A Smarter Stavanger

Stavanger has established itself as one of the smartest regions in Europe. Companies like Lyse are in the driving seat.

Over the past five years the Stavanger-region has taken a leading position as a Smart City. Last week Nordic Edge Expo was staged in Stavanger Forum for the fourth year in a row. The convention attracted 5 000 visitors and 300 exhibitors from all over the world.

In parallel with the establishment of this international meeting-place, a national Smart City Cluster is being formed in Stavanger. The cluster constitutes a platform for companies (private and public), and municipalities for creating and refining a strong value chain within the field of smart technology.

In the driving seat 
One of the reasons why Stavanger is taking strong position within the Smart City domain, is based on superior infrastructure. This is where the company Lyse is playing a crucial role. Lyse is an integrated energy- and telecom company fully owned by the municipalities in the region.

Eirik Gundegjerde is Director for Strategic Projects at Lyse. He stresses the importance of the «infrastructure advantage» which this region has obtained.
- Infrastructure is the core competence for Lyse. Lyse has been building infrastructure and renewable power generation for 100 years. Since 2002 this competence . has been transformed into areas like telecom based on fibreoptic networks, and the Stavanger region has one of the most dense fiber infrastructure n the world.. This isfrastructure is a very important baseline for building new services for a smart city where everything is “connected”, Gundegjerde says.

There are many buzz-words flying around when we discuss Smart Cities and Smart Technologies, but how can these new technologies affect our daily lives in a positive way?
- There are endless opportunities. It’s about finding good use cases to achive better decisions, auotomate manual processes and giving the citicens access to relevant information. As an example during the last months a network of censors is being put in place in the region. These censors will help the local  authorities and the citicens in monitoring air-quality, water-temperature at the most popular beaches, ice-conditions on the bicycle roads, and the sea level in Våen. We will see new and smarter use of technology that can improve the quality of services in areas like education and health care as well.  

Gundegjerde stresses the importance of a continuous focus on innovation at both private companies and public bodies.
- This region has given itself a competitive advantage in building a solid infrastructure and have achieved a important Nordic position withing the smart city domain through Nordic Edge. Now this advantage must be utilised in creating new solutions, new applications and even more public-private partnerships and creating an industry within this domain. If we succeed, smart technology and solutions can become an important export articles in the future.

Skills in demand
Stavanger is a highly international region. There will always be a substantial number of highly qualified non-Norwegians looking for job-opportunities. Will there be opportunities in this area in the future?
- Definitely. This is a growing sector, and we will be needing skills in area like engineering, digitalisation and ICT. It is very important that the Stavanger Region remains attractive for highly competent people in this area, Gundegjerde concludes.  

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