Fira Barcelona ready for SmartCityLive, this year’s urban innovation event

Barcelona. During this year’s pandemic, conference organizers’ most significant challenges are to provide high-quality content and engagement to virtual attendees.

Being used to on-site, physical conferences and trade shows for decades, and even centuries, the sudden adjustment to online-only events has been painful for many organizations, having to scramble resources and use untested technology to host speakers, participants, and exhibitors in a new format.

Earlier this year, as speakers were confined in their homes, the first wave of online conferences did not offer a great experience. The organizers were caught with connectivity problems, low-quality audio and video, and constant technical and scheduling difficulties.

Later this summer, as corporations and event organizers could learn from previous shows, plan ahead and physically meet to prepare, online events got much better. New online conferences have better coordination, higher quality video conferencing, and improved participation. That has been the case of several tech conferences, such as the ones from VMware, Nvidia, and Arm.

To me, one of the highlights of the autumn is the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), here in my home town of Barcelona. I have attended the show every year since its first edition in 2011, and I look forward to meeting some friends and colleagues that always come to the conference.

Unfortunately, this year’s show, which would have been the tenth edition, won’t happen in Fira Barcelona conference facilities. Actually, it won’t happen this year at all. The organization is already working in preparation for SCEWC 2021.

However, Fira Barcelona has organized a two-day broadcast event together with Mediapro, a leading TV and media company, also based in Barcelona. Fira and Mediapro are producing SmartCityLive

According to the organization, SmartCityLive “will have an innovative platform that will broadcast the conferences and presentations of the new event live and with television production, which can also be accessed via a Video-on-Demand system.” adding that “the Mediapro building in the 22@ district in Barcelona, will become a television studio for the creation of live and [Video on Demand] VoD content during the two days the Smart City Live congress lasts. This content will be televised and will be recorded and broadcast using the very latest technology.”

Ugo Valenti, the director of SCEWC, highlighted that “In such complex times, Smart City Expo World Congress, takes another step as leader in smart city events. Our goal is for the new Smart City Live platform to become the basis of a knowledge hub on smart cities and a benchmark in the global distribution of content. Having the experience and technology of Mediapro is for us a guarantee to continue growing and innovating.”

Obviously, even using the latest technology and a leading media group’s expertise, nothing can substitute for on-site physical events. We will miss the crowds, the exhibits, and the award ceremonies, and especially the casual interaction with exhibitors, speakers, and attendees. 

Hopefully, next year, the Smart City Expo World Congress will be back with the energy, leadership, and innovation that made it the worldwide reference for urban innovation and collaboration.

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