Dinis Guarda interviews Andrea Winders, Executive Director UK of Smart Cities Council, the longest-running global smart cities ecosystem founded in 2012, in the latest episode of the Dinis Guarda YouTube Podcast series to highlight the various aspects of creating a smarter life for all. The podcast is powered by openbusinesscouncil, citiesabc, and fashionabc.
Technology has made life easier in many ways, and it can help us live “smarter”. Smart technology is changing the way we live and work. It is a tool that empowers humankind to explore the avenues that could once be imagined only.
In the latest episode of the Dinis Guarda YouTube podcast, Andrea Winders, a creative Manchester-based entrepreneur, and expert in tech, infrastructure, and smart cities, took the audiences on the journey of real-life use cases where technological applications have impacted human life and experiences in the most distinguishes ways.
At the beginning of the interview, Dinis highlighted Andrea’s journey in her career which began with sales through technology entrepreneur to becoming a Smart Cities expert.
Narrating her journey, Andrea said that the common thread all her life was her creative side where she looked for problems and their solutions.
"My multifaceted approach in life is what helps me look for everything smarter in life: health, wellness, living, housing, transport, air quality, and even future careers", she said.
She entitled her previous entrepreneurial success, Pink Ladies, a no-cash crudely digital taxi service to ensure safety of women, to be the starting point of her "smarter journey". Dinis and Andrea discussed the many milestones that Pink Ladies managed to achieve using technology as a tool.
Supplementing her arguments with anecdotes and use cases, Andrea built an inspiring narrative around how technology can be utilised to help people.
“We (at Pink Ladies) wanted this service to be fantastic, supplied with technology, absolutely safe, and also give opportunities to women who haven't been in the workforce for a long time. We had ladies of all shapes and sizes and nationalities. It was giving women confidence and getting them out. In a town of 90,000 women, we had 10,000 members by the end of the first month”, she highlighted to Dinis.
She also explained to the host the innovative solutions she found during all these years, enriching her with experiences to be able to lead the “Smarter Living” initiatives.
“That was the beginning of my smart cities and smarter journey. That was also probably the most interesting part of my past”, she said.
Technology as an empowering tool
Dinis asked Andrea to explain the measures that we need to introduce in order to expand the reach of technology across a wider digital divide that exists in our society today.
"In order to normalise digitisation and not make it scary, we need to bring it down to education. It's about the technology used in the right way. Breaking it down for whoever we are working with so that they comprehend how technology is really empowering", Andrea said.
Highlighting the need to work in collaboration, she further emphasised the role of media and society as a whole in making a transition a reality.
Strategising a smarter living
Dinis asked Andrea to highlight some of the exemplary real-time work by Smart Cities Council. Andrea told him that the Council, through its network of various communities, has been able to deliver some successful initiatives for cybersecurity, energy efficiency, and digital governance.
They also discussed the need to simplify the complex concepts in the path of digitalisation and technological advancements, and the essence of storytelling to enable this. Andrea told Dinis that with storytelling, "we're looking at how the businesses can actually understand where they are in terms of being smart, learn what it needs to do to fill those gaps, do it, and then check their progress."
Concluding the interview, Dinis asked Andrea to explain the concept of Smart Cities with respect to her work. Citing various examples, she said:
"There's no definitive answer to what a Smart City is. There are projections about what people think of it. We can take these narratives and make it our realm and project what we want to project."
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