It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 2019 Smart Grids and Smart City Congress and Fair in Istanbul! That this is already the 7th such event demonstrates its relevance to the numerous stakeholders of the profound changes triggered by digitalization.
Indeed, digitalization is a fundamental transformation not only in the provision of public and private services, but also in society at large. For infrastructure operators and infrastructure services providers as well as for cities digitalization brings undisputed and substantial efﬁciency gains in mobility and energy provision and many other services. It is accompanied by the emergence of digital platforms simultaneously at local and global levels, themselves leading to new business models and new ways of providing public services. At the same time, traditional infrastructure services providers come under pressure in their operations, especially if they have not embraced digitalization early on.
Numerous actors are involved in one way or another in this profound technological, economic and even social transformation. There are ﬁrst the various developers and suppliers of digital solutions at the data generation, data exchange and data analytics levels. There are also all the utilities and infrastructure companies, providing communication, transportation, energy, water, housing, health care and many other services, who have already taken on digitalization but will have to do more so in the future. And there are, of course, the cities, the regulators and the policy makers who have to create the appropriate institutional conditions for this digitalization to unfold its potential to the beneﬁt of the economy and the citizens.
All of these stakeholders will be present at our Istanbul Smart Grids and Cities Congress and Fair. They will showcase their products and services, as well as their current thinking and points of view about digitalization, its potential, but also its caveats. As we are in the midst of an ongoing transformation, all these contributions of the various stakeholders are very much needed so as to make digitalization useful for all of us. I hereby would like to thank them for their contributions and continued support.
I would also like to thank all visitors, who, by their interest and active participation actively contribute to our Congress and Fair and help make it one of the important international forums where digitalization is not only seen in the making, but also put into a concrete business and societal context.
I wish us all a most enriching experience at ICSG Istanbul 2019!
Professor of Network Industries, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland Director of the Istanbul Center for Regulation
Chairman of the 2019 ICSG Istanbul Congress and Fair