Tech leaders discuss new ‘smart districts’ for Dublin

Meeting of international CTOs puts forward Dublin’s Docklands as model for innovation

A group of chief technology officers from international cities have met in Dublin to hammer out a framework for the development of so-called smart districts.

The meeting of the Smart City Innovation Accelerator, which included CTOs from San Jose, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Paris and 19 other cities, was convened by the Harvard-linked Technology and Entrepreneurship Centre. Members of the City Digital Profile group from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and members of the City Protocol Society, a city-to-city global collaboration network, were also involved in the discussions.

The executives published the declaration of “Dublin principles” that will underpin the development of smart districts, using Dublin’s Docklands as a model for innovation. The principles will help cities to measure the progress of smart districts as they emerge.

Among the principles are a focus on an agile approach to project delivery, the embracing of privacy by design as a default and an emphasis on cyber security risk management, and the adoption of a common data platform and governance approach to allow the integration of public and private data.


The draft principles also stipulate that the city makes available access to assets and infrastructure allowing for pilots and demonstrators to test new solutions that can be scaled citywide.

Internet of Things

The discussions also looked at the challenges of creating and growing the smart districts to benefit citizens and businesses, the connectivity of future districts, the deployment of Internet of Things sensors, and how technology can help deliver better outcomes for citizens.

The area is home to one of the world’s most connected buildings, Accenture’s The Dock, a testbed for low-cost flood-monitoring Internet of Things sensors and a pilot of connected and smart bike lights from See.Sense, among other innovations.

“Smart Docklands showcases what can happen when a city district develops the level of connectivity and sensor density to make a significant jump in the quality of life for people living and working in the area,” said Dr David S Ricketts, the creator and chairman of the accelerator.

Around 44,000 people work in Dublin’s Docklands, with 26,000 people making their home there. The area has a high concentration of new builds, a range of connectivity and smart assets, and is home to a number of global technology companies.

"Dublin City Council is in a unique position to act as an 'honest broker' and bring together stakeholders who want to trial innovative new solutions to challenges faced by our cities in collaboration with technology companies on the ground," said Owen Keegan, Dublin city manager.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist