Global Green Finance Index 7 – Amsterdam Took 1st Place

Global Green Finance Index 7, GGFI

Every six months the Global Green Finance Index (GGFI) evaluates the depth and quality of 78 financial centres. GGFI serves as a valuable measure of the development of green finance for policy and investment decision-makers. The top 20 centres in GGFI 7 are shown in the table below.

Global Green Finance Index 7, GGFI


Global Green Finance Index (GGFI) 7 Headlines

• Amsterdam took first place in GGFI 7, narrowly pipping Zurich, with London a close third.

Global Green Finance Index 7, GGFI
• San Francisco rose four places into the top ten, with Los Angeles entering the top ten for the first time.
• Asia/Pacific centres performed strongly, with Tokyo, Beijing, Sydney, and Singapore all consolidating gains and challenging or displacing incumbents from Western Europe.
• The margins separating centres at the top of the index is narrowing. Among the top 10 centres the spread of ratings is 29 out of 1,000, compared to 51 out of 1,000 in GGFI 6.
• The mid-rankings in the index are brutally competitive, with the Latin America & Caribbean and Eastern Europe & Central Asia regions overtaken by Asia/Pacific and North America centres.
• Ratings of green finance rose in nearly all centres for both depth and quality. As ESG (environmental, social, governance) reporting, green bonds, policy performance bonds, and other aspects of green finance penetrate mainstream financial activity, there is growing confidence in the development of green finance across all regions.

The emergence of North America and Asia/Pacific regions

Although Western Europe continues to dominate the top 10 places, its crown may be slipping with such stiff competition from both the North America and Asia/Pacific regions. A number of leading Western European centres are likely be displaced from the top 10 over the next two or three editions of the GGFI if this trend continues.

GGFI 7 includes a supplement examining how the flow of private capital into green finance can be harnessed by international financial centres for green and socially inclusive development. This analysis has been developed in partnership with We Are Guernsey.

Professor Michael Mainelli, Executive Chairman of Z/Yen Group, said: “For the first time, Western Europe’s domination of the Global Green Finance Index is under pressure from Asia/Pacific and North American financial centres. The encouraging focus on green and sustainable finance by financial centres could materially improve the nature of economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.”

The UK’s Most Financially-Savvy Cities 2021 Report

financial-savvy city, UK, finance, UK financial report 2021, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh

It is surprising that Londoners register low number of financial searches and London is not the UK’s most financially-savvy city.

financial-savvy city, UK, finance, UK financial report 2021, London, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh

When we think of financial literacy in the UK, our minds typically jump to London. So, we decided to take a closer look at just how financially-savvy different cities across the country are. Using Google’s Keyword Planner data, we broke down the top ten cities by search volume.

Which Cities are the Most Financially-Savvy Cities of the UK?

Bristol ranks at number 1, registering a total score of 92.04 (out of 100) for savings and investment searches. This includes registering the most searches for 8 out of the 10 key categories: stocks, shares, bonds, pensions, funds, TSAs and ISAs, savings options, and property.

UK City Search Volume Score (/100) Rank
Bristol 92.04 1st
Edinburgh 61.07 2nd
Manchester 57.37 3rd
Leeds 53.26 4th
Leicester 39.70 5th
Glasgow 36.03 6th
Sheffield 34.65 7th
Birmingham 27.78 8th
London 19.83 9th
Liverpool 18.70 10th


Findings suggest Bristolians are eager to make the most of their money, which is more important than ever in light of the pandemic. Research suggests those from higher-income households have seen their savings increase, while those from lower-income households, including those furloughed, unemployed or retired have seen their savings decrease.

For each of these groups, savings and investments are now crucial, whether to create new income streams or to get the largest return on their limited savings.

Bristol’s penchant for saving and investment search queries isn’t too surprising, given the city was found to have the highest density of online traders in the UK – with 24 in every 1,000 Bristolians an active trader. It’s clear residents of the city are regularly looking to make their money work for them


Edinburgh’s residents are also financially-focused, finishing second overall for their volume of savings and investments searches – including topping the table for ‘commodities’ searches and posting the second-highest number of searches for ‘stocks’, ‘bonds’, ‘pensions’, ‘funds’, ‘TSAs and ISAs’ and ‘savings options’ terms.

Interestingly however, Edinburgh ranked last for Google searches around ‘property’ investments. This is surprising given the city regularly features in regional property investment tables and boasts impressive 5-year price growth figures for its properties.


Most shocking though, is London’s 9th place finish. The city is regularly considered the ‘financial capital of the world’, however, its residents fall behind most of their compatriots when it comes to researching savings and investments. This includes posting the lowest normalised score for ‘cryptocurrency’, ‘pensions’ and ‘savings options’ searches.

This low search volume may be a result of Londoners’ low levels of disposable income. A recent study suggests London’s high cost of living sees its residents take home the lowest income in the UK, that is after tax and basic living costs are taken into account. This is despite Londoners earning the highest salaries.

According to the same study, Londoners are left with just £260.97 each month, compared with Bristolians’ £1,122.57. Of course, there are a huge number of factors at play here, but the data suggests a correlation between this high disposable income & Bristolians actively learning more about the savings and investment options available to them.


Liverpool saw the lowest total search volume for terms related to savings and investments, including the lowest volume for specific categories including ‘stocks’, ‘shares’, ‘funds’ and ‘commodities’.

Annie Charalambous, Content Manager at ETX Capital, commented on the findings:

“It’s fascinating to see the differences in how UK cities research their financial investments. London is often considered a financial hotspot and we expect Londoners to be on top of their finances – however search interest sees Londoners towards the bottom of the table.

“While we may expect different savings and investment vehicles to peak in popularity across the country, Bristolians seem to be the most avid researchers when it comes to almost all investment types.

“Overall, it’s promising to see so many people across the country taking the time to research their savings and investments. Knowledge is key in any financial decision, to make sure it’s right for you and provides the greatest return based on your risk acceptance.”

5G And Satellite ‘Smart Antenna’ Designer Sofant Technologies Raises £740k In Oversubscribed Funding Round Led By EMV Capital

5G, satellite, smart antenna, Sofant Technologies, EMV Capital

‘Smart antenna’ designer Sofant Technologies has completed a follow-on fundraise of £740,000 in an oversubscribed funding round led by venture capital investor EMV Capital.

