Beyond Apps for Smart cities event – A global playpen for Smart city applications

Next week, I look forward to chairing the Apps for Smart cities event in Amsterdam.

Apps for Smart cities started out as an idea round the table and then as a blog post  based on a manifesto for apps for smart cities.

When I proposed this idea of treating apps for smart cities as an enabler for the city as a platform based on a simple equation,  Intelligent places + Data + Mobile apps + Community + Services = City as a platform – we did not know where it would go. But the response from speakers, cities, developers and the support from the Amsterdam city council has been amazing – so we believe we are at the start of something big.

Apps for Smart cities is a part of the World Smart Capital initiative (WSCI) of which I am on the advisory board. The WSCI itself is evolving – and is supported by a larger team

So, the question is: Where do we go from here?

We already have interest from other cities to host the event – but we see the event as an ecosystem.

So, here is a vision we are working on – we seek thoughts and comments at ajit.jaokar at

To fulfil the vision of the ‘City as a platform’, we need to encourage grassroots innovation.  The critical difference between web based applications and ‘smart city’ applications is the relative complexity of deployment – for example – applications based on Arduino which interface with mobile devices.

Hence, for smart city innovation to take the next step, we need to need a network of ‘forward thinking venues’ creating a global playpen.

These can be anyone from individual people to cafes to shops – all of whom are prepared to experiment by showcasing / having apps which relate to smart cities

For this to work we need a brand and then we need the developers to create apps which will be certified to that brand which in turn will be deployed at the venues supporting the brand

By creating the network of venues, we provide the next step for innovation. Over time, we will also add later crowdfunding,  lean startup principles etc i.e. a one stop shop for innovation for smart city apps which is driven by a global network of venues

We are already taking these steps in Amsterdam and with a few early adopter cities.

We seek your comments and feedback at ajit.jaokar at  especially if you are a developer, a city or a venue

We will discuss and evolve the vision at the apps for smart cities event next week  where many of the developers will showcase applications based on this theme.

I look forward to seeing you there ..