Invited Speakers

Gilles Betis

École Spéciale des Travaux Publics

Title: Developing cities : Bits and Mortar

Abstract: It is commonly understood that smart cities are improving the daily life of the citizen by using information and communication digital technologies. This vision is mainly considered from an operational point of view, when it comes to collect data, optimize process, and interact with city stakeholders.

Nevertheless, beyond the purely operational aspect of the operation of smart cities, we are facing increasingly imperative requirements of environmental, economic and social sustainability. It must now be considered our urban systems throughout their entire life cycle, through the successive or iterative phases of design, construction, modification or deconstruction, in a new paradigm of circular urbanism.

From being an initial tool for design or hypervision, digital technology then becomes the breadcrumb trail of a multidimensional, spatial, temporal, social, economic and political approach. At the same time, to allow for inclusive, human and economically viable development and without compromising the transversal constraints of sustainable development that are now imposed on our planet, digital technologies will be paramount to develop major innovations that are still needed in the physical construction and renovation of urban areas.

Bio: Gilles Betis is the head of development and innovation and a Smart City teacher at ESTP engineering school (École Spéciale des Travaux Publics) in France. He was the founder of OrbiCité, a consulting company created in 2017, dedicated to Smart Cities, mobility, innovation, entrepreneurship and education. He previously held various positions in high-tech international companies (Thales) and a European agency dedicated to digital technologies (EIT Digital). In 2013 he co-founded the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative and have been chairing it until 2017 during its incubation phase.


Emily Kean


Title: Bringing Together Partnerships to Build Smart Cities

Abstract: At a visionary level, ComEd’s “Community of the Future,” brings the northern Illinois energy company together with local communities to create a ‘smart community’ – connected, green, and resilient – where the smart grid and a host of other technologies and related services are fully leveraged to enhance the everyday lives of its community members.
Through the Community of the Future, ComEd offers its expertise, resources and personnel, working with local stakeholders to introduce advanced technologies that are tailored to address the needs of its residents. This program features community demonstrations of how advanced technologies can work together to address a variety of local priorities, resulting in an improved environment; safer streets; job and business growth; more reliable and resilient power; and greater access to resources that improve residents’ quality of life.

Within the Community of the Future, ComEd recognizes the interconnection between societal and technical drivers of sustainability, and this effort includes a broad range of both technology and community-focused projects – from deploying advanced energy technologies to the availability of STEM programs to hosting a virtual Technology & Energy Expo which enabled community members and energy industry stakeholders to network and learn about technologies and career opportunities.

While each Community of the Future project is designed to serve a specific community need, together they will help ComEd and its partners envision how advanced grid technologies can enhance everyday life in communities across the service territory. Come learn more about how ComEd is collaborating with community members and organizations to build a sustainable and resilient future for all of us.

Bio: Emily Kean is the Sr. Manager of Smart Grid Programs at Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), She collaborates with Engineering Teams to demonstrate a range of advanced energy technologies and their benefits to explore new and exciting ways to better serve our customers and communities. Her team manages the Community of the Future Program, STEM Programs along with strategic partnerships and initiatives for Engineering and Smart Grid. Emily holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois Chicago and serves as secretary for the IEEE Smart Cities Program.


Kyriacos Kokkinos

Deputy Minister to the President for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Republic of Cyprus

Bio: Kyriacos Kokkinos is the Deputy Minister to the President for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, since March 1st 2020. He previously served as the National Chief Scientist for Research & Innovation of Cyprus and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Research & Innovation Foundation. He is a distinguished technologist and professional in the high tech sector, with more than 30 years experience in Executive Management, Technology and Business Consulting, served at c-Level Executive roles in global corporations such as IBM Europe (Executive Director & Partner) and PwC. He also served at the Board of Directors of many Organisations, including Invest Cyprus (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency – CIPA), the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), the Cyprus Ports Authority (CPA), and the Board of Trustees of the Cyprus Research Institute. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for professional excellence, including the ‘Business Leader of the Year Award’ 2016 by the `Chamber of` Commerce, and the ‘Quality Leader Award 2015’ by Cyprus Quality Association. His Academic qualifications include Executive MBA in Strategic Management from Henley Management College (UK) and MSc & BSc in Electrical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology (USA).



Ruth Mourik


Title: Fit to serve: What can entrepreneurs and their business models contribute to accelerating the energy transition?

Abstract: Thanks to the Paris agreements, Al Gore, Greta Thunberg, and the relentless flow of numbers and figures that provide proof of global warming, the sense of urgency to reduce energy consumption and stimulate the use of renewable energy has increased enormously over the past years. With all the attention the energy transition attracts nowadays, one could easily imagine that doing business in this market is an easy ticket to success. Sadly, this is not the case.

In reality, only a relatively small group of entrepreneurs is able to take advantage of this sense of urgency. Many different organisations, from municipalities, policy makers and politicians to trade associations and climate activists, agree that the rate of market uptake around the energy transition is too slow. Of course, there are many explanations for this. The complexity of climate change can hardly be underestimated, nor can the struggle to create solutions to solve the problem of market uptake. One thing is certain: entrepreneurs play a key role in the energy transition. After analysing dozens of business models, conducting at least as many interviews with energy entrepreneurs, reading up on relevant theories[1], and researching the characteristics of the markets in which they operate, as part of a project under the Technology Collaboration Programme ‘User centered Energy Systems’ by the International Energy Agency, we dare to conclude: The current energy transition market is too product-centered and needs to broaden its focus towards users, stakeholder values and human relations to increase or accelerate the uptake of energy solutions.

