The new year is quickly approaching with a plethora of opportunities to network and share ideas with others in the smart cities space.
The industry is rapidly evolving to include fresh innovations and topics, and it's reaching into new, up-and-coming locations. With that growth comes an increase in the number of smart cities-related trade shows and conferences popping up. Smart Cities Dive compiled a list of 10 highly-anticipated city-focused events in North America to consider attending in 2018.
Date: Jan. 9-12
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Formerly called the Consumer Electronics Show and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), this popular annual event receives heavy global media attention and boasts a total attendance of more than 184,000 industry professionals. The wide scope of consumer technology makes the show a gathering place for businesspeople in a variety of markets, from the general categories of Internet of Things, robotics and data use to the narrower categories of autonomous vehicles and wearable devices.
This year's "Smart Cities: Thriving in the Future" track will feature speakers from organizations including Deloitte, Amazon, American Center for Mobility, Lyft and the Los Angeles Innovation Team.
Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition
Date: Jan. 17-18
Location: Chicago, IL
Attendees of this event explore business models, technology and best practices for turning a smart city plan into reality. The event emphasizes municipal strategies for plan implementation and overcoming obstacles, and specific topics include smart transportation, leveraging the energy grid, enhancing sustainability and environmental monitoring.
CompTIA, Microsoft, the U.S. Green Building Council, ComEd and Verizon are among the show's sponsors.
Date: Feb. 26-28
Location: San Jose, CA
From ride-sharing to driverless vehicles, transportation is one area that has seen some of greatest transformations in recent years. This inaugural mobility conference hones in on topics related to getting people around a city. Workshops will cover smart bike programs, introducing new systems into existing or aging infrastructure, ensuring safety while innovating, effectively incorporating analytics and improving transit payment options.
One aspect that makes this event particularly enticing is that active government employees — city, state and federal — and transportation authority workers can attend for free. A tiered fee structure exists for OEMs, ride-share providers, vendors, consultants and solutions providers.
Cities and Climate Change Science Conference
Date: March 5-7
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Head north of the border for a meeting of environmentally-conscious leaders seeking a greater understanding of how climate change impacts cities and what can be done about it. While the primary goal is to foster more research on cities and the environment, it also aims to create strong partnerships among attendees and develop urban responses to climate change.
The event is hosted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body under the United Nations. There is no registration fee to attend.
Smart Cities Connect
Date: March 26-29
Location: Kansas City, MO
Companies from around the world display their latest technologies while municipal leaders learn best practices for incorporating those ideas into their cities' infrastructures. The expo portion is considered one of the largest gatherings of Internet of Things technology and service companies who work directly with cities.
Key speakers of the 2018 show include city leaders from Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver and Cary, NC.
Cities Summit at SXSW
Date: March 12-13
Location: Austin, TX
The organizers behind the hip, ever-expanding arts and innovation festivals have a smart cities sector. Cutting-edge urbanists will gather for educational and networking purposes.
Unlike other cities-centric conferences that have technology or the environment at their core, this summit brings social issues to the forefront. It focuses on strategies and thought leadership to encourage more equity and resilience in cities. Sessions include successful aging, healthier city design, redefining sanctuary cities, improving diverse neighborhoods through access to healthy food and even quirky offerings such as brewing beer from foraged invasive plants.
National Planning Conference
Date: April 21-24
Location: New Orleans, LA
The American Planning Association's annual conference highlights the latest trends and conversation points in city planning. Past educational sessions have run the gamut from using drones, to dealing with rising sea levels, to supply chain resiliency.
In addition to the conference-specific benefits, attendees can take part in a variety of activities throughout New Orleans to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. To bring it back around to the conference, visitors can examine what aspects of the city's planning have evolved over the centuries and what has remained relatively static.
Smart Cities Week
Date: May 7-9
Location: Santa Clara, CA
The Silicon Valley-based conference will, fittingly, devote much attention to showcasing new technology and its ability to shape cities. Organizers reportedly refer to it as the industry's "what's next" event. Speakers and exhibitors highlight advances such as autonomous vehicles, drones, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
Presenters don't only focus on the "what," they also take attendees through the "how" of using best practices to implement programs, by covering elements such as financing and stakeholder engagement.
Chicago Forum on Global Cities
Date: June 6-8
Location: Chicago, IL
This will be the fourth cities conference co-hosted by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs and the Financial Times. Speakers and workshops revolve around solving globally-experienced problems such as inclusivity, security, climate change and using public-private partnerships for smart innovation.
This event is a draw not only for its workshops, but also for its international networking opportunities. Leaders from around the world are eager to connect and share ideas. At the most recent conference, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emauel hosted a dinner and cocktail hour, and past speakers have included Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Date: Nov. 7-10
Location: Los Angeles, CA
The National League of Cities specifically caters its summit to local elected leaders and municipal staff. Subject matter experts lead discussions and hands-on workshops on topics such as leadership development and climate change. The expo hall traditionally has more than 250 vendors who showcase new products, programs and services.
Past summits have included mobile workshops and tours for attendees to see the host city's innovative projects and learn about ideas to replicate.
Is there a missing conference or expo that you're excited for in 2018? Let us know at [email protected].