Working with a purpose: shaping the future of Smart Cities

Working with a purpose: shaping the future of Smart Cities

Blog

Coming from a background in general strategy consulting, after years of industrial plans and growth strategies across different sectors and businesses, I wanted to focus on what really excites me; Tech. As every consultant, I still wanted to work with the brightest people on complex industry-shaping problems, and to create “impact”.

Everyone wants to create an impact, but what does it really mean? I used to think it was only around unlocking value creation via topline growth and cost reduction, but since I joined Delta Partners, I had the opportunity to see things differently. Over the last year, I have worked on the world’s most ambitious and largest greenfield Smart City development. comparable to the size of Belgium, with futuristic ambitions and an almost unlimited capital to invest into the vision. It was a unique project setting with unprecedented strategic problems to address.

From the very first day, I started to support the client’s Senior Executive team in shaping what a futuristic Smart City should look like, what use cases should be implemented for citizens, tourists and businesses, as well as what role 5G and pioneering technologies will have in making the vision reality.


 

Project experiences were unique; from late night brainstorming sessions with experts from the City Council of Barcelona, to an Asian Smart Cities trip across Singapore, Hengqin and Hong Kong, to an on-site visit to the actual construction camp where the magic is happening and the prioritized smart solutions are being procured, piloted and tested. 

Moreover, I started to think differently about the term “impact” as this project made me understand the role that technology can play in enhancing people’s lives. Many developing (and developed) economies are affected by extensive bureaucracy, low digitization, and suboptimal ICT infrastructures. As a result, innovation is limited and entrepreneurs struggle to succeed, with many leaving their countries to seek opportunities abroad. This is where Smart City Tech can make the difference, fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and improving the quality of life.

Every recommendation I provided to the client went from PowerPoint slides into reality as we were speaking. The use cases I benchmarked and suggested, the Telecom sector structure I defined, all the business and monetization ideas are now destined to affect the lives of millions of people in the next 20 years.

We are in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution and of a global urban innovation wave that in the next few decades will transform all the major cities across the world, the way we live, the way we move and the way we work. This will be enabled by next-generation ICT technologies, alternative business models and transformed value chains.

With Delta Partners, I am seeing, and, most importantly, shaping first-hand this transformation, solving the most pressing strategic priorities of cities, telecom operators and tech companies, and impacting people’s lives for real – I ask myself, is there anything really more impactful?


Emanuele Charalambis
Senior Consultant

Emanuele is a Senior Consultant in the Dubai office, a member of the NextGen ICT / Smart City practice, currently leading a large-scale Smart City project in MENA. Before joining Delta Partners, he co-founded a GCC-focused strategy consulting boutique and started his career in Value Partners. He has worked on strategic engagements on tech-intensive businesses across Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Oman. Emanuele has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from University of Modena in Italy.

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