The key for smart cities: People at the center  

The capabilities of generative AI are many. They present new possibilities for cities to deliver innovative programs and experiences, empower their workforces, and securely transform their operations and services. This will help deliver more personalized and easy-to-use programs with, for example, chatbots that can understand and reply in plain language. Our experiences with governments who are doing this demonstrate the key to getting this right is putting people first. 

To illustrate what this means, here are the core principles I advocate for putting people first as cities consider their technology strategies:  

  • Commit to inclusiveness in decision-making and resource allocation. This is essential to addressing social inequalities and building resilient communities.   
  • Prioritize sustainability in all aspects of urban development.  
  • Establish long-term plans and policies that are aligned with newfound visions and priorities.   
  • Explore smart technologies and AI-driven solutions, and experiment with use cases and investments that are built with people-focused outcomes in mind.   
  • Embrace a culture of continuous innovation to drive incremental improvement to urban spaces and services.  

Smaller cities as AI leaders  

It is encouraging to see that many of our city government customers are successfully adapting these principles as they embrace cloud and generative AI capabilities. Because these new technologies are readily available to all governments, regardless of size, we’re seeing some remarkable early implementations in smaller cities.  For example:

  • In Năvodari, Romania, town authorities made it easier for citizens to seamlessly submit requests, track cases, and review regulations from their phones or computers, using a Microsoft Azure-based digital platform to bring public services online.
  • In Taiwan, Taoyuan City is delivering improved services and better quality of life through a hybrid-cloud solution that pulls together more than 200 IT projects and a patchwork of disparate data sources.
  • The state of Qatar has integrated smart city capabilities with government-shared services on a platform of national services built on Microsoft Azure.
  • In Canada, the City of Kelowna is using generative AI to help people access services and better understand regulations around building permits, streamlining processes, and improving transparency, ethics, and security.  

Engage with Microsoft at Smart City Expo 2023  

Microsoft is a global partner in the upcoming Smart City Expo World Congress 2023 event. And, for the government leaders attending the event from around the world, we look forward to presenting our latest innovations, learning from you, and highlighting the work of our partner ecosystem.   

I’ll be there, along with several other Microsoft leaders in government technology. Plus, we’ll be joined by our global partner ecosystem including Wipro, Esri, Accenture, and Cyclomedia.

Here are some great opportunities for in-person engagement:  

  • Visit us at the Microsoft booth (Hall 1, C60), where experts from Microsoft and our partners will discuss a range of technology topics and showcase our innovations.  
  • Hear from Microsoft experts in the following conference sessions: 
    • Innovative Digital Services Empowering Cities—A solutions talk that I will moderate featuring cities and academic organizations (November 7, 2023, from 2:00 to 2:45 PM).
    • A New Era of Tech-Empowered Cities—A plenary roundtable where Diana Parker, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector Government Industry Leader, will participate in driving thought leadership with other select leaders (November 8, 2023, from 2:00 to 2:45 PM).
    • Enabling Technologies: Generative AI—A presentation with David “Robbo” Robinson, World Wide Public Sector Director Industry Digital Strategy (November 8, 2023, from 2:50 PM to 3:20 PM).
    • Transforming Cities through AI—A thematic roundtable with Greg Wilson, World Wide Public Sector Government Chief Technology Officer (November 8, 2023, from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM).  
    • Youth Reinventing Cities—A panel discussion that I will participate in and features leaders from C40 Cities (November 8, 2023, 4:45 to 5:45 PM). 

Learn more  

We look forward to sharing more about how our Microsoft solutions can help cities deliver resilient and secure technology in an increasingly connected world. 

For further resources, and to learn more about our offerings:

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1 Jeremy M. Goldberg, Our Cities are in a Liminal Space, LinkedIn, September 2023.

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Source: Microsoft Industry Blog