Inspiring lecture

The future of smart cities

A smart city can be compared to a human body – an intelligent organism, with technology being its nervous system, gathering sensory input and reacting to our needs. The smart city of the future will dynamically adjust its infrastructure and provide exactly what its citizens need. The IoT would be its eyes, ears and nose, with technology representing its nerve fibres. The nourishment the smart city needs to function consists of real-time data, collected from people and devices and analysed to monitor and manage mobility, water supply networks, power plants, and waste disposal. In the smart city of the future we’ll see sensors everywhere, enabling responsive infrastructure, buildings and traffic systems that can react to changing circumstances in real time.


Below you will find an overview of the topics within this keynote lecture.

Smart environment

Some of the main drivers behind the emergence of smart and sustainable cities are the need to reduce our carbon footprint, improve waste management, increase energy efficiency, and streamline traffic conditions. Fewer emissions can, for instance, be achieved by building automation systems and real-time public transit information, while mobility and energy saving applications can in turn improve air quality.

Smart infrastructure

In a smart city with smart infrastructure, you’ll find sensor technology embedded in almost every imaginable piece of equipment. This sensor tech is connected to the IoT, enabling real-time data gathering and analysis. The information is translated into meaningful, actionable information, enabling better informed decisions about the structural health and maintenance of infrastructure, improved operational efficiency, and less downtime.

Smart mobility

Smart mobility is the circulatory system of the smart city. It automatically accommodates the transportation requirements of its citizens and visitors and leads to improved experiences and better quality of life. Smart mobility consists of smart infrastructure, adaptive public transit, self-service bikes, car-pooling networks, and connected autonomous vehicles that communicate with parking meters and charging docks.

Smart buildings

Smart buildings contain sophisticated building automation systems and advanced controls for high-tech equipment, providing improved user experiences and healthy indoor environments. They are fitted with sensor tech to gather data about how the building is operating and used, and provide occupants with apps to adjust indoor lighting and heating/cooling, book meeting rooms, or order lunch at the office canteen.

Smart energy management

The electricity networks of future smart cities will consist mainly of renewable energy. The IoT and ICT enable intelligent balancing of energy consumption and production, also known as the smart grid. A smart grid combines multiple technologies, such as smart meters and sensors, into one effective system that monitors and collects data about energy consumption, improving the grid’s functionality.

Smart governance

Smart governance – in which digital technology like smart algorithms, the IoT, blockchain, and big data analytics are implemented – enables cities around the globe to become increasingly citizen-centric, progressive, effective, and transparent. It gives government officials access to real-time data, enables the sharing of information, and the implementation of policies that are effective for society as a whole.

Smart economy

A smart economy is characterised by a digitalised financial infrastructure and decentralised data. Technological advances are set to revolutionise entire economies in the next few years, as the IoT, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, 5G, and widespread automation usher in a transformation in industrial and commercial processes, leading to the creation of more diversified, increasingly efficient, and innovative economies.

Digital citizenship

Digital citizenship is a crucial component of a real digital transformation and enables citizens to exercise their democratic rights. Technologies like the IoT, AI, biometrics, big data, virtual & augmented reality applications, and citizen-centred platforms enable the creation of ‘one-stop-shops’ for information and service delivery. This, in turn, leads to better community engagement and more resilient, more productive, and healthier communities.

Future city concepts

With sea levels expected to rise and large parts of the world likely to be submerged by the end of the century, finding alternative habitats is becoming an increasingly important task. We could build high-tech vertical, living structures, hurricane-proof floating homes, or build entire cities underground – eliminating the need for heating/cooling systems, and shielding us from the elements.


In many ways, people are no longer separate from technology. It is, therefore, important to keep an eye on the moral side of technological developments, consider the implications for the world of tomorrow, and ensure we take important ethical considerations into account. We need to determine our boundaries and voice our opinions about how people and machines should work together.

New skills & roles

Smart cities need people who can help drive the smart city transformation. And building the infrastructure needed for these smart cities requires new job roles with new skill sets. Sought-after competencies include data science, cyber-security, and AI-related skills. But diplomatic and entrepreneurial skills, as well as expertise in areas like privacy & data protection are also becoming increasingly important.

The future of leadership

The organisation of the future requires a new type of leader. The manager of the future questions the status quo and is willing to leave the old 20th-century management style behind. The leader of the future inspires talent, provides space and opportunity, and offers an environment where the old and new organisation can achieve optimal performance.

The company of the future

The organisation of the future is hyper connected. It closely monitors new developments and collaborates with start-ups, scientists, and universities. It uses smart algorithms to analyse the world and employs a flexible workforce capable of rapidly developing new education concepts. The organisation of the future requires accessible, inspiring leaders who are not afraid to veer off the beaten track.
All the topics mentioned can be presented in a comprehensive, compact way or, if required, omitted. Topics from other lectures or your own suggestions can also be added. We will gladly discuss this with you.

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This futurist has chips in his body

“You can’t really talk about the future without also being part of it”, says Richard van Hooijdonk. So he put his money where his mouth is. To date, he’s had several RFID chips injected into his body that perform various tasks for him. Van Hooijdonk is planning to have a number of additional chips implanted in 2020 and 2021.
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