How cities can leverage digitalisation to relieve stress on resources

Digital city

“Cities are under pressure. Urban centres all over the world are struggling to cope with booming populations that place an increasing demand on resources such as energy, clean water, and clean air,” writes Jan Schoenig.

As Director for Urban Development & Smart Cities in the Siemens Global Center of Competence Cities, it is Jan Schoenig’s job to manage strategy, partner relations and business development in the area of solutions for smart cities’ infrastructure.

Jan will be speaking on “Cities leading the global economy” at the Digital Cities Challenge High Level Conference on 5 June in Brussels, but before then he gives his insights on how cities can leverage the benefits of digitalisation to relieve stress on overstretched services and resources.

No need to crash the prototype

“What does digitalisation mean in practice? It allows planners, for instance, to create a digital twin of the physical work environment and to connect the two for the purposes of improving design, engineering, and automation of processes, but also for end-to-end reporting and analytics. Simulation and predictive maintenance are becoming increasingly easy to conduct and embed in daily operations. 

“To visualise the benefits, think of the car industry, for example: Previously, developers would manufacture a new prototype, crash it, and then analyse what had worked out and what had gone wrong; then the next prototype would be built and crashed into the wall – repeat ad infinitum. It is easy to imagine how much faster and more efficient this process has become thanks to simulation software.”

Helsinki creates a digital twin city

“Applied to cities, digitalisation can not only improve efficiency by minimising the waste of time and resources, but it will simultaneously improve a city’s productivity, secure growth, and drive economic activities. The Finnish capital of Helsinki is currently in the process of proving this. 

“An early adopter of smart city technology and modelling, it launched the Helsinki 3D+ project to create a three-dimensional representation of the city using reality capture technology provided by the software company Bentley Systems for geocoordination, evaluation of options, modelling, and visualisation. 

“The project’s aim is to improve the city’s internal services and processes and provide data for further smart city development. Upon completion, Helsinki’s 3-D city model will be shared as open data to encourage commercial and academic research and development. Thanks to the available data and analytics, the city will be able to drive its green agenda in a way that is much more focused on sustainable consumption of natural resources and a healthy environment.”

Read the full article at To see Jan Schoenig speak at the DCC High Level Conference: A strategy for EU cities in the 21st Century on 5 June 2019 in Brussels, register at