Dublin Month #1 - Smart Dublin: "It's all about people and relationships"

Episode 13 September 05, 2022 00:31:29
Dublin Month #1 - Smart Dublin: "It's all about people and relationships"
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
Dublin Month #1 - Smart Dublin: "It's all about people and relationships"
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Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

With this episode, we are kicking off a special podcast series in collaboration with Smart Dublinfeaturing and digging into some of the most unique aspects of the Dublin ecosystem and what makes Smart Dublin really a strong example at the forefront of Smart Cities in Europe and beyond.

For this first Dublin Month episode, we sat down with Alan Murphy, Smart Dublin's Regional Manager, and discussed Smart Dublin's goals and mission, as well as the Smart City ecosystem in Dublin, Ireland.

 

Overview of the episode:

01:56 - Teaser: If Dublin were an animal, what would it be?

02:53 - What is Smart Dublin?

05:00 - What is a Smart region?

07:20 - The challenge of coordinating a wide range of stakeholders

11:51 - What makes the Dublin ecosystem unique?

14:55 - Pieces of advice for people working with the Quadruple Helix Model

16:01 - Alan Murphy's favourite Smart Dublin project: the Dublin Rough Sleeper Alerts App

20:00 - What does Dublin being part of the 100 cities for the EU Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities mean for Smart Dublin?

25:15 - Trial and Error: What went wrong? What mistakes were made along the way, and more importantly, what lessons were learned?

28:39 - Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?

 

Liked our show? Remember to rate it! Want to join us for an episode? Contact our host Tamlyn Shimizu.

And for more insights, join our Smart City Community!

 

