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Virtual Roundtable: How cities are refocusing efforts on digital following the pandemic

Virtual Roundtable: How cities are refocusing efforts on digital following the pandemic

Cities across the world have been severely hit by Covid-19 pandemic. Their citizens have had to change their behaviour significantly and adopt new ways of working, consuming, entertaining and learning. The pandemic has also severely affected the economic life of a city, from retail to commercial businesses. These changes have had a massive impact on city budgets.


The need to accelerate the digital transformation of many services is becoming more obvious than ever to improve cities’ ability to restore the situation. Cities, alongside other providers like transport, need to re-think their digitisation city approach to maximise socio-economic outcomes. The time when cities were testing many technologies across many domains is gone.


In this virtual roundtable we’ll explore where and how different city departments/providers can focus scarcer resources to maximise the outcomes of the digital transformation for the city and its citizens. It will ask what new strategies and models should be considered to meet their ambitions.


We’ll set the scene with a guest speaker from the City of Espoo (Finland) who will share their insights. The roundtable will then focus on the obstacles that city departments face, but also on how those challenges can be overcome. We’ll have a mix of experience on the roundtable from large, complex city halls to more simplified city authorities


Register Here 25 May 2021 - 9am (EST), 2pm (GMT), 3pm (CET), 3pm (SAST), 5pm (AST)


Registration is free, however delegates will need to work for city government or local partner. Applications will be approved by the event curator so that we can allow for a unique mix for this intimate roundtable format. The aim is to share insights from your work and make new contacts to speed your city’s transformation.

Roundtable takeaways and discussion points:

  • How severely has the last 12months affected cities' digital transformation strategies within different departments?
  • What changes to our ways of life will be permanent and how does it affect a city's digital development?
  • Do any new budgetary constraints mean more focussed digital services in different city departments?
  • How can it balance meeting the 'new normal' requirements of its citizens with building resilience into a city's future in other forms?
  • What are the best strategies to pursue to digitisation of services?

Register Here

Agenda for the Roundtable:

1: Welcome, Introductions

2: Refocusing a cities digital development (Guest speaker from City of Espoo and its partner Nokia)

3: Open discussion: How to address cities' pain points on restricted budgets in the new normal

4: Summary

5: Options to meet in 1-2-1 virtual meeting rooms


Delegates to be updated shortly.

Introduction and Keynote

Roundtable Discussions

Graeme Neill, editor at SmartCitiesWorld, will set the scene for the roundtable and introduce our guest speakers who will talk through their own experiences in how they have are coming to terms with the new normal and its struggles to apportion budgets to digitisation.


We will then move onto other topics including the key obstacles now facing cities, which technologies can help them overcome these and what cities need to prioritise.


Delegates will have a chance to give their own views and to ask questions throughout this session - making it as interactive as possible!

Guest - City of Espoo

Guest - City of Espoo

Name: Niko Ferm

Title: City Development Manager

Company: City of Espoo







Niko Ferm (M.Sc. Tech) is a development manager in the strategy unit of the City of Espoo. He is mainly involved in city-wide strategy update, which we call Espoo Story.


Niko is also working with Smart City development, piloting in the Kera area, which will be an international example of a digital urban platform for a circular economy. For tackling this challenge, Espoo is participating in the LuxTurrim5G ecosystem to pilot a digital backbone for cities.


For him, the main driver for Smart City development is a more sustainable world.


Guest - Suparno Banerjee

Guest - Suparno Banerjee

Name: Suparno Banerjee

Title: Vice President of Government and Cities

Company: Nokia







Suparno Banerjee is Vice President of Government and cities market segment for Nokia. In this role he leads a global team that shapes Nokia’s Smart City and Public Sector strategy as well as business development efforts to help city administrations and other public sector organizations address their strategic priorities through digital transformation. The team also develops initiatives that extend Nokia’s value proposition to emerging areas, create new partnership models and for Nokia, expand its markets and drive long-term revenue growth.


Suparno is a recognized thought leader in Smart Cities and Digital Government Transformation.



Name: Graeme Neill

Title: Editor

Company: SmartCitiesWorld








Graeme Neill has been a journalist for almost 20 years, with more than a decade working in the technology and telecoms space. A Belfast native, he started his career at the Northern Irish daily The Irish News before moving to London to cover the debt capital markets and book publishing industries during the financial crisis. He has covered the telecoms industry for the past decade, initially focusing on the UK retail industry before shifting to cover the telecoms tech industry for Mobile Europe.