Do you live in a city?
It wouldn't surprise me if the answer is yes – after all, two thirds of Europeans do.
So here's my question for you – is your city "smart"? Does it operate smoothly and sustainably? Do you have the information you need at your fingertips? Are you engaged and involved in with the decisions that matter to you?
I'm guessing most of you won't answer "yes" to all of those questions. But chances are, even if your city isn't completely "dumb", there are lots of ways it could get smarter. And there are lots of ways technology can help.
From apps that help you find parking spots and avoid traffic jams — to the control systems that help zero-energy buildings. Using digital tech in smarter cities means better quality of life for you, more growth in our innovative economy, and a greener, more sustainable society. (And don't forget that cities account for three quarters of carbon emissions).
But there are better and worse ways for cities to "go smart". Ideally, these new ideas should be open, competitive, and innovative. And cities will deliver more for less if they work together, share experiences and learn from each other, across Europe.
That is what our European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities is all about. Cities, startups, suppliers, and more, working together to ensure tomorrow's technology delivers for citizens, making their urban lives safer, greener and more pleasant.
So today, I am calling on cities and utility providers to commit to use open and consistent data, and commit to joint procurement. I am calling on those supplying these innovations to commit to open solutions – so that technologies "interoperate" with each other, and purchasers don't get "locked in" to one supplier. And I am calling on all those involved - cities, innovative startups, industrial players, civil society, academia and others – to work together and commit together.
I hope many different players from all across Europe will be able to do that, to make commitments and tell us about them.
Our deadline to send in those commitments is 15 June. You can submit them easily and quickly on our website. After that deadline, we will not just be publishing the results – but give new platforms and tools so that those who submit can get together, exchange and work together.
If you are a smart city, dream of being a smart city, or think you can supply a smart city with the innovations it needs – then this is your chance. To promote what you're doing on a European scale; engage with and learn from others' experience; and partner with others to deliver more and save more.
Still not convinced? Check out this video testimony from Sebastian Marx from the City of Gothenburg, Sweden; from Franz Schaidhammer, Mayor of Wiesloch, Germany (speaking in German); or from Lutz Heuser of the Urban Institute about what this Partnership means for them.