Cities Integrate Automation Technology

June 142013
Cities Integrate Automation Technology

Metropolitan Solutions featured at Hannover Germany

By Bill Lydon, Editor

Metropolitan Solutions, a showcase created by Deutsche Messe and run concurrently with the 2013 Hannover Messe, provided a focal point for learning about the application of technology to improve cities. Real-time automation and control technologies are the logical building blocks for cities to modernize, improve safety and reliability, and provide efficient environments for people to live.

High-tech metropolitan solutions also offer a tremendous opportunity for creating good technology jobs to build and support these systems. There is huge potential for improvement based on a United Nations analysis indicating that cities cover just 3 percent of the world's surface but generate 80 percent of CO2 emissions and consume 75 percent of all resources used each year worldwide. Forecasts indicate by 2030 two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities, presenting challenges that can be met with the application of real-time automation and control technology. Urban infrastructures that support larger populations could become the most energy efficient and sustainable way for people to live in the future, provided they use technology to increase efficiency and provide a comfortable environment. It is natural that manufacturing and process automation technology be applied to solve the challenges of future cities.

Electric vehicles shuttled people to the Metropolitan Solutions bundling

The Metropolitan Solutions concept started with a small exhibition area in 2011 then expanded in 2012 to include 70 exhibiting companies and nearly 3,000 square meters (32,292 sq. ft.) of display space. This year, Metropolitan Solutions premiered as an independent trade fair running in a dedicated building showcasing a city of the future. More than 140 companies presented innovative concepts and technologies for future urban infrastructures. Like a real city the building could be navigated in 70 eCars (electric cars) sponsored by Deutsche Bahn Mobility, Volkswagen, Citroën, Mitsubishi, Move it, Phoenix Contact, TÜV NORD, Schneider Electric and Festo.

Metropolitan Solutions featured a city inside a building

The Metropolitan Solutions hall featured an innovative environment with real streets, turning area, charging stations, park benches, street cafés, lamps, integrated mobility and logistics, efficient buildings, safety, smart grids, water supply and wastewater. Covering a surface area of more than 6,000 square meters, the fair showcased technological solutions for future life and work in cities.

A range of exhibitors presented key industrial technologies and products to deal with the continuing growth of megacities and metropolitan regions and the associated challenges to urban infrastructure. Exhibitors included Siemens, Schneider Electric, Deutsche Bahn, TÜV-Rheinland, Moscow city government, the Fraunhofer Society, Phoenix Contact, Festo, Rittal, Beckhoff, Pilz, Invensys, Unique Lights Remex, Krohne, Kapsch, SEW, Cimcon Lighting and aerial tram builder Doppelmayr. Visitors experienced the future hands-on, and could ride shuttles directly from the exhibition center to Metropolitan Solutions.

The exhibition focused on key items:

  • Urban Energy - Smart Grids, Urban Concepts, Urban Services, Intelligent Systems, Distributed Supply
  • Urban Water - Drinking Water Supply, Sewage Disposal, Port & Waterway Engineering, Hydraulic Engineering, Flood Prevention & Control, Coastal Protection
  • Urban Management - Facility Management, Municipal Funding & Finance, Climate Impact Management
  • Urban Services - Facility Management, Municipal Funding & Finance, Climate Impact Management
  • Urban Buildings - Facilities Engineering, Green Buildings/Green Cities, Green Construction Materials
  • Urban Spaces - Municipal Signs/Urban Signs, Urban Furniture, Municipal Lighting/Urban Lighting
  • Urban Mobility - Local Public Transport, Car Sharing, eMobility, Logistics, Mobility Infrastructure Services, Intelligent Traffic Systems / Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Urban Automation - Control Systems, Electrical Automation, Process Automation, Infrastructural Automation; Traffic Automation
  • Urban Waste Management - Urban Mining, Waste Pickup, Waste Disposal Technology, Waste to Energy, Waste Disposal Services, Recycling, Urban Safety and Security

Global Town Hall

During Metropolitan Solutions, the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability held its Global Town Hall which is a dialogue and networking event tackling urban infrastructure solutions. The ICLEI represents more than 1,000 cities in 84 countries that focus on sustainable development. The program consisted of executive-level, international discussions addressing various infrastructure solutions, planning and policy challenges for implementation, and financing sustainable urban development measures, as well as the potential of public-private partnerships.

ICLEI was founded in 1990 by 200 local governments from 43 countries who convened for the first World Congress of Local Governments for a Sustainable Future at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Operations started in 1991 at the World Secretariat in Toronto, Canada, and the European Secretariat in Freiburg, Germany. ICLEI’s first global programs included:

  • Local Agenda 21, a program promoting participatory governance and local sustainable development planning.
  • Cities for Climate Protection (CCP), the world’s first and largest program supporting cities in climate action planning using a five milestone process including greenhouse gas emissions inventories to systematically reduce emissions.

ICLEI’s programs and campaigns looked beyond mere environmental aspects and embraced wider sustainability issues. The ICLEI Council acknowledged this and formally broadened the mandate of the association in 2003, renaming the association ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability. The forum presentations are available on demand at

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability held its Global Town Hall

The concept of creating better cities by leveraging real-time automation, control and other manufacturing technology is a logical idea. There have been tremendous advances in manufacturing technology that easily apply to create more efficient cities.

The Metropolitan Academy

The Metropolitan Academy is being established on the Hannover Messe grounds as the world’s only event center which provides a manufacturer-independent overview and year-round series of workshops and conferences on urban technologies for public sector, infrastructure operators, engineering firms and technical planners. The Academy will stage events centered on the topics of urban automation, transportation, utilities, and energy with the aim of supplying decision-makers with vital information on ways to enhance efficiency and stability. The Metropolitan Academy will open by the end of 2013with a net space of 2,500 square meters and will be able to support ten events at the same time.Metropolitan Academy will include a focus on Webinars to serve people worldwide. Parallel to this activity a series of events on electromobility in citiesis also being started.