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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 We gotta get better and smarter at truly collaborating with the other cities north and south. I think as well as, as, uh, as the, the smaller communities Speaker 1 00:00:17 Welcome to Smart in the City - The BABLE Podcast, I am your host Tamlyn Shimizu, and really at BABLE, we aim to connect the players in the smart city industry with high quality information and ideas through our platform and services. This podcast is really an extension of this goal and mission to drive the change for a better urban life. Before we get started, I wanted to inform all you lovely listeners about a great opportunity. BABLE has extended the deadline for the innovation market watch for 2023. So top smart city companies are invited to apply before the 30th of September, and it's completely free. So just follow the link in the show notes. So today we are kicking off a very special series and a series that I'm personally yeah, quite excited for. Um, and it is a series in collaboration with smart Dublin, uh, featuring and digging into some of the most unique aspects of the Dublin ecosystem and what makes smart Dublin really a strong example at the forefront of smart cities in Europe and beyond. So with me today, I have an extra special guest Alan Murphy, who is the smart Dublin regional manager. Welcome Alan. Speaker 0 00:01:40 Hey, good morning. Hi Tamlyn. Speaker 1 00:01:43 Hi. Nice to have you here. Um, yeah, it's really a pleasure to do this, uh, collaboration with you and I'm excited to dig in a bit deeper into yeah. What makes smart Dublin click. So, um, yeah, so I'll start us off with just a little teaser to get us warmed up until, and then we'll dig in a bit deeper. Um, and the teaser is if Dublin were an animal, what would it be? Speaker 0 00:02:10 Oh, gosh. <laugh> Speaker 1 00:02:12 <laugh> Speaker 0 00:02:14 If Dublin was an animal, what would it be? Um, well, it can be a tiger because once upon a time we had the Celtic tiger in Ireland and, and it, I don't know if it went, I dunno if I went too good. Um, gosh, uh, I'm gonna go with a dog cause a dog's got personality. So, um, yeah, let's say dog will be a nice, nice cuddly dog that would be loyal and, uh, great to hang around with. Yeah, let's go with that. Speaker 1 00:02:41 Yeah, that's nice. Um, as a personal dog owner and dog lover myself, I like that answer. So <laugh>, uh, thanks for appeasing our little, uh, uh, teasers and now we will really dig in a bit deeper. Um, so to give also our listeners a bit more context about what smart Dublin is, you know, some information, and then I'll ask you a bit more to, um, tell us from your words. So smart Dublin was founded in 2016 as an initiative of the four Dublin local authorities that bring together industry academia and citizens to transform public services and enhance the quality of life for citizens. Their goal is to help Futureproof the Dublin region by trialing and scaling innovative technology based solutions to a wide range of local challenges across the four DLA the Dublin local authorities, um, emerging technologies are being explored within our, their portfolio of smart projects. Um, Alan, do you have something to briefly add here? Um, what do you think is smart Dublin at its core? Speaker 0 00:03:49 Gosh, I mean, you you've, you've, <laugh>, you've stole my thunder. You, you you've summarized our, our world, uh, perfectly, thank you for that. I, I must, uh, get a, get a recording of this, um, to, to reuse elsewhere. Uh, yeah, so I mean, at its, at its core and the sweet spot of smart Dublin, and you touched on, it used the word collaboration, it's a collaboration network across the four Dublin local authorities, but working with many other, uh, local stakeholders. So, so at its core, it's about relationships and ecosystem bringing together different actors to solve complex urban challenges. That's what we do. We're kind of the, um, kind of the innovation broker that, that brings relevant people together to tackle problems, uh, we hope for, for the better of society. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:04:46 Yeah. And it's actually one of my favorite topics to really dig into is, you know, like PPP these public private partnerships, how do we, you know, collaborate more to get more done for the citizens? So I think, uh, smart Dublin has really encapsulated that, those thoughts. So, um, so to you also, what do you think is a, so we usually ask our guests by the way, what's a smart city, but I was wondering what your thoughts were on, what is a smart region really? So you, you really, uh, work for the region. How does those challenges and differences, um, work? Speaker 0 00:05:22 Yeah. Okay. So, uh, a region versus a community versus a city, you know, and trying to make all of those things smart, I suppose, when it comes to the greater Dublin area are the Dublin region. We've got a mix of proper urban activity at, at the city center, so it's capital city. Um, but then, you know, with, with the, uh, the urban development that we have in Ireland and specifically in Dublin, we have a lot of suburbia sort of urban sprawl sort of feeding away from the city center. And then beyond that, we're, we're actually into quite rural country, rural territory quite quickly, uh, with, with small villages and small communities. So there's different and characteristics of neighborhoods at play that make up the, the Dublin region. So, um, we're very mindful that some of our solutions and projects are quite specific to the city center activity and others need to be mindful of more regional even slash rural, uh, communities. Speaker 0 00:06:37 So, um, we're trying to make them all smart. They all have their different challenges. Um, I, I suppose looking across the, the kind of technology that, that we would test in trial, there's, there's something that the, the principles of a lot of what we do, I, I think can be applied at a very hyper local level in a rural community almost as equal as, as de deploying the same kind of technology in a proper, full blown urban environment. So, uh, the, the Dublin region has all those different characteristics and we try to cater for those different kinds of kinds of neighborhoods. