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Uses for the smart city being studied in-depth by Montpellier researchers

Information updated on 14/12/21

Inaugurated in May, the international chair on uses and practices for the smart city brings together researchers from Montpellier and Montreal universities. Montpellier Métropole is one of the experimental sites, beginning in autumn 2019.

Photo d’inauguration à Montréal de la chaire internationale sur les usages et pratiques de la ville intelligente
Inauguration photo caption: The international chair on smart city uses and practices was inaugurated in Montreal on May 23, 2019. From left to right: Marie-Christine Lichtlé (director of Montpellier Management), Gilles N’Goala (co-holder of the Cit.Us chair), Sterling Downey (vice president of the City of Montreal municipal council), Pauline Folcher (co-holder of the Cit.Us chair), Florence Paulhiac (holder of the In.Situ chair), Hélène Roussel (director of the Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole Smart City mission), and Fabien Durif (vice-dean of research at ESG UQAM).

We focus on the people who use their own city. How do they feel about the “smart city” concept? What are their real uses for digital services and solutions?” asks Pauline Folcher, co-holder of the Cit.Us international chair on smart city uses and practices.

Founded in May 2019 by University of Montpellier’s Montpellier Management Institute, and the University of Quebec in Montreal’s School of Management, this chair’s goal is to study the “service-oriented, connected, and sustainable city” from its residents’ point of view, seeking to identify its positive impact on their daily lives.
The chair’s scientific approach is intended to challenge stereotypes.

We tend to think that the more a city is digitalized, the smarter it is. But we can also imagine it as being more human, more social, and more environmentally friendly,” highlights Pauline Folcher, marketing research-professor at Montpellier Management. “Not only that, but preliminary studies show that many residents do not have the impression that they live in a “smart city” and that applications are not used frequently.

Creation of an annual survey

Research is being carried out in partnership with local authorities and companies, which are both future fields for study and experimentation. In autumn 2019, the Cit.Us chair will test its first annual survey on smart city uses and practices with a representative sample of residents in Montpellier and about 20 other metropolitan areas. It also plans to provide an overview of digital solutions and their real uses in equipped cities.

“We hope that our research will enable public authorities to set up services and solutions that are truly useful for users,” adds Pauline Folcher.

The multidisciplinary team of researchers in Montpellier (marketing, tourism, food, services, and more) is already working on several innovative projects launched in Montpellier, including HUT (Human at Home, a new approach for human and intelligent housing) and droids (autonomous and environmentally-friendly delivery vehicles for downtown areas).

Montpellier, Smart City

On June 25, Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole launched a call for innovative and experimental projects with the potential to benefit the city. The objective is to identify 10 companies likely to lead to the emergence of innovative new service projects and uses for residents and/or the community. The 10 selected company projects will benefit from:
  • Support from Montpellier Métropole during experimentation
  • Montpellier BIC (Business & Innovation Centre) will provide operational follow-up for the winners and help them implement their projects in collaboration with business experts
  • Funding of up to €40,000 for project development
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