5G, satellite, smart antenna, Sofant Technologies, EMV Capital

Business is expected to benefit from UK’s 5G rollout

The fundraise builds on last year’s £2.3m pre-series A round for the Edinburgh-based 5G and satellite communications antenna developer. Participation in the round included key existing investors, including Kelvin Capital and the Scottish Investment Bank.

Reflecting strong developments over the year, the funding round includes a price per share uplift of 40% in under a year since its last investment round in July 2020.

 Sofant is expected to benefit from the rollout of 5G across the UK. It plans to use the new funding to expand its commercial team, as the company accelerates its system integration with satellite network operators and other final users.

About Sofant Technologies

Sofant is the UK’s leader in radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS)-based antennas for satellite and 5G telecoms systems. The company’s proprietary, highly efficient patented radio technology platform provides the UK and Europe with a homegrown, industry-leading technology solution to several major challenges facing wireless communication systems. In satellite communications and 5G its technology reduces the power consumption of electronically scanned antenna arrays by more than 70%, with lower production and maintenance costs compared to other emerging solutions.

Since the 2020 investment round, Sofant Technologies has developed growing industry recognition, with support from global manufacturers and application-specific development partners. Sofant has also hired a new CFO to support the scale-up of commercial activities within the business.

Amongst Sofant’s development programmes are prototype antenna arrays funded by the European Space Agency and the European Commission.

About EMV Capital

EMV Capital is a venture capital investor focused on B2B companies in the healthcare, sustainability and industrials sectors. EMVC’s investments in UK, Israel and the US cover a range of technologies including robotics and AI, machine learning, materials science, IoT, advanced engineering, power electronics and health-tech.

Sofant Technologies oversubscribed funding round

Sofant Technologies CEO David Wither said, “This top-up investment is a vital part of the preparation for our series A funding round.

Our engineering team has made significant progress on the development of our core technology platform. We have also built an ecosystem of corporate partners who will play key roles in the commercialization of Sofant’s disruptive, low power antenna technology”.

Dr. Ilian Iliev, Managing Director of EMV Capital commented, “Since our initial investment, we have seen the Sofant team make rapid progress in this strategically vital technology for the UK’s telecoms sector.”

In the aftermath of COVID-19, supply chain consolidation and strategic reliability has become a key priority for Western governments. Sofant is well-positioned to provide this homegrown, reliable partner in building safe, reliable and fast connectivity systems.

Robots and NFTs: Dinis Guarda Interviews David Hanson; Top World Roboticist And The Creator Of Sophia The Robot

  • Dinis Guarda’s recent interview with David Hanson continues in the tradition of Dinis Guarda citiesabc openbusinesscouncil YouTube Series interviews with leading personalities in their fields.
  • David Hanson is a global authority in AI and Robotics, creator of Sophia the Robot and CEO of Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based robotics company known for creating robots that look and act genuinely alive. 

Top leading roboticist David Hanson is the latest global thought leader guest for Dinis Guarda citiesabc openbusinesscouncil YouTube Series. Conducted by citiesabc and openbusinesscouncil founder Dinis Guarda, both experts talk extensively about AI and robotics and the importance of community, cutting-edge technology advancements and ethics in creating robots like Sophia for the future of mankind.

David Hanson Interview Notes

It has seemed to me that humanizing the machines, making them into human characters [like Sophia the Robot] combining the best of AI, robotics and other technologies with the arts can transform cold technology to something that speaks to the human heart.

David Hanson, Sophia, Sophia the Robot, Robotics Designer, Roboticist
A fragment of the interview with David Hanson for Dinis Guarda citiesabc openbusinesscouncil YouTube Series

In this extract from the podcast-like interview, David Hanson explained how robots can radically transform one area that was thought out-of-limits for machines: art. Talking about Sophia the Robot’s latest auction of her NFTs digital artwork, Mr. Hanson added that: “The idea of combining both techniques and technologies with cognitive robotics where the machines are operating under the principles of artificial life, learning, growing and experiment can transform how art is perceived by the consumers and by the artists.

Published on Dinis Guarda YouTube channel, David Hanson provides a masterclass of how new iterations of AI and humanoid robots can support humans in a vast array of ways. Hanson believes social humanoid robots have the potential to serve humanity in a variety of functions and helping roles, like tutor, companion, or security guard. 

David Hanson Biography

In fact, David Hanson is a global authority in AI and robotics. Through his company, Hanson Robotics, David develops robots that are widely regarded as the world’s most human-like in appearance. To accomplish these goals, Hanson integrates figurative arts with cognitive science and robotics engineering, inventions novel skin materials, facial expression mechanisms, and collaborative developments in AI, within humanoid artworks like Sophia the robot, which can engage people in naturalistic face-to-face conversations and currently serve in AI research, education, therapy, and other uses.

Throughout the interview, Mr. Hanson argues the realism of his work has the potential to pose “an identity challenge to the human being“, and that realistic robots may polarize the market between those who love realistic robots and those who find them disturbing. Many of Hanson’s creations currently serve at research or non-profit institutions around the world, including at the University of Cambridge, University of Geneva, University of Pisa and in laboratories for cognitive science and AI research.

That is why he believes that “for AI to truly become the disruptive technology we expect it has to be seen and developed as a cultural technology. We are developing AI and robots that will help us, that will take care of that and the planet, not to destroy us.

He said: “I had a fascination with art, science fiction, and philosophy, dreaming of what robots could be. I imagined that if artificial intelligence ever did match human intelligence that it would re-design itself to be ever smarter, ever faster, you would have something like a Moore’s Law of super intelligent machines.

Creator of the most advanced humanoid robot: Sophia the Robot

David Hanson, Sophia, Sophia the Robot, Robotics Designer, Roboticist

Mr. Hanson is globally known for creating Sophia the Robot and other robots designed to mimic human behavior. Activated on February 14, 2016, Sophia is considered one of the most advanced robots in the world. Sophia has received widespread media attention, and was the first robot to be granted citizenship.

The character of Sophia captures the imagination of global audiences. Sophia is now a household name, with appearances on the Tonight Show and Good Morning Britain, in addition to speaking at hundreds of conferences around the world.