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:07:18 Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, a big challenge, I, I would assume it's also quite a challenge, more coordination you have to bring in more stakeholders, you have to coordinate across all these different local authorities as well. How do you tackle that challenge? Speaker 0 00:07:35 Uh, yeah. Um, I suppose on a case by case basis that the first rule of thumb and this applies to any program or any project you're doing, not just the smart city space, you, you do a bit of a stakeholder map as to who should be involved in this project or who might derive value from, um, the project that we're about to kick off. So, um, based on that kind of mapping exercise, it'll become clear quite quickly, very early on as to, you know, do, do we need that kind of rural voice, uh, as, as part of the conversation, or is this just a, a very city center focused conversation, um, is, is suburbia affected by this, um, you know, what stakeholders from, from that kind of those kind of neighborhoods might need to be involved? So it's, it's kind of through that kind of stakeholder mapping, we figure out who needs to be involved. Speaker 0 00:08:40 Um, and when I say stakeholders, like I, I work with the four Dublin councils, uh, so we might have a project that just involves one of those councils, cause they have a specific situation in, in their jurisdiction. Um, we, we have working groups, regional working groups, um, who are all four councils are representative, uh, on the topic of mobility in particular, which, which I, I seem to be, <laugh> more involved in than, than others because residents and citizens don't recognize counsel boundaries when they move around the Dublin region. When we talk about truly transformational projects in the mobility space, trying to get people to use more active travel, trying to transition people to electric vehicles, trying to promote mass transit with other micro mobility schemes. Like that's a proper regional discussion. Um, yeah, it's not just for one council. Um, so yeah. How, how do we, how do we make sure we get everybody involved? It's, it's that kind of a stakeholder mapping and, um, if we get it right, if you get that right, then you're, you're onto a, onto a good start. And, and sometimes it can happen that we, we start a project small, knowing that if we test something for six months or a year, we can scale up and then involve other stakeholders to roll it out across the region, for example. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:10:07 Yeah, yeah. I think that's super important. We, we worked some with, um, your neighbors, uh, ish neighbors ish, um, in Belfast. Oh yeah. Um, and we did a lot of this, you know, stakeholder engagement, stakeholder mapping, and it's incredible when you sit down and you look at the map, how many stakeholders there are. Right. Um, but it's so important to involve, uh, so many of these stakeholders too, so, yeah. Um, so Speaker 0 00:10:33 I was just gonna add to that. Yeah. So like the, the breadth of what we do is, is a sort of a reflection of the breadth of the services that your local council does. Um, so tho those services range from things like social housing to traffic management, to waste management, to environmental controls, like air quality, noise pollution, the list goes on. Okay. So if every one of those services is, is a business process in all school consulting language, um, every one of those is ripe for some sort of technology innovation okay. In whatever shape or form that technology might come. Um, so when we talk about stakeholder mapping, like each of those areas, there's domain expertise that we need to tap into. So the, the projects and stakeholder map for social housing are completely different to the stakeholder mapping around air quality are sustainable. Mobility are waste management. So the <laugh> the people and the actors and the, these stakeholder maps that we create per project, as you say, it, it, it's a large number of individual people and organizations. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:11:51 Yeah. Incredible. Um, and so talking about this, I think also leads naturally into talking about really the Dublin ecosystem. Right. Um, so you've told me previously, also in our, in our previous conversation, that is, it's quite unique in Dublin. Um, so what really makes it unique? Speaker 0 00:12:11 Yeah. Okay. I mean, um, probably on every podcast, the, the, the phrase the quadruple helix gets mentioned. So let let's, <laugh>, let's throw it in again. Okay. Um, so what, what is that? It it's government industry, academia and citizens, right. Um, what, but Dublin is, is a capital city, let let's start there. So we have some, some significant advantages advantages of being a capital city because central government rep reps from different departments are here. They're, and Dublin's not that big, for example. Um, I think it's 1.2, 5 million is the population approximately. So we have, we have the, the government power brokers quite close by. So, so that's a, that's a huge advantage for us at smart Dublin, the local government, uh, voice in all of this conversation, um, industry we're, we're doing pretty well tech sector wise from, from startups all the way through to some significant global brands. Speaker 0 00:13:19 Um, academia there's been huge investment in the smart city space. We have, um, the science foundation Ireland has, has a number of research centers. One in particular, um, is looking at the smart city space. Uh, and they, they work with us on projects and identify research opportunities for them to, to, to get involved in. And of course, citizens, you know, I think Dublin citizens have have high expectations as to how the, the city and region should be run. They're pretty digital savvy. Um, and some of the projects we've done that, where we were looking for their engagement, they they've been responsive. So a lot of positives across the quad helix. Um, and then also, I I've heard this term used before Dublin is kind of the goalie locks size capital city. It's, it's not too big. Uh, and it's not too small. So when we're in particular working with industry to test on trial solutions, and one of the benefits that industry get out of working with the councils is they get a reference city for their solution to say, Hey, we've done this in Dublin. And after they go to, to other cities with that kind of powerful reference, you know, from a capital city in Western Europe. So, um, yeah, there's, there, there there's a lot of positives across the different, uh, aspects of the quad helix. Um, and like I said, our role is kind of to, to bring those relevant people together together on a project by project basis. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:14:53 Yeah. Um, so when you're working within this kind of quad helix partnership, uh, what piece of advice would you give to others? Speaker 0 00:15:03 Yeah, yeah. I, again, I'll go old school on this. When it comes to program management, project management, one on one, just build relationships, you know, and, um, again, I think we're lucky in Dublin. It's not too big, you know, I, and we on the team here, we built personal relationships with stakeholders from other public sector bodies. So that really helps when we wanna do the next project in that particular domain we've built relationships with, with industry, be it SMEs or, or, or some of the big tech companies. And again, the door is then left open for the next opportunity. So yeah, just, just build relationships, um, and deliver, of course, <laugh>, you know, you, you gotta, you gotta deliver on a, on a particular project, uh, cause otherwise that stakeholder might kind of go, well, didn't really work out the first time. So not sure about doing the second project with you guys, but I, I think over the last five or six years smart, Dublin has, has demonstrated its value. Um, we have a significant portfolio, um, going on, we, we published a, a report last year, our program highlights 2021, uh, it's on our website. Uh, and it gives in once in a one sort of stop sort of document, it gives the reader a good, uh, overview as to the breadth of our program and all the different actors we, we work with. Um, so yeah, bit of a longwinded answer your question, but it's all about people and relationships. Speaker 1 00:16:48 No, it's, it's good. Um, yeah, it's, it's my job to make sure that you, you talk a lot, so <laugh>, um, they, they, our listeners hear my voice enough, so, uh, you're the interesting one. So that's good. Um, so yeah, you mentioned your program highlights. Um, you know, I don't like to, uh, pick favorites around here, but, uh, if you had to pick a favorite project or something along those lines, what would be your favorite highlight? Speaker 0 00:17:15 Yeah. Okay. Um, I'll go project. We did in the, um, in the homelessness space, um, last year. Um, so one of the functions, um, within the councils is to provide emergency accommodation, uh, to homeless people in the Dublin region. And we have an outreach team. Um, it it's, it's a third party, it's an outreach team that go around the city to try and engage with homeless people and persuade them to take up emergency accommodation, which is typically a hostile for example. Um, so that process, uh, before we got involved in doing this project was, you know, walking around a certain schedule to probably well known spots as to where there might be a, a homeless person. Um, the project we, we did working with the, uh, the function within the council that, that provides the emergency accommodation was to provide a design from scratch, uh, an app that the, that the public could engage with us in. Speaker 0 00:18:33 And basically what the app, which is available to download right now on Google or, or apple, is to allow a member of the public, just drop a pin as to where they've seen a homeless person. And that alert goes to this outreach team, uh, who can then go or get to that location quicker than previously. So I think looking at the, the metrics just, uh, earlier on this week, we're up to about close. We're almost close to a thousand alerts that we've received from the gen general public over the course of the last year. COVID interrupted this because there just wasn't that amount of people out on the streets, uh, as we are sort of seeing now, um, but a, a fantastic demonstration back to my point of citizens, engaging with, with some of the work we're we're doing to improve an existing service so that we can, the outreach team can try and get that person into emergency accommodation quicker than, uh, previously. So, uh, a in terms of complexity, not very complex, um, in terms of technology involved, et cetera, but just, just a little bit of a game changer to, to help, um, vulnerable people. So yeah. Really happy with that project. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:19:53 Yeah. That's, that was a great example. And thanks so much for sharing that. Um, so I've heard, um, you know, around LinkedIn, I've seen a few, just a few posts <laugh> that, um, you know, Dalin has been chosen as, has been one of the chosen hundred for the EU mission for climate neutral and smart cities. So what does that mean moving forward for smart Dublin? Uh, how will you yeah. Proceed with that? Speaker 0 00:20:21 Yeah. I mean, it's just a recent announcement. So what does that mean? Well, what it means is that there's, that there's gonna be, I think they call it a climate city contract is gonna be signed between each of those hundred cities and EU mission. So EU mission title is climate cities. Um, so, so this is a move that that's very officially joining the climate change and smart city world. Now we've kind of seen opportunities for the smart city and technology to add value to the climate change agenda, but here's a proper official statement coming from the EU that actually merged the two worlds together. Um, so for our program, I think it's a real signal that, that a lot of our work should, should feed into the climate change agenda, which I, I think in terms of us trying to explain what we do it it'll help us internally with, with some of our stakeholders, um, some of the service owners that manage the services that we're trying to, uh, deliver it in a better way. Speaker 0 00:21:35 Um, I think that the climate change agenda is it's definitely in the, in the top five, if, if, if not the number one item on the chief executives of the local council's agenda across across Dublin. So for, for our own value proposition to be seen, to have clear alignment with, with the climate change agenda, I think, I think that that helps our, the communication of our work. I think citizens will get it also as well. I think smart city programs kind of struggle with that a little bit. Um, not, not just in Dublin, but across the world and trying to articulate the value, add and impact of their work. And here's an opportunity I, I think for us to, to clearly align to the, the climate change agenda, so delight to see Dublin, uh, as well as by the way in Ireland also, uh, to be, yeah. To be chosen. So, um, yeah. Yeah. I, I think more alignment to the climate change agenda for us. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:22:38 Yeah. Exciting things. I'll be looking forward to seeing what comes out of that. Um, and now I can really open the floor to you if you need, um, two minutes or so, if what is something that you really want people to know about smart Dublin as a whole or anything that we missed touching on? I know the episodes are short, so there's, you could probably talk for days about this stuff, but if you talk about anything else, the floor is yours. Speaker 0 00:23:08 Wow. Okay. Yeah. It's been like the theses are questions at the start. You like, you just <laugh> totally put me on the spot here. Yeah. Um, yeah. I mean, there's conversations afoot here in Ireland for the cities, as well as to, to go back to your point about making, um, rural communities smart or even regional town smart. I, I, I think, I think there's a fantastic opportunity for Ireland, cause we're not, we're not that big, the Republic of Ireland's only 5 million people, you mentioned Belfast. So north and south it's 1.5 million plus 5 million, you know, we're, we're, you're coming from Stuttgart or we're not in the, the Germany scale of things, but so it's, I think it's a huge opportunity for all the cities and smart communities in Ireland to collaborate better together. So we've talked about collaboration in the Dublin region. Only we gotta get better and smarter at truly collaborating with the other cities north and south, I think as well as, as, uh, as the, the smaller communities. Um, and it's not that Dublin is doing everything and nobody else is doing anything. We know that there's some amazing projects, um, happening across the country and we'd love to learn from them as well. Um, yeah. So yeah, that's something I, I I'd love to see is true collaboration within the smart city space, uh, across the island of Ireland. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:24:46 Yeah. That's wonderful. Um, I think where we're really at with smart cities, you know, not too many years ago, we were just looking at the big cities, maybe like Dublin, but now we can really start looking at smart towns and how do we incorporate them into the regional scope of things. And it's a really exciting time, I think also, um, on what we can learn from each other and yeah. Um, that's really good. Uh, so, um, also based off of learnings, um, I also want to now lead into our last segment, which is called trial and error, Speaker 4 00:25:24 Trial and error. What went wrong, what mistakes were made along the way, and more importantly, what lessons were learned. Speaker 1 00:25:38 Can you think of anything? Speaker 0 00:25:40 Oh gosh. Uh <laugh> yeah. Um, yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay. Yeah, we, I, I can, I can go with something here. Um, so in terms of where things might have might have gone wrong, and I dunno, is there anything wrong in, in when you're trialing and testing emerging technology? Arguably, all of it is good because everybody learns the process of innovation and we learn if, if stuff actually does what the brochure says, um, or not, I, I would say sometimes, um, we haven't brought the se the internal service owners with us on, on the journey of, of that trial of a particular technology mm-hmm <affirmative> and what, what that means is that, or, or they didn't have enough skin in the game, if you like, they, they, they kind of felt, okay, well, they've been involved in the project, they were part of our initial stakeholder map and the smart Dublin guys went off and kind of did the project, but, and then we come back to them and say, well, Hey, it actually worked. Speaker 0 00:26:59 And are you ready to kind of scale this up or are moving into mainstream activities? And I, I think we missed a trick that if it, if you don't bring them on the journey and the experience, sometimes the rollercoaster ride of, of doing this, some of these projects, and you just kind of come back to them at the end of the project and of the trial and say, Hey, look, now this thing is, is ready for you to consider. You've kind of missed a trick because they haven't been with you on that, on that journey. So again, it it's, it's, it's more of a, a process, uh, working with stakeholders, lessons learned that if one of the aspirations of what we do here in trialing, some of the, some of the solutions is to mainstream a bit like the rust sleeper alert app. I mentioned that it, it's now part of the mainstream workflow of that team. If that's one of, well, I think it should be one of our, our main success criteria. Then we have to have the internal stakeholders, the service owners, the guys who, who, who run these services. Um, the ladies and gentlemen, not just guys <laugh>, um, involved all the way through the project, you know? Uh, so, so at when, when the conversation about, shall we scale this up or shall we continue with this, they're already on board, you know, we don't have to sell it back to them if you like, you know? Yeah. Speaker 1 00:28:31 So co-creation at its core. Speaker 0 00:28:34 Um, there we go. Yep, Speaker 1 00:28:35 Yep. Yeah. Bring them on the journey. That's it sounds good. And now I just have to ask you one, really one final question, and that's a question that we ask every single guest and it is, uh, to you, what is a smart city? Speaker 0 00:28:51 What is a smart city to me? Okay. Um, I, I think it's, it's about intelligence, um, where city functions are services or functions within a certain geography. So it doesn't have to be cities. So back to the point we're making about, uh, rural communities and, and, and smaller towns, the same principle applies that if there's intelligence being gathered through robust data to help make that place more efficient, um, yeah. And data can come in all shapes and forms. Citizens can be, can be really helpful to provide meaningful data into how administrations oversee, uh, a certain jurisdiction. Um, and if that happens, then of course, that administration has to demonstrate that they're trustworthy and transparent and all that stuff. So I, I, I think a, a, a smart place is a place that demonstrates that intelligence, uh, back to its citizens in all shapes and forms. When, when it's, when it's doing a new project, uh, in the public realm, let's say that it's all based on evidence, uh, and data wherever possible. So it's, it's, it's based on fact and, and not perception. I, I think, uh, if we get to that space, that cities and places are intelligent, then everybody wins. Speaker 1 00:30:32 <laugh> sounds good. Um, yeah. Thank you so much. And on that note, I just have to really thank you, Alan. Um, and for, for joining me today, and yeah, I'm excited to talk a lot about Dublin in the coming episodes, also in our mini-series and to use smart Dublin also is such a great case study, um, to when I speak to other cities as well, and to all of our listeners, don't forget, you can always create a free account on bable-smartcities.eu to find out more about smart city projects, solutions, implementations, and more. So thank you all. Speaker 4 00:31:07 Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life. Speaker 0 00:31:14 Well, they, they say that if you look at the map, you know, if you just look at like a small bear, so let's just say Ireland, small bear, you Speaker 1 00:31:26 Know. Good, good. Yeah. Wonderful. Speaker 0 00:31:28 <laugh>.

