Filipa Cardoso

Would you consider joining a social network aimed exclusively at users who are interested and active in the field of smart cities? This is what Brazil-based company iCities, who have just launched the iCities Group online platform hope for. Similar to LinkedIn and reminiscent of Facebook, this new social network wants to bring together people from around the world, focusing solely on topics surrounding smart cities.
“It’s the first global social network targeting themes around intelligent cities, its goal is to organise content regarding smart cities into nine different interest groups”, explained André Telles, the co-founder and CMO of iCities – Smart Cities Solutions, a business which develops solutions and organises events for smart cities.

After registering, users can join one of the nine groups, according to their interests: smart security, sustainability & energy, urban mobility, architecture & urban planning, creative economics, healthy lifestyle, entrepreneurship & start-ups, public management, and  innovation in education. From that point, it’s possible to contact other members in the group, exchange messages, ask questions, post information on smart city projects,  “which could attract financing” and also post or respond to job offers. The platform uses a gamification strategy to encourage participation, with the most active users ranked top. iCities Group is also designed so that businesses can use it to advertise their products and solutions.

According to its creators, the platform hopes to be a way to “make connections, exchange knowledge and generate business between agents around the world interested in the topic of smart cities, such as universities, companies, public management and entrepreneurs”.

“How can we organise information on smart cities while generating business?” was the challenge which led the Brazilian company to develop this exclusive social network. “As we were looking at a broad and on-trend subject, we felt the need to create a digital environment where people around the world could connect to exchange knowledge and generate business around the future of cities” Telles explained.

With around a thousand users, the iCities Group is currently “selecting ambassadors for the platform in several key cities around the world“, a process led by Renato de Castro, iCities’ chief international officer. And that’s not all: for next year, the company has a host of new projects lined up - an iCities Lab - a living lab to demonstrate smart cities solutions in a house loaned by building company TecVerde; the iCities Acelerapar, an acceleration programme at the Innovation Centre in partnership with the Brazilian Institute for Quality and Productivity (IBQP), as well as launching the country’s first post-graduate course on smart cities, in a partnership with the Positivo University.