: Why is it important for Slovakia to be involved
in the process of creating Smart Cities and why did
MH SR take on the role of „forerunner“ / leader / in this area?
The main reason why Slovakia should be involved in the Smart City process is that the market for Smart City services is constantly growing. This year, it is made up of $ 93.5 billion, with global growth expected to reach $ 225.5 billion by 2025. Small and medium-sized businesses will thus create a great deal of opportunity to develop their business. The ministry wants to respond to the global trends and to support the introduction of innovative solutions in Slovak cities, which can help not only their progressive development but also the support of small and medium-sized enterprises. Through the specifi c support mechanisms prepared by the Ministry, it will stimulate an emerging segment of the market for solutions in this area, with the added value of the projects to include a specific economic, social and technical aspect.
: How specifi cally will MH SR support SMEs in deploying
intelligent solutions in cities?
During meetings with private sector representatives, the demand for tools to fi nance the fi rst steps of cooperation among cities and businesses by so-called “little money”. Such a tool would contribute to create a functioning ecosystem and help companies and cities move towards more demanding fi nancial support based on meaningful priorities based on real needs. Such priorities should be a condition for applying for
public support. It is necessary to support solutions that are long-lasting, with projects achieving the necessary quality only if they are the result of cooperation of all relevant parties. However, our intention is to make the Smart Cities more complex and for this reason we are preparing a document and a support scheme.
: Who did you collaborate on creating a conceptual document with?
During the creation of the material we cooperated with the state administration bodies, which are aff ected by the topic Smart Cities, i.e. The Offi ce of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Digitization, the Ministry of Transport and Construction of the Slovak Republic and the Deputy Government of the Slovak Republic for the support of the least developed districts. Valuable inputs have been provided by some companies operating in the region, in our country or abroad, as well as initially emerging companies that only develop their business. With examples of good experience abroad, the Slovak Embassies in selected advanced countries have helped us and we have also cooperated with the existing Smart Cities initiatives such as the Smart City Cluster and especially the Smart City Club who has been the main inspiration in setting up the support mechanism.
: Where have you been inspired?
The inspiration for the creation of the document was the emergence of the European Commission, which took up this subject, the need to cover it at the national level and the opportunity for Slovak companies to expand their fi eld of application and to sell innovative products to local cities and adjacent regions. The theme of Smart Cities is cross-sectional and our motivation was to fi nd a way to use the competencies of the Ministry, which addresses the problems of urban development just marginally, to facilitate the implementation of innovative solutions in practice that would fi t to Slovak towns and cities. During the production of the material, we were inspired by various examples of already implemented solutions at home and abroad, which also helped us with the orientation in the given topic. The result is the conceptual document Supporting Innovative Solutions in Slovak Cities and Towns, which will be presented in the coming weeks. This will be the starting point for further Smart Cities support, as well as a fi nancing tool for small and medium-sized enterprises.
: From what sources can intelligent cities be fi nanced
The Ministry has developed a support scheme to support pilot testing of innovative solutions in practice directly on the territory of the city and, with the help of active targeted counseling, to improve the managementof the transition towards administrative and fi nancially more demanding activities. In the framework of the pilot testing of the proposed support mechanism, 5 projects are to be supported, with the allocation for one project covering the costs of preparing a feasibility study of the solution and using a certain share of co-fi nancing of the Ministry resources and City resources for pilot testing in practice. We expect the launch of the pilot call in the 4th quarter of 2017.
: Who else is at the level of state administration devoted
to Smart Cities?
There has been no direct measure implemented from the state budget by any government body yet. However, similarly as in the case of the Ministry of Economy, various support mechanisms are being introduced at various levels concerning directly
or indirectly the theme of Smart cities, whether for cities or companies using public or private sources.
: Do you also communicate with cities?
Several cities have been cooperating in shaping our attitude towards Smart Cities as well as in creation of the document, and we have also used some examples of already implemented projects in cities. When setting up the support mechanism, we relied on information from a questionnaire survey that we tried to reach as many places as possible. In our communication with cities, we plan to continue to acquire new themes as well as to improve the Ministry approach to Smart Cities, including