Politics / Technology

Smart Solutions for Sustainable European Islands

A recent IDC study sponsored by Amazon AWS leads with my definition of a smart island. This positions smart islands as entities with an ability to harness digital technologies and data to drive better social, environmental, and economic outcomes for its citizens, businesses, and visitors:

Islands need to be technologically empowered: This means using information technology as a vector of positive sociopolitical change centered on the promotion of citizens’ interests, values, wellness, and dignity. Its goal is a participatory culture in which inclusion is a priority.

Geographically isolated and surrounded by water, European islands face common challenges driven by their insularity. With a diverse typology, including mainland dependent, isolated, archipelagic, and satellite islands, they all have the opportunity to harness digital technologies and data to drive better social, environmental, and economic outcomes.

Creating a Smart and Sustainable Island Strategy (May 2022). An IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by AWS

Smart and sustainable islands should promote local economic development and empower citizens to acquire new skills and participate in the community. However, many islands are just at the beginning of their digital transformation journey and should learn lessons from smart city solutions while being mindful of their unique challenges.

Islands have the opportunity to be innovators, demonstrators, and a critical mass of territories working together to tackle common issues. Connectivity, resource management, resilience and climate, and economic diversification and competitiveness are just a few of the challenges that islands face. With reliable and affordable connectivity, effective waste, water, and energy management, and a focus on economic diversification, islands can improve their competitiveness and overcome their unique challenges.

Smart solutions for islands should be tailored to the specific needs and resources of each territory, leveraging cloud computing and investing in foundational technology and connectivity. By working together and forming a critical mass, islands can access funding, innovate, and create economies of scale.

To me it is evident that digital transformation of islands provides a unique opportunity to drive positive change and overcome common challenges. With the right investment in technology and collaboration, European islands can be at the forefront of smart and sustainable solutions.

Page 9 of the report also contains a case study which highlights an AI solution we launched at EBO in patient engagement for hospitals. It presents a perfect example of identifying an island challenge and then driving technology and skills to achieve a smart, strategic solution.

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