But David Hanson’s career is extensive, as it can be seen in the interview, and he speaks fondly of other robots designed and created by Hanson, including:

  • Zeno, a two-foot tall robot designed in the style of a cartoon boy, which provides treatment sessions to children with autism in Texas as a result of a collaboration between the University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas Autism Treatment Center, Texas Instruments and National Instruments, and Hanson.
  • Albert Einstein HUBO, a robotic head designed to look like Albert Einstein’s and put it on top of the “HUBO” bipedal robotic frame, and Professor Einstein, a 14.5 inch personal robot that engages in conversation and acts as a companion/tutor.

Other works

As a researcher, Hanson published dozens of papers in materials science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and robotics journals — including SPIE, IEEE, the International Journal of Cognitive Science, IROS, AAAI, AI magazine and more. He wrote two books including “Humanizing Robots” and received several patents.

Some of his cutting-edge publications are:

  • Humanizing Robots: How making humanoids can make us more human, Sep 2, 2017 by David Hanson
  • The Coming Robot Revolution: Expectations and Fears About Emerging Intelligent, Humanlike Machines, Feb 27, 2009, by Yoseph Bar-Cohen and David Hanson
  • Humanizing Interfaces– an Integrative Analysis of HumanLike Robots: David Hanson’s Doctoral Dissertation at the University of Texas at Dallas, Interactive … and Engineering, Ph.D. received in 2007. Jun 4, 2017, by David Hanson

A growing Youtube channel featuring top leaders like Ben Goertzel and government officials like Naokazu Takemoto, former Minister of State for Science and Technology of Japan

Dinis’ youtube channel centres round conducting interviews with global top thought leaders, influencers, experts and people shaping and creating new narratives, solutions, and the tech needed to improve our world, society and business industries. The videos are part of the platform he founded – a wiki 4IR intelligent Smart Cities tech Digital Platform for Reinventing and Uniting Cities, Universities, organisation and Citizens.

Previous interviewees include, amongst others, Ben Goertzel, the CEO and founder of SingularityNET, a project combining artificial intelligence and blockchain to democratize access to artificial intelligence and ex-Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, the company of David Hanson, or Joel Dietz, the founding member of Ethereum, now re-imagining crypto-investing as the founder of Swarm Fund. A respected crypto-veteran, Joel co-founded the first smart contract educational channel (EtherCasts), the Ethereum Silicon Valley meetup, wrote the original AppCoin Manifesto, and built the first decentralized asset and governance platforms on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Watch the full interview now on Dinis Guarda YouTube Channel

Read David Hanson’s full biography

Read more about Hanson Robotics

Read more about Sophia The Robot

About citiesabc

citiesabc offers the largest global index of up to 1000 cities and ranks them along the dimensions of smart cities infrastructure and sustainability. Citiesabc seek to inform and empower the citizen in their engagement with their civil authorities, local economy and their community, by providing them with an open-platform for information, 4IR tools and technologies. Cities Civic leaders, via the platform, are able to communicate, educate and engage citizens, citizen groups and the local economy to meet their particular needs utilising Smart City 4IR Technology.

About openbusinesscouncil

The leading digital business Directory and unique Integrated App, Communication and Marketplace for Companies, SMEs, startups and entrepreneurs. openbusinesscouncil provides resources and business information in finance, technology and innovation. openbusinesscouncil is an ecosystem that uses blockchain and artificial intelligence to improve your business, increase your digital visibility, engage with customers, improve your sales and use the best digital, financial and funding tools to grow ROI – return on investment and ROA – return on attention.

Live Webinar: Decoding the NFT Business Models

NFT webinar-citiesabc-openbusinesscouncil

The recent turn of events in the NFT domain is quite surprising. As NFTs are being sold for millions and creating new market dynamics, entrepreneurs worldwide are prospecting the NFT space, to launch new businesses and invent new business models on top of NFT infrastructure.  There are a wide variety of use cases for NFTs. These applications keep growing as time progresses and innovators are constantly finding new ways to utilize this technology.

NFT webinar-citiesabc-openbusinesscouncil
Decoding The NFT Business Models

What exactly is an NFT? How does it work? Or How can you create one? How to get started with an NFT business? Is NFT a bubble that’s about to burst? How to launch an NFT marketplace? What are the legal requirements for launching an NFT business?

Accubits Technologies is hosting a webinar to discuss the opportunities and challenges in the NFT domain. Registration is open for the live webinar which will be conducted on the 27th of April, 2021 at 7.30 PM CET (GMT +2). The amazing line of panelists in the webinar includes;

Dinis Guarda – Executive Chairman, Open Business Council

Morgan Deane – CEO of Swiss Investment Bank – Baader Helvea. Forbes Finance Council Member

Sandeep Sangli – Co-Founder at Kalamint (NFT Marketplace), Head of Business development Tezos India Foundation

Daniel Sloan – Co-Founder and Blockchain Practice Manager at Futuretech

Rahul AR – CIO and Head of Blockchain, Accubits Technologies

Shameer Thaha – Chief Strategy Officer, Accubits Technologies

In the webinar, the panel would discuss the opportunities and challenges in the NFT space, legal considerations for launching an NFT business, the scope of launching an NFT marketplace with whitelable NFT marketplace platforms. Technical considerations and blockchain development aspects of NFTs, the concept of clean NFTs and more.

Grab your tickets to the free webinar here : WEBINAR REGISTRATION

Maximizing 5G, Business Resilience And Reducing Energy Consumption: Huawei Presents Its Strategic Initiatives At The Global Analyst Summit 2021

Huawei held its 18th Global Analyst Summit in Shenzhen. More than 400 guests, including industry and financial analysts, key opinion leaders, and media representatives joined the event on-site, along with analysts and media representatives from around the world who attended online.

Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2021 : Optimizing Portfolio To Boost Business Resilience And Navigate A Challenging Environment

Eric Xu, Huawei’s Rotating Chairman, shared the company’s business performance in 2020 as well as five strategic initiatives moving forward. According to Mr. Xu, Huawei will:

· Optimize its portfolio to boost business resilience. As part of these efforts,
Huawei will strengthen its software capabilities and invest more in businesses
that are less reliant on advanced process techniques, as well as in components
for intelligent vehicles.
· Maximize 5G value and define 5.5G with industry peers to drive the evolution of
mobile communications.
· Provide a seamless, user-centric, and intelligent experience across all user
· Innovate to reduce energy consumption for a low-carbon world.
· Address supply continuity challenges.

