Smart Cities - Highlights of IEEE International Smart Cities Conference 2020 (IEEE ISC2)

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Written by Larissa Paredes Muse

The 6th edition of the IEEE International Smart Cities Conference (ISC2) was held from September 28th until October 1st, 2020. ISC2 is the flagship technical IEEE Smart Cities event, where worldwide recognized specialists in the field share their research findings on the latest trends, technologies, and solutions for Smart Cities. This year, the main theme of the conference was aligned with the major worldwide challenges that the world is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the theme of the conference was “Smart Cities Solutions to New Challenges, Including a Pandemic.” Although this was the first time that the IEEE International Smart Cities Conference was held virtually due to safety reasons, the conference was a huge success, featuring several tutorials, keynotes, panels, and workshops, as well as numerous research talks and exciting discussions during the four-day event.

The Challenges of Turning IEEE ISC2 2020 into a Virtual Event

Written by Rolland Vida, HSN Lab, Department of Telecommunications and Media Informatics, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary General Co-Chair, IEEE ISC2 2020

Introducing the IEEE ISC2 Conference Series

The IEEE International Smart Cities Conference (ISC2) is the flagship event of the IEEE Smart Cities Technical Community, and it intends to bring together smart city researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, NGOs and local governments from all over the world. The three-day event features keynote presentations, panel discussions, tutorials, workshops and research talks on a wide spectrum of topics related to smart cities, from transportation to smart energy or water management, from environmental sensing to communications and big data analytics, from e-health to privacy and security.

Written by Chiara Boccaletti and Loi Lei Lai

The Sixth IEEE Annual International Smart Cities Conference (ISC2 2020) has been held as a virtual conference, from September 28 until October 1, 2020. IEEE ISC2 is the flagship conference sponsored by the IEEE Smart Cities Technical Community, a partnership of six IEEE technical societies and organizations.

The worldwide governmental restrictions, imposed to limit and slow the spread of COVID-19, changed our everyday lives dramatically. Therefore, the organizers decided to focus the 2020 edition of the conference on the responses given to these new challenges by smart city researchers and practitioners, city policymakers and administrators, critical infrastructure operators and industry representatives, economists and sociologists. Indeed, the theme of the 2020 conference was: “Smart Cities Solutions to New Challenges, Including a Pandemic”.

The idea was to stimulate an exciting debate, through interesting presentations and discussions, as part of keynote addresses, panel debates, workshops, tutorials and research talks. Indeed, one of the main reasons for cities becoming “smart” should be to safely and efficiently support the global citizens, also, and above all, in difficult times.

The response of the scientific and technical community was beyond expectations, in terms of both submitted contributions and participation in the discussion. IEEE Smart Cities demonstrated to be a fantastic point of aggregation for the most lively debates on the smarter ways to face the present and future world challenges.


Written by Sara Paiva

Smart mobility is one of the two indicators, alongside governance, which assumes greater relevance in the classification of a city as being smart [1]. In the last decade, we have seen a paradigm shift in the transportation of people and goods, moving towards the new Mobility-as-a-Service paradigm, which aims to change the vision about mobility, progressively moving from the individual model of using private cars to a shared model. This change will require a holistic change in the society and will be a fundamental piece to meet the 17 sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations for 2030 [2], thus improving the quality of life for citizens [3]. The growing world population density, with a large agglomeration in cities and urban areas [4], where an estimated 8 billion people are expected in 2020 [5][6], has received more and more attention and actions to ensure a mobility in the future that is more equitable, sustainable, efficient and convenient for citizens [7]. This was the direction and path of urban mobility in the pre-COVID-19 era, until, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a worldwide pandemic. This resulted in significant changes in many aspects of the society, which also included, to a considerable extent, the mobility of citizens. The seriousness of the situation from the point of view of health, obliged government entities to take a set of measures with regard to the mobility of people and goods, which include [8]: 1) prohibition of unnecessary circulation of citizens, 2) adapting the mobility of people and essential goods to avoid extending transmission chains, 3) reducing the use of public transportation which represents a huge risk of contagion, and 4) reducing the contact between people, leading to e-ticketing being privileged as well as entering the bus by the back door only. In Milan and Barcelona, the maximum occupancy of public transportation was reduced to 25% and to 50%, respectively [9]. In Ireland it was reduced to 20% [10] and in Portugal to 66% [11]. It is believed that many behavioral changes that have occurred will remain in the post-COVID-19 era [12]. In the following section, we present a mobility trends analysis (since January 2020) regarding different types of transportation.


Written by Larissa Paredes Muse1

The COVID-19 pandemic forced governments and city managers worldwide to find new ways to responsibly manage municipalities to contain the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus. The complexity of this unexpected urban emergency required well-coordinated actions based on reliable data. In turn, this required innovative approaches to engage different segments of society and mobilize their teams, distributed in various sectors, which constitute the municipal administration.

This article aims to share some experiences on how cities and municipalities’ authorities used smart city solutions to engage multiple stakeholders during a pandemic. For that, three specialists from different parts of the globe and various areas of expertise were interviewed. Kaan Ozbay [1], Jeff Schlegelmilch [2], and Mirjam Kretzschmar [3] shared their expertise in urban management and health emergencies to discuss their points of view about the challenges that city managers faced during the pandemic and how to integrate actions using ICT technologies.


IEEE Smart Cities Publications Journals and Magazines Special Issues

This web page displays the effort of IEEE Smart Cities Publications Committee in proposing and guest editing special issues for IEEE Journals and Magazines which is of interests to IEEE Smart Cities Community. Please click here to view.

Past Issues

To view archived articles, and issues, which deliver rich insight into the forces shaping the future of the smart cities. Older eNewsletter can be found here. To download full issues, visit the publications section of the IEEE Smart Cities Resource Center.