Dr William Wu is the founder of One4City and Innovation Insight Lead at Cisco Innovation EMEAR.
Dr William Wu is an innovative thinker and technology evangelist with 10+ year experience of leading, executing and managing innovation programs, engaging with public, private and academic stakeholders to accelerate new business opportunities.
Founder of One4City and the Innovation Insight Lead at Cisco Innovation EMEAR. William Wu has an in-depth knowledge of smart city planning, autonomous vehicle test beds & HMI, precision farming, integrated health and social care, and urban resilience. Connected to wide networks across UK local governments, incumbents, SMEs and universities.
One4Cityis a comprehensive and evolving digital portal for a one-stop shop for UK Smart City solutions, demonstrating realistic, significant potential especially for capitalising on the expanding Chinese market.
His vision can be found in a recent interview conducted by Dinis Guarda. In that interview, he said the following about ecological cities & challenges, One4City Project, China, Privacy and surveillance and COVID-19:
Ecological cities & challenges “The traditional way to do city planning is to follow the rules: the land is defined by master plans. This piece of land is for industry, etc. What is different about ecological planning is taking a different approach and taking a holistic look at how things are planned to be focused on sustainability and social impact. Everything matters in this approach: from the layouts of the streets, buildings, common areas, etc. The foundational point is sustainability, everything is built around sustainability and sustainable development. · To do so, we need to create new KPIs and approaches that take these sustainable goals as the centre. It is about processes and flows that are scalable and realistic. Building a green city doesn’t follow a linear plan but everything within the development of the city has to be taken into consideration. It created a bit of confusion in the beginning as it made the city planning more complex but innovation and research are helping with the follow-up once the plans have been laid.
There has been a shift from eco-cities to smart cities. 5 years ago eco-cities were the big buzz, now it is all about smart cities. Using sustainability as the main point, makes city planning and follow-up development very difficult, almost impossible so that is why they have been shifting to smart cities. Smart cities also take sustainability and ecology as one of the foundations, but not the only ones. They are still needed but smart cities are much broader than only creating sustainable cities. One reason is that by focusing on technology, sustainability is easier achieved.
As of now, there are ISO standards right now for smart cities. That standard is relatively new and there are many countries involved in creating that standard, including China, Canada and the UK. One of the main problems they face is extracting relevant data for what smart cities really mean. That is why we need benchmarks, and projects such as citiesabc to get that valuable data to create standards that can be applied everywhere in the world.
Challenges; “Every city is different so their needs are also different. I found that smart cities are being built using different approaches across the world. In China, for example, the government is really ambitious. They don’t only want to build smart cities but also build smart schools, hospitals, and almost every important part of the city. It is more ambitious than in other countries. It is a holistic approach to building solutions. Other challenges: scalability. It is not only about building a system that works now but it can be upgraded and escalated in the future.
Some of the pillars of smart cities are:
(1) AI & big data analytics for potato disease monitoring and prevention
(2) Digitisation of cultural heritage & museum collections
(3) Integrated health & social care digital collaboration and service design
(4) 5G rural area investment and impact evaluation of precision farming and Agritech
(5) Footfall analytics and automated surveillance in indoor venues.”
One4City Project;“We want to overcome these challenges, so we have created a vertical model that integrates all the solutions that have been deployed in different parts of the world through data, research, technologies deployed, etc. We have taken those solutions and categorized them so they can be easily understood and provide valuable insights. What we ultimately want is to help and foster smart city business models in different places. In my opinion, what we want to provide is the benefits of doing so by giving evidence, and facts.”
China; “The speed of development in the Chinese market is faster than anywhere in the world. The Chinese government is investing heavily in business solutions, technology adoptions, companies, etc. Anywhere else, fragmentation is one of the main differences between China and the rest of the world. Out of China, for example in the UK, most investment comes from the private sector so it is really hard to get investment for smart city solutions in rural areas because the return on investment always looks really low.
Privacy and surveillance; “Footfall analytics and automated surveillance in indoor venues. Surveillance is actually important for cities as it improves security throughout the cities and collects data to create patterns and data that can be used to protect people in different ways. Digital privacy, differences between China and the world. Digital privacy is a huge issue. Europe’s GDP was a huge step forward towards that. There are red lines where technology can’t go and I believe that also technology can help also with that.
In China, the approach to digital privacy is different given our history and traditional background. Today, technology is involved greatly in people’s lives. For example, there are restaurants that only take orders through apps. So people give away their privacy for convenience and the value that provides digital transformation.
Overall, people in China aren’t that concerned about digital privacy and one of the reasons is a lack of literacy. China is still a developing country and smartphone widespread adoption only took place some years ago.”
Recognition and Awards