“Rebuilding trust and restoring collaboration across the global semiconductor supply chain is crucial to bringing the industry back on track,” stressed Eric Xu.

“Moving forward, we will continue to find ourselves in a complex and volatile global
environment. Resurgence of COVID-19 and geopolitical uncertainty will present ongoing challenges for every organization, business, and country. We believe deeply in the power of digital technology to provide fresh solutions to the problems we all face. So we will keep innovating and driving digital transformation forward with our customers and partners to bring digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.”

William Xu, Director of the Board and President of Huawei’s Institute of Strategic Research, began his keynote by discussing challenges that will affect social well-being over the next decade, including ageing populations and increasingly high energy consumption. He followed with Huawei’s outlook on the intelligent world of 2030, including nine technological challenges and proposed directions for research efforts. These include:

1) Defining 5.5G to support hundreds of billions of different kinds of connections
2) Developing nanoscale optics for an exponential increase in fiber capacity
3) Optimizing network protocols to connect all things
4) Providing advanced computing power strong enough to support the intelligent
5) Extracting knowledge from massive amounts of data to drive breakthroughs in
industrial AI
6) Going beyond von Neumann architecture for 100x denser storage systems
7) Combining computing and sensing for a hyper-reality, multi-modal experience
8) Enabling people to more proactively manage their health through continuous
self-monitoring of personal vital signs
9) Building an intelligent Internet of Energy for the generation, storage, and
consumption of greener electricity

“In the decade to come,” said William Xu, “we can expect to see many great improvements in society. To promote these efforts, we hope to join forces with different industries, academia, research institutes, and application developers to address the universal challenges facing humanity. With a shared vision, we all have a role to play as we explore how to make connections stronger, computing faster, and energy greener. Together, let’s march ahead towards an Intelligent World in 2030.”

The first Huawei Global Analyst Summit took place in 2004, and has been held annually ever since. This year’s summit, “Building a Fully Connected, Intelligent World”, runs from April 12 to 14, with a number of breakout sessions where industry experts from around the world can share their unique insights and discuss future trends.

Smart Cities Index IndexDNA Captures The Complex Relationship Between Citizens, Industry, Policymaking And Society

The First Ever Dynamic Smart City Index: citiesabc indexDNA Framework for Smart Cities Whitepaper Produced with citiesabc and openbusinesscouncil will be officially released at the openbusinesscouncil summit.

indexDNA Framework for Smart Cities is the name given to the smart city index developed by citiesabc in collaboration with the University of Durham. It captures the complex relationship between citizens, industry, policymaking and society.


“Cities are estimated to generate 80% of all economic growth and produce approximately 72% of all greenhouse gas emissions, despite covering only 3% of the land (UN). Urban city regions account for more than 50% of the total global population and is expected to be around 70% by 2050 (United Nations). This unprecedented movement towards urbanisation is growing at an exponential rate and is projected to be as high as 90% in some countries – notably in Asia and Africa – by 2050 (UN). Governments have been reactive to this migration trend and are experimenting with emerging and established technologies to provide services and solutions to this new wave [of] urbanisation. Many cities are taking proactive steps to make their cities ‘digitised’ or ‘smarter’. Such initiatives are called ‘smart city’ initiatives and are primarily focused on using a collection of technologies to provide timely and effective services to citizens.” (Professor Kiran Fernandes)

Despite the proliferation of smart city indexes emerging in response to the growing challenges of urbanisation, none so far have managed to rise above a static approach. The indexDNA Framework for Smart Cities whitepaper provides a comprehensive overview of a new, dynamic framework, based on the Quadruple Helix Innovation model.

The index is data-driven and gives a holistic view of a smart city on several dimensions like the economy, mobility, education, environment, governance and quality of life. indexDNA Framework for Smart Cities serves several purposes, from benchmarking cities to developing effective policies for transition to Society 5.0.

This report is a piece of academic literature which details the research and elaboration process behind the index, explaining how different metrics and data are applied to create an index which reflects real-time smart city development through advanced analytics. Diagrams are used to illustrate the multidirectional feedback systems that exist between key stakeholders, and the interactions between each layer of the indexDNA Framework for Smart Cities.

“We realised that smart city indexes operated within a static framework, making the results unreliable and in constant need of updates. Our approach is a dynamic one, identifying smart cities as human-centric and analysing the multidirectional feedback systems between the different pillars that make up a smart city. We are thrilled to have collaborated with the Centre for Innovation and Technology Management at the Durham University Business School, whose academic insights and deep research were crucial to creating our indexDNA. In doing this, we hope to set the blueprint for future smart city indexes and rankings,” said Dinis Guarda, one of the authors and CEO of citiesbc and openbusinesscouncil.


Professor Kiran Fernandes, Professor and Associate Dean, Durham University Business School

Provided the conceptual framework for the whitepaper, analysis of the data and drafted the report

Mr Dinis Guarda, CEO, Ztudium

Supplied the context, assisted with interpretation of the context, and helped draft the report

Mr William Hosie, Research Associate, Ztudium

Researched the conceptual framework for the whitepaper, assisted the analysis of the data, and drafted the report

Professor Jamal Ouenniche, Professor in Business Analytics, University of Edinburgh

Assisted with interpretation of the context and helped draft the report

Mr Hilton Supra, CBDO and Vice Chairman, Ztudium

Helped draft the report


Professor Miguel Amaral

Assistant Professor, University of Lisbon, IST

Mr Robert Bell

CEO, Global Gateways Foundation

Dr Atanu Chaudhuri

Associate Professor in Technology Management, Durham University

Mr Antonio de S. Limongi França

Consultant and manager at LF1 Technological Innovation and Organisational Strategies

Mr David L. Kasten

CEO, Poolbeg Group

Professor Yipeng Liui

Director of the Centre for China Management and Global Business (CMGB), Reading University

Dr Nick Rousseau

CEO, Unconventional Connections Ltd

Professor Yu Xiong

Chair of Business Analytics and Associate Dean International, University of Surrey

The report encourages readers to understand the smart city concept as human-centric rather than technology-centric; technology is not the root source of a smart city’s intelligence, but rather an enabler for it. The report also emphasises the importance of using smart technologies to integrate cyberspace and physical space. Finally, the report intends for readers to view the co-evolving core of the indexDNA framework as important to any smart city indexing activity, as it shows the importance of the citizen as well as the citizen’s relationship to the smart service systems.