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Dublin Month #3 - Smart Dún Laoghaire: "Technology for inclusion"

In the third episode of our Smart Dublin mini-series, we focused on one of the Smart Districts of Dublin located on the east coast of Ireland: Dún Laoghaire. We spoke about the specific challenges and unique characteristics of this district with Dr Conor Dowling, the Smart Dún Laoghaire Programme Manager.   Overview of the episode: 02:03 - Teaser: If Dún Laoghaire were an animal, which animal would it be? 04:30 - What is Conor's background and how did he end up in Dún Laoghaire? 06:16 - What are the key challenges in Dún Laoghaire? How do partnerships help with these key issues? 07:20 - Conor's favourite project: SCORE (Smart Control Of the Climate Resilience in European Coastal Cities) 09:30 - How much can we future-proof our coastal towns at this point? Isn't it already a bit too late? 13:24 - What is the Collaborative Research Model and how does it work? 16:37 - How can we determine if the Smart Dún Laoghaire programme is successful? How can we assess the impact? 18:58 - Conor's take on IoT (Internet of Things) projects in Dublin: see our 'Accessible Parking: Using Satellite Data to Map Accessible Assets' Use Case 24:04 - Hot Take of the Day: hear an opinion from our guest that might be slightly controversial or debated 27:24 - Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?   Liked our show? Remember to rate it! Want to join us for an episode? Contact our host Tamlyn Shimizu. And for more insights, join our Smart City Community!   Is your company a leader in sustainability, innovation, or a key player in the Smart City field? Join us for BABLE's Innovation Market Watch! ...

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