Bio: Ruth Mourik‘s aim is to contribute to a just, inclusive and more sustainable world. A world where end-users are more (and more upfront) involved in decisions that impact their lives and where lessons learnt are shared so that upscaling of good practices takes place more effec-tively. Transitions Ruth works on include energy and the circular economy and she focuses on issues such as learning, open innovation, co-creation, multiple value creation, new busi-ness models, changing behaviour, practices and lifestyles, and societal engagement.
In 2010 Ruth founded DuneWorks ( Duneworks is private research ‘for benefit’ organisation specialised in the societal aspects of transitions towards an inclusive and sustainable climate. Ruth has Masters in Anthropology, Sociology, and Society and Technol-ogy Studies (STS), and holds a PhD in systemic technological and societal transition pro-cesses. Previous employers include Maastricht University, Eindhoven Technical University and the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN).



Christos Panayiotou 

University of Cyprus

Title: Making Smart Cities More Efficient, Safer and More Resilient

Abstract: The urban population of the world has grown quickly from about 750 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018, and the world’s population living today in city-based areas is expected to further increase by 68% by 2050. The overpopulation of urban environments is putting an enormous pressure on the city infrastructures (transportation, supply of power and water, large buildings) which are expanding and grow larger but at the same time they age and as a result some of their components keep failing. The expansion of the infrastructures significantly increases their complexity making their effective management challenging and significantly increasing their operating cost. The failed components significantly increase the risk of failure for parts or the entire infrastructure with significant adverse effects on the lives of all citizens. Therefore, infrastructure operators are faced with the challenging problem of maintaining the efficient operation of their infrastructure 24/7.

The unprecedented proliferation of digital technologies and the availability of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, social media etc., have made it possible to connect people and devices, sensors and actuators and create massive amounts of data which are available anytime and anywhere. A big challenge is how to convert all these data into useful information which can be used to take informed and smart decisions. In the context of smart cities, we will address the problem of collecting information for the intelligent monitoring and management of large-scale critical infrastructures that support and maintain urban quality of life.

Bio:Christos Panayiotou is a Professor with the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at the University of Cyprus (UCY). In addition, he is the Deputy Director of the KIOS Research and Innovation Center of Excellence for which he is also a founding member. His research interests include modeling, control, optimization and performance evaluation of discrete event and hybrid systems, intelligent transportation systems, smart infrastructures, smart buildings, cyber-physical systems, event detection and localization, fault diagnosis, wireless, ad hoc and sensor networks and resource allocation. He has published about 300 papers in international refereed journals and conferences and is the recipient of the 2014 Best Paper Award for the journal Building and Environment (Elsevier). He serves as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions of Intelligent Transportation Systems, the Conference Editorial Board of the IEEE Control Systems Society, the Journal of Discrete Event Dynamical Systems. He held several positions in organizing committees and technical program committees of numerous international conferences, including General Chair of the 23rd European Working Group on Transportation (EWGT2020), and General Co-Chair of the 2018 European Control Conference (ECC2018) and the General Chair of the 31st Mediterranean Control Conference (MED2023).



Katharine Willis

University of Plymouth

Title: Inclusive Smart Cities

Abstract: Smart city projects typically focus on the implementation of digital infrastructure; the sensors networks, data platforms and interfaces that are the point where people encounter ‘smart’ in the city. But this highlights a gap in the approaches to smart cities, that has failed to value the importance of ‘social infrastructure’ which encompasses urban community insights as well as initiatives such as living labs, car-sharing, community currencies, hackerspaces, time-banks, tool libraries. Social infrastructures are necessary for nurturing public life, but also for addressing and preventing inequalities in urban life: countering social isolation, negotiating difference, and creating places for all—regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, or income. By thinking about the smart city as both digital and social it extends the scope to aspects such as how the city itself is designed and integrated with technology and how they map to physical places such as the streets, squares, libraries and parks. Drawing on Sassen’s model of ‘Open Sourced Urbanism’, the talk will expand on how communities themselves should decide on the problems they wish to address with smart technologies, led by their own local concerns and interests in an approach that sees the role of digital capital in physical places contributing to meaningful social infrastructure. This can create a bridge between social and digital capital and recognises the importance of not just digital infrastructures in creating smart cities but also social infrastructures and how they can meaningfully respond to local places and spaces. The talk will conclude by drawing upon case study examples of three urban projects that outline some of specific smart technologies that can contribute to the social infrastructure of the smart city; that can help us move towards creating a more inclusive, diverse and sustainable urban environment.

Bio: Katharine S. Willis is Professor in Smart Cities and Communities in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Plymouth. Her approach to smart cities is focused on the community in the spaces and the need to build from the ground-up to create inclusive environments. She has published widely on the topic; she is co-author with Alex Aurigi of two key Routledge volumes on Smart Cities, and the monograph Netspaces: Space and Place in a Networked World.  She is currently working on a range of funded research projects that explore how new technologies can create ways for people and communities to engage with place, with a particular focus on social and digital inclusion.  In addition to her research, she designed and leads the Masters in Smart Urban Futures; an innovate masters that aims to train students in the design of future smart cities and communities. Katharine received her PhD from the Bauhaus University Weimar, her Masters from the Bartlett, UCL and is a qualified architect registered with ARB.