The report will be launched at the OBC summit on Tuesday 20 April at 8am GMT. The OBC summit is a 3-day virtual conference on systems and solutions for businesses and governments to boost sales and growth amidst the challenges and restructurings faced by organisations and cities because of COVID-19. The summit provides a unique platform for both businesses and governments to promote their ideas and gain exposure with a global outreach through openbusinesscouncil awards and digital certification.



Dinis Guarda

Durham University

Henley Business School (University of Reading)


IST Tecnico Lisboa

Unconventional Connections

University of Edinburgh

University of Surrey

WSCF (World Smart Cities Forum)

About the organisers

openbusinesscouncil is a Leading Global Digital Business Directory Certification and Marketplace created by a team of global thought and business leaders with more than 20 years of working with governments, business networks, tech ecosystems and  universities. is a platform for smarter cities and their creative industries – art, music and film NFT marketplace network. citiesabc offers tools to the organisations and the people of the cities.

World Smart Cities Forum is a non-profit organisation established to assist local governments and municipalities to solve current urban challenges by building and developing human-centric smart cities around the world.

The event will be streamed in the fast-growing Dinis Guarda YouTube Podcast series

Click here for tickets.

For more information, visit:

Smart Vehicles & IoT: Challenges and Opportunities in The Future of Mobility

In a world where everything is connected, what will be the role of smart vehicles and what changes it will bring to our lives? Self-driving cars are smart, and it takes correspondingly smart people and technology to build them. With so many benefits to be reaped from such innovation, the ICT industry is investing in its own future by supplying technology required by the largest automakers worldwide and rising consumer trends, wishing to bring about the digital transformation of driving.

Smart Vehicles & The Internet of Things

But the auto and ICT industries’ collaborative acceleration of smart car development does not come without its fair share of challenges. Digitised smart car technology is still in its primal stages; a feat of mechanical and electronic engineering that remains rudimentary. The stakes for smart car development are thus not only high because the outcome could be so overwhelming, but also because it is so uncertain. The road to digital transformation in the already high-tech realm of auto engineering is one which has yet to be drawn and driven, according to FAW (China’s first automotive firm to conduct R&D on smart cars).

What are smart vehicles?

What makes a smart car? The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the United States offers tiered definitions, identifying different levels of automobile intelligence. The majority of car manufacturers aim to meet the requirements of SAE’s Level 3: cars able to control speed and steering programmatically and rely on the human driver to take over in dynamic situations, such as when bad weather interferes with the car’s sensors. In addition to real-time monitoring and braking capabilities, cars will require Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, cloud computing and other ICT technologies if they are to reach this level.

Of course, autonomy is not the only target; the integration of smart hardware and software has to meet safety standards as well. Deaths caused by traffic incidents in the US average about 20,000 a year – a steady figure which shows no sign of decreasing (omitting 2020 figures, when the pandemic drastically reduced road traffic altogether). Appropriately, smart cars are being developed with collision-avoidance capabilities, which may solve – or least alleviate – the problem of road traffic mortality, according to the US Department of Transportation. The American government is thus encouraging high-tech firms such as Google to apply their technology to smart car development, hoping to position the US as a leader in the smart car industry – the EU and Japan being the chief rivals.

The digitisation of smart cars can be split into three main areas: smart manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Smart manufacturing

Leading automakers worldwide describe traditional car manufacturing as ‘serial’: ‘starting with product planning and engineering design, then [on] to experimentation and trial production, and from full-scale production to marketing and post-sales services.’ The advent of cloud capabilities from innovative ICT infrastructures disrupts this production line, using virtual platforms to push it into many parallel processes such as digital design and service platforms. This considerably improves production costs and efficiency and reduces the number of physical tests needed for a car to meet modern crash-safety standards thanks to cloud-based virtual collision technologies – the most important of which are currently 5G and V2X. In fact, Japan is positioning itself as a world leader in automated driving/Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) standards.


Smart cars rely on AI in relation to three specific domains: sensor fusion, route planning, and the use of AI and Big Data for multiple levels of data classification and delivery of results. Smart cars are projected to use on-board AI capabilities in the immediate future, with further support provided by cloud-based AI services. But as cloud and ICT technologies improve and innovate, cloud-based AI support is expected to become the primary director of smart cars, allowing them to perform functions such as determining the speed and direction at which other cars and people are moving, or indeed whether the objects it senses are people 0r cars (or even a barrier).


By endowing cars with more sensors, processors and software, passenger vehicles will become integrated carriers of digital transformation. In other words, smart car ambition is directly informed by IoT, which will not only permit cars to handle a wider range of scenarios, but will usher the automobile companies into a new – and unprecedentedly vast – realm of work. Indeed, companies which have traditionally belonged to the manufacturing industry are converting to be more service-oriented.

In order to fully investigate IoT’s capabilities in relation to the development of smart cars, we need to understand what exactly is IoT.

What is IoT?

“The internet of things (IoT) is a catch-all term for the growing number of electronics that aren’t traditional computing devices, but are connected to the internet to send data, receive instructions or both,” explains Josh Fruhlinger. These devices encompass a large spectrum, from gadgets like Alexa to internet-enabled sensors in farms and factories. By bringing the power of the internet, data processing and analytics to the real world of material objects, IoT blurs the boundaries between the digital and the physical. When a modern washing machine can be operated from a smartphone using an internet app, the person using it is directly engaging with the global information network; the very act of doing laundry is now part of an interconnected digital system.

In addition, the data-gathering capabilities of IoT is hugely beneficial to industry settings, where the data compiled by millions – if not billions – of embedded internet-enabled sensors serve as a reading key for companies wishing to assess ‘the safety of their operations’, ‘track assets’, ’reduce manual processes’, or even learn more about ‘people’s preferences and behaviour’ (Fruhlinger). Through IoT, the internet can now accelerate the processes of physical manufacturing and distribution in the same way it has been accelerating the research and dissemination of knowledge of decades.

