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How the connected and inclusive city is taking shape in the Montpellier Métropole area

Information updated on 20/01/23

The city of Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole presented their approach during the IntercoTOUR on November 29.

IntercoTOUR Occitanie 2022
It is important to fully leverage digital technologies to further involve people with the policies that concern them. This is the path that Montpellier Métropole has chosen for building connected, inclusive, and virtuous cities that serve their residents effectively.
Manu Reynaud, deputy mayor of Montpellier in charge of Digital and Smart City development, and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole council member, reiterated this point on November 29 during the Occitanie IntercoTOUR focusing on the theme “Territory, a lever for building a virtuous digital society?” organized in Montpellier by Les Interconnectés in partnership with Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole.

“Our vision is based on fundamental values, including digital inclusion, transparency, protecting people’s private lives, and more,” he explains.

A pioneer in the field of open data and smart cities, Montpellier Métropole is paving the way towards “digital citizenship.” Manu Reynaud explained the situation by referring to an article written by Michaël Delafosse, Mayor of Montpellier and President of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, on March 31, 2021 in the newspaper La Libération.

“How can we improve the service we provide to users, and how can we simplify their daily tasks and make them more enjoyable? How can we co-build a smart city and a platform that offers people practical services?” asked Michaël Delafosse. “Citizen involvement is necessary for resolving these issues. Some good practices can serve as a guide. Early on, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole chose to focus on transparency by making public data available. This allows anyone to incorporate the facts in order to form their opinion.”

Based on its social contract, Montpellier Métropole and the city of Montpellier implement a strategy based on users, offering an indispensable trusted framework in order to help ensure that digital progress is shared by all.
In this context, Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole are paving the road towards general digital adoption as a means to fight against inequalities in terms of access. Twelve dedicated agents cover the territory to help Montpellier Métropole residents integrate digital uses in their lives. A partnership was established with PIX, a public interest group that has created an open online platform to test, develop, and certify people’s digital skills.
The city of Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole were early adopters of digital tools for many actions, including public cultural policy, projects such as “Fabre and the City”, and the geotagged Atlantide game for discovering masterpieces of historical heritage. In addition, the public authorities carry out experiments. Examples include the Carreta project (an autonomous vehicle for urban logistics) as well as the HUT project (HUman at home projecT).
Led by a consortium in which Montpellier Métropole is a member, the unique HUT experiment seeks to “explore and anticipate the effects of new technologies and connected objects on people’s daily behavior and well-being at home.
As part of the experiment, two students lived for four years in Montpellier in an “observatory apartment” equipped with 60 sensors and connected objects. How can technology improve our living conditions? How do we interact with “smart housing”? What types of information can and should be shared? What is the regulatory context for data?
Those were some of the questions addressed by the HUT project, along with issues that place Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole at the heart of an approach guided by “digital sobriety” and “judgment.”

“Digital technology cannot replace everything,” observes Manu Reynaud. The battle against digital waste is also a factor.

Personal data protection is quite clearly engraved in stone at this point, to the extent that forbidding facial recognition by public video cameras is being presented for vote by elected officials at the Montpellier City Council meeting on December 16.

“Montpellier will be the first city in France to implement this,” says Manu Reynaud. He adds: “The use of artificial intelligence must also be regulated.”

The connected and inclusive city must also be virtuous to encourage adoption by residents as well as co-construction with them.
BigUp wins competition for interconnected startups
A competition for interconnected startups was organized as part of the IntercoTOUR.  The event was won by the BigUp New Business Markers platform, which connects project leaders who have innovative solutions with businesses and local authorities.
===> Watch a replay of the Occitanie IntercoTOUR here.