There is something magical happening in Wrocław, Poland.
Wrocław (pronounced ‘VROTS-laff‘) is the fourth largest city in Poland, but aims to be its smartest. As a major center of learning and innovation (and home to more than 130,000 university students) it already boasts a strong knowledge base and a vibrant economy. However, the kind of ‘smart’ Wroclaw aspires to achieve has much more to do with technology than it does with textbooks.
The city is an important cultural and business hub, but it faces similar challenges to those of many European cities - as well as others around the globe. These challenges include: an aging population who needs better access to services, a need to reduce pollution and carbon footprint, and a drive to leverage the culture, talent and university knowledge base to grow economically. Wroclaw wants to strengthen public services, increase its overall attractiveness to businesses, visitors and residents alike and reinforce its vibrant community, culture and lifestyle.
Many cities would struggle with this, but Wrocław is taking a new approach to their smarter city initiatives.
Not only is Wrocław looking to apply smart technologies to create and strengthen a wide variety of services, they are taking a fresh approach to their smart city initiative and establishing a strong framework from which to ignite innovation. Digital transformation of Wrocław’s services will make them more effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of both the business community and city residents. Nokia has partnered with Wroclaw in this effort, helping develop a smart city platform that can support the delivery of connected care for older adults and those with mobility challenges, improve public transit and city mobility, provide improved situational awareness for emergency response services and bolster the local economy and education, all while making overall operations more sustainable.
With steady, upward growth in the number of older residents, (many of whom will require some level of care, medical or otherwise, as they get older) and a decline in the number of younger people available to provide care services, Wrocław will begin implementing their city platform with a focus on developing programs for these citizens.
This platform will allow the city to move toward a continuum of connected care services, meeting residents’ needs at home wherever possible, and then complemented by day care centers, and central care facilities largely reserved for those with the most demanding needs.
Moving toward this vision of complete and connected care will require a number of developments, starting with the delivery of reliable and robust broadband services into homes, and the establishment of high-speed links between homes, care centers, and wellness practitioners enabling remote monitoring of connected health and wellness devices. When coupled with intelligent device management and data analytics platforms, this network could be used to effectively coordinate care and transport and provide tele-medicine services both in the home and at day care centers, serving as a force multiplier for physicians, nurses, psychologist and other care staff, and reducing the reliance on the use of dedicated care facilities. Not to mention providing the ability for older adults to age-in-place in the comfort of their own homes.
A second key area to the transformation is the upgrade of the Wrocław municipal transportation systems. A key challenge for every city is how best to move people and goods around its environs comfortably, efficiently and sustainably. Solving this challenge will help all citizens but will especially help an aging population who may face mobility challenges. A smarter public transit network could go a long way toward relieving those difficulties.
These priorities help explain why Wrocław has chosen to work with us here at Nokia. We’ve had a long history engaging with businesses and government entities in Poland on a variety of critical public projects, from broadband expansion to under-served areas, to the modernization of the nation’s railways, as well as some early smart city collaborations with the City of Wrocław itself. Like a fingerprint, every city is different. Wrocław has unique needs that need to be addressed with a platform that is flexible and open and allows for innovation that is meaningful to each individual city who adopt it. The open nature of our ‘City as a Platform’ strategy, and what we bring to the table in terms of our ability to collaborate and innovate with a broad ecosystem of players, around a wide selection of infrastructure and applications, will enable Wrocław’s municipal government to tap into the skills and expertise of both local and multi-national businesses and the vibrant start-up community that has grown up around the University of Wrocław.
Wrocław’s city as a platform approach will support more seamless interactions between government agencies, local partners such as NGOs and civic organizations, business and educational institutions. The possibilities for Wrocław to achieve its ambitious goals are within reach when you look at how it all comes together around cohesive, connected, innovative foundation – which is Wrocław’s city as a platform.
For additional information on the City as a platform topic, we welcome you to download the white paper: Turn your city into a platform for digital service creation. And please visit our website to learn how Nokia can help make cities smarter.
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