The data-gathering capabilities of IoT is hugely beneficial to industry settings, where the data compiled by millions – if not billions – of embedded internet-enabled sensors

Opportunities with smart vehicles and IoT

IoT is therefore crucial to the development of smart vehicles, collating the data needed to refine the technology required to meet safety and efficiency standards. Indeed, traditional car wiring is insufficient as it is built on mechanics, from the engine and transmission system to the integrated electrical components such as electronic engine control. Smart cars require a new core platform, entirely independent of the traditional engine, transmission, braking, and steering systems – one that includes sensors and software intelligence that connect with GPS mapping, sensor fusion, AI, and a growing range of supercomputing platforms. This IoT-based architecture, named ‘interconnection architecture’ by FAW, is to connect cars to the cloud and vice-versa.

This creates rich opportunities for smart vehicles, accelerating the development of functions such as health and attention monitoring. Indeed, most road traffic incidents occur because the driver has become distracted or tired; with smart technology, cars may be able to determine when a driver’s capacities are compromised and take over driving control accordingly.

Challenges with smart vehicles and IoT

The first challenge with smart vehicles and IoT is an ethical one: sharing so much personal data could be met with intrusion of privacy accusations. Fortunately, as the world becomes increasingly digitised, cybersecurity standards are correspondingly reinforced; smart car manufacturers would do well to work closely with digital security consultants.

The second challenge concerns engineering: how does one build the technology mentioned in section IV? A health and attention monitor, for instance, cannot exist without Big Data analytics interpreting information about roadways, the environment, and expanding interactions. Another crucial core technology is dynamic mapping: traditional navigation systems are based on fixed maps, so how does one transcend these limits and construct new technologies to generate real-time maps that are dynamic and responsive to current conditions?

Smart car manufacturing firms will not only need to hire competent mechanical engineers, but a highly skilled R&D team able to master new practices and operating regimes that include, among others, environmental assessment and AI-based decision-making control. New technologies of this kind have already started to emerge; FAW has already introduced the concept of AllwayEye, the core function of which is to allow each car to capture data related to its immediate environment and upload it to the cloud. With all similarly equipped cars in the vicinity uploading and downloading situational information with the cloud, any accident, collision or hazard would be taken into account by the car’s in-built navigation programs, informed by cloud communication. This would allow drivers to reprogram their route in real-time.

Transforming traditional R&D models and choosing the best core technologies in order to respond to an increasingly complex technological revolution is the main challenge currently faced by the auto industry – and it is one that no car firm can answer alone. An example of successful teamwork in the field is FAW’s collaboration with Huawei: a Chinese giant that benefits from a rich ecosystem of partners in many industries.

Case studies and solutions by Huawei

As a leader in the ICT sector and pioneer in emerging technologies such as 5G, cloud computing and, especially, IoT, Huawei is strengthening its position in the smart vehicle market by developing and implementing new solutions. Eric Xu, Chairman of Huawei, said recently at the Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2021:

We will ramp up investment in components for intelligent vehicles, especially autonomous driving software. Vehicles are becoming more connected, intelligent, electric, and shared these days, and at the core of these trends is whether or not autonomous driving software can make truly autonomous cars a reality, and take us a step closer to entirely unmanned driving. With intense investment in autonomous driving software, our hope is to drive these trends forward as they facilitate the integration of the automotive and ICT industries, which in turn creates long-term strategic opportunities for Huawei. […] Once unmanned driving becomes a reality, we will see disruption in practically all adjacent sectors and trigger the most disruptive industry transformation the world will see in the next 10 years.

Huawei wants to become the chief provider of new components for intelligent vehicles, fuelling its investments in autonomous driving software such as enhanced communication capabilities, cloud services and optical networks. Indeed, autonomous vehicles rely on computing and cloud services to identify red or green lights, or possible obstructions and hazards. Huawei’s ICT expertise means it is strategically positioned to deliver these technological innovations. Moreover, Huawei has an entire unit dedicated to the development of full-stack ICT systems for the B2B market: the Intelligent Automotive Solution Business Unit. This creation of a highly specialised team means Huawei has a solid grasp of user requirements and considerable experience in design for the B2C market. The company’s ‘platform + ecosystem’ strategy anchors its user interface within the wider tech and automotive networks.

Being the tech giant that it is, Huawei has, unsurprisingly, partnered with some of the biggest names in the auto industry; namely Audi on L4 autonomous driving, and BAIC Group on its Arcfox models, providing the latter with solutions and components. But how exactly has Huawei earned its reputation for delivering innovative solutions?

Huawei has branded its Intelligent Automotive Solutions ‘Huawei HI’, powered by HarmonyOS and launched in October last year. HI aims to drive the upgrade of technologies in the automotive industry and develop leading intelligent electric vehicles, by adopting a new joint development model in which the company works with automakers and leverages its technological advantages to jointly design and develop high-quality cars. These will use the automaker’s brand and display HI’s logo on the car body, identifying the vehicle as one that uses the full-stack HI Intelligent Automotive Solution.

“HI delivers full-stack intelligent automotive solutions. We have accumulated 30 years of technical experience and are integrating with the automotive industry, as well as pursuing cutting-edge technological development to outperform competitors,” commented Wang Jun, President of Huawei’s Intelligent Automotive Solution Business Unit (IAS BU). “We firmly believe that the new model will help us develop ideal, intelligent EVs. As a result, we will achieve brand extension and strengthen China’s automotive industry, which currently focuses on size.”

HI’s acceleration of the development and production of smart vehicles relies on an all-new architecture for computing and communications, built on five pillars: intelligent driving, e-cockpit, intelligent electrification, connectivity, and an intelligent automobile cloud. This architecture – a Level 4 automated driving standard – is bolstered by powerful computing and operating systems for intelligent driving, e-cockpit and intelligent vehicle control; the operating systems in question are AOS, HOS, and VOS respectively. Powered by these computing and operating systems, vehicles can thus be defined by software, which Huawei believes will advance the development of new functions and ensure that customer experience is constantly improved.

