14th October 2022

Green and digital. How to build a smart city in Luxembourg ?

The purpose of a so-called "smart city" is to use technology in order to increase operational efficiency and, thus, improve the welfare of citizens. Digital transformation and sustainability play an important part in achieving this goal. We spoke to David Osville, Partner at Deloitte, who shared with us his thoughts on Luxembourg's shift to a more digital and eco-friendly lifestyle.

1. What are Luxembourg’s challenges in the digital era?

The people of Luxembourg are diverse in both culture and generation. For instance, the digital needs and ability to use digital solutions varies between young and elder generations. Luxembourg residents and the border region increasingly expect digital technology. This range of needs and expectations can be difficult to fulfill. Luxembourg needs to advance digitalization to remain competitive without forgetting that new technologies should be adapted for the elderly population, so no one is left aside.

Luxembourg’s population is multicultural and diverse, with 170 nationalities currently recorded and with those aged between 30 and 34 years old (51.900 people) being the largest age group and the digital natives representing nearly half of the population. 

 

2. Where should Luxembourg invest more?

Luxembourg is an attractive country given its history and location in central Europe. With 600,000 + people living in Luxembourg[1] and 212,000 cross-border workers[2] and with high per capita GHG emissions[3], people and sustainability must be at the heart of digital thinking.

Luxembourg should invest in more smart city and smart mobility infrastructure to anticipate trends like the increased presence of electric vehicles and need for superchargers.

With the saturation of smartphones, mobile applications for smart city activities should be developed to reduce calculation or loading time, memory and Central Processing Unit (CPU) usage[4]. Network coverage must facilitate real-time data transmission through 5G or satellite communication.

Already, Luxembourg is strategically implementing a rapid rollout of 5G. Luxembourg should continue developing itself as a European hub for inclusive and green technologies.

[1] https://statistiques.public.lu/en/actualites/population/population/2022/05/template-news.html
[2] https://statistiques.public.lu/fr/actualites/population/travail/2022/04/20220429.html
[3] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2021/690664/EPRS_BRI(2021)690664_EN.pdf
[4] https://www2.deloitte.com/lu/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/global-mobile-consumer-survey-luxembourg.html

3. What is Green ICT? And how is Luxembourg becoming a green ICT player and promoting it within its territory?

Green Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is divided in two:

  • Green ICT is the practice of environmentally sustainable computing.
    • It aims to minimize the negative impact of IT operations during the whole lifecycle (designing, manufacturing, operating and disposing) of IT components, products and services.
    • It includes minimizing use of hazardous materials, maximizing energy efficiency, and promoting the biodegradability of unused and outdated products.
  • ICT for green is the use of ICT to enable green work.
    • It aims to minimize the consumption of resources and maximize awareness and efficiency by using ICT.
    • ICT for green includes green monitoring, smart building with sensors, and behavioural change through applications.

Luxembourg has already made digitalization and Green Transition priorities.

For example, the PRR[1] (Plan pour la reprise et la résilience du Luxembourg) recovery plan contains reform and investment projects that directly contribute to the dual green and digital transition or mitigate the resulting challenges.

The national research and innovation strategy[2] for Luxembourg includes digital transformation in industry and services and sustainable and responsible development.

Luxembourg helps companies assess and reduce their environmental impact through Luxinnovation’s “Fit 4 Sustainability[3]” program, which aims to help companies cope with digital transformation and climate change.

Other Luxembourg initiatives raise sustainability awareness and involve citizens through technology. For example, local businesses promote how they’re reducing the carbon footprint of transport with Lëtzshop[4] or can promote “sharing, instead of owning” with car-sharing[5] or bike rental[6] applications for efficient resource management.

[1] https://gouvernement.lu/fr/dossiers.gouv_mfin%2Bfr%2Bdossiers%2B2021%2Bplanderelance.html#bloub-0
[2] https://gouvernement.lu/dam-assets/documents/actualites/2020/02-fevrier/25-mesr-strategie-recherche-innovation/mesr-strategie-recherche-innovation.pdf
[3] https://www.luxinnovation.lu/innovate-in-luxembourg/fit-4-performance-programmes/fit-4-sustainability/
[4] https://letzshop.lu/fr
[5] https://www.vdl.lu/en/getting-around/car/carsharing
[6] https://www.vdl.lu/en/getting-around/bike-or-foot/bike-rental-and-other-services/veloh

4. What are the 4 things that keep Luxembourg competitive in the eyes of its citizens/workers in the digital area?

Many applications and tools fulfill citizens’ requests. For example, an eco-friendly food shopping[1], a digital health app[2], digital banking, digital public services[3] and much more.

In addition, as mentioned in the strategic axes of the government[4]:

  • Luxembourg’s administrations focus on end-users – its citizens. Ministries intend to accelerate the country’s technological innovation for the benefit of its citizens and companies through initiatives such as events, challenges or hackathons on technological innovation.
  • Luxembourg is making digital technology more accessible to all and teaching digital skills to support social and economic inclusion. To accomplish individual and socio-economic transformation, the task is to make digital technology an opportunity for everybody by enabling access to tools, skills and employment opportunities for every citizen in Luxembourg.
  • Ministries intend to boost digitalization and innovation in the public sector by promoting technologies like big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data anonymization, etc.

[1] https://f4a.com
[2] https://sante.public.lu/fr/campagnes/2018/systeme-de-sante.html
[3] https://guichet.public.lu/en/myguichet.html
[4] https://digital.gouvernement.lu/en/axes.html

5. What are your five useful tips for politicians to build a smart city?

A strong smart city framework can demystify the complexities of bringing smart technology to a city. City leaders can use this framework to build their own strategies. Such strategies, however, should consider five key factors.

5 useful tips: 

1. Vision: Successful Smart City visions should be ambitious but specific, with clear criteria and timeframes to measure success.

2. Ecosystem: Public-sector stakeholders are critical in making cities smarter, but traditional government silos can hinder progress. Future smart cities must convene problem solvers and think beyond traditional boundaries.

3. Governance: In seeking to unite a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders, smart cities need defined governance: articulated responsibilities, appropriate information sharing to decisionmakers, and authority given to decision-makers.

4. Technology underpinnings: The technology required for each Smart City will differ according to its needs, but all smart cities should integrate foundations like system architecture, data governance, interoperability, and cybersecurity.

5. Funding: Novel approaches to municipal governance deserve novel approaches to financing. Crowdfunding, public and private funding from joint enterprises, partnerships can supplement traditional sources like tax revenue and municipal bonds.

About the blog:

 

There is an urgent need for rapid transition to global sustainability. Business and industry have enormous social and environmental impacts. "Why does it matter?" is a bi-monthly blog that aims to elucidate this important topic through the eyes of our experts. 


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