Dublin City Council looks to Japan to help with smart city project

Partnership with Japanese firm Softbank will form blueprint for smart cities in Europe

SoftBank’s vice president of global business strategy Hidebumi Kitahara and Owen Keegan, chief executive, Dublin City Council. “SoftBank has a great vision for the city of the future,” said Mr Keegan

SoftBank’s vice president of global business strategy Hidebumi Kitahara and Owen Keegan, chief executive, Dublin City Council. “SoftBank has a great vision for the city of the future,” said Mr Keegan

 

Dublin City Council has teamed up with Japanese company SoftBank to help advance Dublin’s smart city project.

The project will also serve as a blueprint for smart cities implementation throughout Europe. The addition of SoftBank to the smart city testbed was announced at an event in Dublin’s City Hall.

The development of an innovative Internet of Things (IoT) platform is a key strategy for SoftBank. The company already provides smart solutions for local authorities in Japan, but Dublin is the first time it has moved outside the Japanese market.

SoftBank’s vice president of global business strategy Hidebumi Kitahara said it was the company that had approached Dublin City Council to team up on the project.

“It had to be Dublin,” he said.

More productive

Mr Kitahara said the goal of the project was to make the lives of citizens and companies easier and more productive. He was in Dublin this week to discuss the details of the project and where it will focus its expertise. Among the project’s priorities are solving challenges around environment and disaster prevention, with flood defences and warnings among the areas Mr Kitahara said Softbank is particularly interested in. Safety and security is another, with the added challenge of respecting the privacy of citizens.

Mr Kitahara said an open approach to the development of smart cities was one of the key reasons for choosing the city, with a combination of the smart city testbed and also a cluster of technology firms in the city.

The Softbank partnership is the latest in a series of announcements this year around Dublin’s smart city testbed. The project was announced in February, with the designation of the Docklands as the testbed.

“Our Smart City Programme has gone from strength to strength with many of the world’s leading companies now collaborating with Dublin to deliver technologies that can transform city life,” said Owen Keegan, chief executive, Dublin City Council. “SoftBank has a great vision for the city of the future and we are proud to be the first city outside Japan to work with them to deliver solutions for our citizens and those across the globe.”