Zooming in on the electrical appliances built into the smart vehicles by Huawei, it becomes apparent that the HI system is not only industry-leading in terms of sensors, central supercomputing, and algorithms, but also in terms of its self-improving capabilities: the use of AI allows the system to constantly learn and evolve on its own to become a smarter and better driver for consumers. One of the most advanced technologies developed by Huawei for smart vehicles is an intelligent electric system offering oil-cooling heat dissipation, providing better cooling effects and higher power outputs when at high speeds and thereby placing the car firmly within the 3-second club. Another notable innovation is the HI cockpit solution, which utilises Augmented reality head-up displays (AR-HUD) to turn a normal windshield into a 70-inch HD screen, allowing users to watch movies, play games, or attend video conferences while enjoying 7.1 surround sound. This same solution offers powerful visual recognition, semantic understanding, and advanced AI technologies; it can communicate in natural language and understand user gestures and expressions. A final innovative touch is the HI dual-motor electric driving system, which enables linked control and redundancy backup, preventing loss of power and ensuring driving safety. The system can also take advantage of AI and big data analysis to provide early warnings of battery exceptions, further improving driving safety.

Data safety and privacy concerns – a natural consequence of IoT – are also considered by Huawei, which has applied its experience in security to automobiles to fully protect users’ information.


Smart vehicles are the future of the industry as consumer trends continue to move towards it. With the technology still in its primal stages, it is a field as yet unspoiled, meaning the stakes for innovators and manufacturers are high. The target for firms looking to lead the digital revolution of the auto industry is twofold: safety and autonomy.

There are three key aspects to smart vehicles: smart manufacturing (for adaptability), AI (for efficiency), and IoT (for benchmarking progress). The latter is particularly important as we enter an unprecedentedly interconnected age, where the very act of changing gears on a highway sends data to the cloud and thereby informs decisions by tech companies and the algorithms on which they build their tech.

The use and application of IoT within the context of smart vehicle production is not without its challenges. The first is an ethical one concerning personal data and privacy. The second concerns engineering: how does one build the technology required for cars to be fully safe and autonomous? Our research demonstrates that a key solution is innovation not just on a technological level, but a structural level: traditional R&D models will have to be overhauled completely. Moreover, we expect to see an emergence in collaborative approach between different, highly specialised firms.

To illustrate this trend, we observed the solutional models developed by Huawei. Huawei edges ahead of the competition in each of the smart vehicle pillars (AI, smart manufacturing and IoT) with an innovative ‘platform + ecosystem’ development strategy, on which it is building an industry ecosystem based on partnerships between specialised tech and engineering firms. It is the success of these partnerships, and the network of information created through IoT, that will determine the course and progress of smart vehicle development.

In a world where everything is connected, smart vehicles will not only facilitate the experience of driving for consumers but allow physical and digital experiences to exist in symbiosis, using AI and IoT to drive us into a world of automated harmony.

Meet The 120+ Top Experts And Government Officials To Speak At The Global Digital Transformation Openbusinesscouncil Summit And Awards


120+ top experts and government officials will speak during the 3-day openbusinesscouncil summit and awards event on  April 20th to 22nd. From government officials to top industry experts, the collective expertise of the speakers makes this an unmissable event.


The openbusinesscouncil Summit and Awards, in partnership with citiesabc and World Smart Cities Forum, is running an online event with the aim to strengthen businesses, startups, and government’s strategies post COVID-19.

The summit provides access to a unique audience and has indirect digital streaming in social media, that reaches over 10 million people.

The experts include, amongst others, high-profile personalities such as Valeriya Ionan, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, or Jaewon Peter Chun, President at World Smart Cities Forum.

The openbusinesscouncil summit team has diligently prepared the 3-days event, touching trending and disruptive topics such as the boom of DeFi, the always-widening possibilities of blockchain, the impact of new tech in Finance and Society, the rising importance of NFTs, etc, in more than 50 panels.

The openbusinesscouncil digital summit will cover, amongst others, the following topics:

  1. Creating Smarter Digital Transformation Businesses in a Time of Covid-19
  2. Challenges and Opportunities with 4IR, Big Data, IoT and Cybersecurity to Businesses and SMEs
  3. Digital HealthTech & Wellness Post Covid-19
  4. Access and Inclusion in Smart Cities and AI
  5. How can Tech4All, Tech4Good and AI4Good Support CSR and CDR
  6. The Role and Importance of Innovation and data in the Smart Cities and Governments
  7. The Future of Collaborative Innovation, Media, IP, Digital Platforms with 4IR & AI
  8. Finding our way Forward with UN SDGs, ESGs in the Post-Covid-19 World
  9. Redesigning Businesses After Covid – ESG – Sustainability – Finance and Digital Transformation Investment
  10. Centralised Finance vs Decentralised Finance, Digital Assets – NFTs
  11. How are Scale-Ups and Venture Capital Accelerator Networks Aiding Growth to the Business Startup Ecosystem?
  12. Fintech, GovTech, LegalTech and PropTech
  13. Blockchain, DeFi and CBDC – the Next Fintech Frontier
  14. Investments and Strategies on Future Cities and Governments
  15. SG, Social Inclusion, Carbon Footprint and Energy
  16. Digital Transformation, Blockchain & The WorkPlace of the Future

Meet The Speakers At openbusinesscouncil summit and awards

The biggest names to speak at the conference and their bios can be accessed below. Openbusinesscouncil ensured the highest quality of speakers, who come from top positions in their fields.

Ms. Valeriya Ionan, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Ukraine 

Currently working as a Deputy Minister for Eurointegration in the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, she is in charge of the digital literacy national program (Diia. Digital Education), development and growth of SME with help of digital instruments (Diia.Business), new digital professions, online children protection, euro integration. Before working for the Ukrainian government, she was an entrepreneur. Valeriya graduated from the  MBA program at Edinburgh Business School Eastern Europe in Marketing, Organizational Behavior, Negotiations and Human Resource Management.

Jaewon Peter Chun, President at World Smart Cities Forum

Jaewon is the President of World Smart Cities Forum (WSCF), which is a non-profit organization based in London, England. He also founded ARK-i Labs in New York City, which is a smart city curator and investment company. Besides, he also founded and have run XnTREE, a Tech accelerator in Level39 which is the largest open tech cluster in Europe, which is located in Canary-Wharf financial district in London. In 2018, he was appointed Master Planner, head of Korea’s smart city national pilot project, to create a master plan framework.

