GIS People Attends Smart City World Expo in Barcelona

As a first-time attendee of the Expo, our expectations were high. We wanted to be entertained. We wanted to touch and feel all the latest gear. And truth be told, Barcelona didn’t disappoint.

From the moment we set our foot inside the Convention Centre, we realised that there were so many amazing things to see and explore. We wandered the trade floor attempting to do a quick scan of the many hundreds of booths. But before we got to even half… Our legs could take no more punishment. Someone cried: “This event is not huge, it’s gigantic!”. So we sat down and met with various prospects, from customers to partners alike, coming from all corners of the world (assuming the world has corners…).

The exhibitors can broadly get grouped in several key ‘themes’, but what was instantly obvious is that most booths featured big TV displays with beautiful maps on them! We’ve never seen so many maps on display, even the largest geospatial conferences don’t feature so many maps!

One thing was plainly obvious – smart cities have no chance of ever being ‘smart’ unless they are underpinned by real-time location intelligence – period. IoT sensors, smart CCTV solutions, public safety solutions, parking sensors, parking apps, parking management platforms – they all need to know about and report on ‘where’.

As a geospatial company, GIS People invests a lot in location intelligence technology to solve business problems. We work with geospatial every day and we know it very well. Therefore, it was particularly pleasing to see this funky, cool and exciting geospatial stuff on display and in action.

Massive companies such as Microsoft, SAP, Samsung and many others were there, and many have brought startups along to showcase their own gear, which is where a lot of innovation seems to be emerging from. We also noticed many cities, states and countries all around the world, showing off their own innovations, or talking up reasons for companies to move and set up shop in their own backyard. We fell in love with the City of Chicago… But that is a story for another blog!

No Australian exhibitors were on display, however, we were part of sizeable Australian delegation of 40 people – from behemoths such as Telstra to companies that don’t have their startup project in v1.0 yet. And we enjoyed mingling with all of them, as well as exchanging ideas based on what we know, and what we have seen in Barcelona.

We didn’t watch too many presentations, but instead, we spent a fair bit of time understanding how others are integrating geospatial into their solutions. We tried to look for and find competing solutions… But nothing jumped on us the whole time we were in Barcelona. And if Barcelona is to be taken as a barometer of the best smart city tech in the world… No one else was doing anything close to what we are building with Gruntify! Even Microsoft executives with whom we met in Barcelona at a private meeting (and who get to see a lot of stuff) commented that “Gruntify is unlike anything they’ve seen before”. And for that and other reasons… As those familiar with Australian movie “The Castle”: We might be onto something and might be sitting on a gold mine —stay tuned for more updates!