In 2010, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi laid out a vision of a sustainable, environmentally-friendly economic development for the city of Nice. The plan called for the integration of different modes of transport, both public and private through an Eco-valley multi-modal hub system with the objective of reducing and limiting the environmental impact of individual travel. Nice is recognised as a world pioneer and well-known smart city, and has taken on the challenge of new technologies and new sectors, and is currently pursuing a resolutely ambitious policy aimed at improving the lives of its inhabitants, optimizing the management of the city and the creation of jobs.
Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur places innovation and sustainable development at the heart of its economic development strategy.
The many Smart City initiatives undertaken in its territory have led Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur to reinforce collaboration with major industrial groups, local SMEs and start-ups, especially those linked to the French Tech network and the world of research and education. In February 2015, the Nice Côte d‘Azur Metropolis opened its 'Smart City Innovation Centre, the first French platform to bring together stakeholders in research and learning as well as leading smart city-focused companies in a single location.
Nice Côte d’Azur, winner of the Idex Label 2016, is home to Nice Grid, the first French Smart Solar District demonstration project and is developing the ambitious Interflex project. It is also the winner of the Smart Innovation 2016 and Silver Decibel 2016 trophies for Urban Environmental Monitoring, listed as a Positive Energy Territory by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy. It was recently selected for the Smart City demonstration project by the Caisse des Dépôts and recognised for its innovativeness by the European Union, with a 1 million euro ERDF grant to amplify Smart City projects.
On 17 February 2016, the American market research firm, Juniper Research, which specialises in new technologies, unveiled its global ranking for 2016: Nice appears in 4th place behind Barcelona, New York and London and ahead of Singapore. The ranking takes into account these cities’ capacity in terms of the use of smart grids and road traffic and street lighting management together with aspects of social cohesion and technological expertise.
As highlighted earlier, Nice Mayor earmarked transportation as the major focus for economic growth and development in the city. Transportation can also be a hindrance with congestion decreasing personal and business productivity, lowering air quality and creating noise pollution. IBM postulates that the cost associated with congestion in cities around the world range between 1.5 – 4 percent of GDP. Nice has set a vision for the future of travel: seamless journeys for travellers. Therefore IBM was tasked with providing Nice with recommendations to improve and optimise its transportation system. Some of these recommendations include:
• Creating a Smart Cities Centre of Excellence to support projects
• Collaboration – improvement of citizen engagement and communication
• Creation of a Multimodal Transportation Data platform
• Promotion and implementation of Electric mobility
• Support of Advance Mobility Services
• Development of Innovative Pricing Schemes
The abovementioned needs provide ample opportunities for provision from potential partners towards the goal of project implementation and realisation.
Nice boasts of an eco-environment conducive to innovation. With the Eco-Vallée dedicated to sustainable development, the urban technology park Nice Méridia focused on clean tech and its innovative uses, through the many industrial partnerships on the theme of the smart city (Bosch, IBM, Cisco, Veolia, Schneider, Orange, Alstom, EDF-ERDF, …), with the academic institutions based at Nice Premium (Imredd, Sustainable Design School), the FabLab EcoLab and the brand new Smart City Innovation Centre in Nice, through large-scale smart grid projects (Nice Grid, Reflexe, CityOpt) and the start-ups of the Business Incubator Centre Nice Côte d’Azur (CEEI), Nice sustains an eco-environment conducive to innovation and emulation in the sectors of the smart city and innovative uses. There are so many reasons for industrial leaders and start-ups alike to choose the Eco-Vallée and the Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur for their future location projects.