Jawad Sardar, Future Cities & Prosperity Specialist, DIT UK

Jawad is a  smart cities specialist who works with national and local governments across the world to develop leading smart governance, mobility, urban planning and sustainability projects. Most recently overseeing the Prosperity Fund Global Future Cities Programme (GFCP) for the Department of International Trade (DIT) as their Future Cities & Prosperity specialist. Jawad also works with tech companies to help build smart cities applications and use cases for Ai, IoT, AR/VR, and data analytics in cities.

Neil Milliken, Global Head of Accessibility, Atos, AxChat, W3 consortium advisor

Neil is the Atos representative on the Business Disability Forum Technology Task Force and have successfully instigated the adoption of and implemented the Accessible Technology charter. His role is to help make the world a better place by delivering better technology for his customers and staff, embedding inclusive practice into the Business As Usual Processes of organisations with thousands of employees and turnovers numbering in billions. His clients include: BBC, Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Insolvency Service, and NHS.

Scott Edward Parazynski – Physician | former NASA astronaut

Scott is an American physician and a former NASA astronaut. A veteran of five Space Shuttle flights and seven spacewalks, Parazynski’s latest mission was STS-120 in October, 2007 – highlighted by a dramatic, unplanned EVA to repair a live solar array. arazynski said he wanted to build a company based on what he’d learned as an astronaut, from collaborating with colleagues around the world to training and designing things in virtual reality. In 2016, he founded Fluidity Technologies in Houston. The company’s first product, the FT Aviator, is a joystick used to fly DJI drones as smoothly as possible with just one hand.

Debra Ruh, Founder & CEO Ruh Global IMPACT

Debra has worked as a Global Inclusion Strategist since 2001. Before she became an entrepreneur she was an executive in the banking industry for many years. She created Ruh Global Communications to help clients reduce their compliance and brand risks associated with inclusion and create programs that act as a positive differentiator. The goal is to help our clients thrive in this space and empower them to be global problem solvers, champions of change, and transformational leaders of social change.

Joy Tan, SVP Public Affairs, Huawei

Joy leads a diverse team of communications and media affairs professionals to convey Huawei’s cutting-edge innovation and best practices as a global technology leader to U.S. audiences. Together with her team, she is committed to telling the unique story and rapid growth of Huawei, which has grown into a $122 billion multinational company, whose products and services are used across 170 countries from its inception over 30 years ago.

The inaugural summit reached 50,000+ live views 300,000+ post-live views with a global media outreach in social media and PR of over 10 million people!

The April 2021 summit and awards are expected to far exceed this with the addition of more key speakers and participants.

The event will be streamed in the fast-growing Dinis Guarda Youtube Podcast series: 


For more information:

Summit & Awards video:

Digital Twin Pioneer Cityzenith Predicts Futuristic 3D Sky Mapping Will Launch Low Carbon City Flight Revolution

Digital Twin pioneer Cityzenith

Digital Twin Pioneer Cityzenith Predicts Futuristic 3D Sky Mapping Will Launch Low Carbon City Flight Revolution.

Digital Twin pioneer Cityzenith

Science fiction fans can tick off one more prediction turned to reality as NASA aims to optimize local travel and commuting by air above cities.

A key enabler is Digital Twin technology, a ‘real-world SimCity’ software able to aggregate vast quantities of data on buildings, roads, infrastructure, vehicles, and even the space above into an interactive 3D virtual model of a city.

It is the potential to manage integrated drone and ‘new age’ air taxi routes in the air space that attracted a nationwide NASA search, leading Digital Twin pioneer Cityzenith to be 1 of just 10 tech companies presenting to senior NASA officials at the prestigious ‘Ignite the Night: Aeronautics’* NASA iTech virtual event on April 13, 2021.

NASA iTech identifies and searches for cutting-edge technologies being developed outside of NASA that solve problems on Earth, but also having the potential to address challenges facing exploration of the Moon and Mars.

The high-profile panel of judges includes:

Harry Partridge, Center Chief Technologist, NASA Ames Research Center

Kurt R. Sacksteder, Center Chief Technologist, NASA Glenn Research Center

David Voracek, Center Chief Technologist, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

Julie Williams-Byrd, Deputy Chief Technologist, NASA Langley Research Center

NASA’s vision for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aims to help develop air transportation to safely move people and cargo between places previously not served or underserved by aviation – local, regional, intra-regional, and urban – using revolutionary new aircraft only now becoming possible.

Michael Jansen, CEO of Chicago-based Cityzenith, said: “This will be the second presentation to NASA by my company and its SmartWorldOS™ software platform within weeks, and we are very honoured and excited to be the only Digital Twin company at this prestigious gathering.

“It highlights yet another application for Digital Twin technology and growing interest in flight above our cities, a dream dating back to the ground-breaking 1927 movie ‘Metropolis’ and many sci-fi classics since then, but now set to happen as we move to delivery by flying drones and then human travel by zero-carbon air vehicles using electric propulsion.

“It will open a whole new dimension to city life; no longer will high-rise living and working mean people must literally come down to earth to go elsewhere.

“But there is a real pressure to act, too: the World Economic Forum has reported that ground level delivery vehicles in the world’s 100 largest cities will increase 36% by 2030, carbon emissions from all urban delivery traffic will rise 32% and congestion will be up by 21%, adding 11 minutes to an average daily commute.

“NASA introduced the air taxi concept in 2001 and the race is now on to create the first viable electric machines in a market tipped to grow 26.2% annually to $6.63 billion by 2030**.

“This new air mobility can also significantly reduce greenhouse gases in cities, a goal of our Clean Cities – Clean Future mission to drive down urban carbon emissions. Cities produce more than 70% of global carbon emissions (source: UN) and that’s why we pledged to donate SmartWorldOS™ to key cities around the world, one at a time, to help the most polluted become carbon neutral.

“We are also expanding to meet demand for our Digital Twin capability as the post-COVID-19 ‘Build Back better’ initiative grows; we have just passed a $2.5 million milestone en route to a $10 million Regulation A+ crowdfunding investment raise.”