Keynote Speakers

Keynote 1: Monday Morning

Saifur Rahman, Ph.D. 

Title: IEEE Smart Cities Technical Community – Helping to Make Smarter Cities A Reality


ABSTRACT: To address global challenges such as changing demographics, increasing congestion, climate change, etc. cities are searching for technical solutions with social inputs to become more citizen friendly, resilient, sustainable, and prosperous.  Such attributes comprising the “Smart Cities” concept, have garnered much attention in recent years from leaders of governments, industry, academia, and the technical and civic communities.  While this dedication of resources is essential to rapid advancement of global smart city capabilities, we need collaboration from communities of technical experts who will evaluate various alternatives for their cost, effectiveness and citizen acceptability. The IEEE Smart Cities Technical Community provides the forum, which brings together the broad array of technical societies within IEEE to lead global collaboration in the field.  In this talk, I will provide an overview of the IEEE Smart Cities technical community, its major activities, and opportunities to contribute.


BIOGRAPHY: Professor Saifur Rahman is the founding director of the Advanced Research Institute ( at Virginia Tech, USA where he is the Joseph R. Loring professor of electrical and computer engineering. He also directs the Center for Energy and the Global Environment ( He is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and an IEEE Millennium Medal winner. He is the president of the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) for 2018 and 2019. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the IEEE Electrification Magazine and the IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy. He has published over 130 journal papers and has made over four hundred conferences and invited presentations. In 2006 he served on the IEEE Board of Directors as the vice president for publications. He is a distinguished lecturer for the IEEE Power & Energy Society and has lectured on renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid, electric power system operation and planning, etc. in over 30 countries. He is the founder of BEM Controls, LLC, a Virginia (USA)-based software company providing building energy management solutions. He served as the chair of the US National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for International Science and Engineering from 2010 to 2013. He has conducted several energy efficiency related projects for Duke Energy, Tokyo Electric Power Company, the US Department of Defense, the State of Virginia and the US Department of Energy.


Keynote 2: Monday Morning

Shashi Shekhar, Ph.D.

Title: Transforming Smart Cities and Communities with Spatial Computing


ABSTRACT: Spatial methods have a rich history of reforming cities and communities. For example, John Snow‘s 1854 London Cholera map impelled cities to protect drinking water via sewer systems and to increase green spaces for public health . Today, Geospatial data and mapping is among Technology that cities use the most due to strategic (e.g., long-term planning, land-use), tactical (e.g., zoning, property tax, site selection, asset tracking) and operational (e.g., E-911, situation awareness, gunshot location) use cases. Moreover, they (e.g., Google Maps) help citizens navigate, drones stay clear of restricted spaces (e.g., airports, NFL games), and sharing-economy (e.g., Uber) match consumers with nearby providers.

Future spatial computing opportunities for smart cities are even more compelling. Next generation GPS and positioning may help better locate E-911 callers in high-rise buildings or underground spaces. Higher resolution and continuous remote sensing may help monitor sensitive areas, map tree species (e.g., Ash) or poorly-insulated buildings and create high-fidelity maps for self-driving vehicles. Spatial Databases may help identify under-served areas and geographic interdependence across infrastructures (e.g., water main above a train tunnel with a crucial optical fiber) to improve access and resilience. Spatial Data Science may identify infrastructure deprivation hotspots and their correlates (e.g., co-locations, tele-connections) to generate hypothesis for theory formation. GIS may help re-imagine, redesign, see and compare alternative infrastructure futures to address risks (e.g., climate change, rising inequality) and opportunities (e.g., autonomous vehicles, distributed energy production).

This talk will discuss the above topics leveraging research agenda and early results from our NSF S&CC project titled Connecting Smart-City Paradigm with a Sustainable Urban Infrastructure Systems Framework to Advance Equity in Communities.


BIOGRAPHY: Shashi Shekhar, a McKnight Distinguished University Professor at the University of Minnesota and an U.C. Berkeley alumnus, is a leading scholar of spatial computing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He is serving as the President of the University Consortium for GIS, a member of the Computing Research Association (CRA) board, and a co-Editor-in-Chief of Geo-Informatica journal (Springer). Earlier, he served on many National Academies’ committees. Recognitions include IEEE-CS Technical Achievement Award, UCGIS Education Award, IEEE Fellow and AAAS Fellow. Contributions include algorithms for evacuation route planning and spatial pattern (e.g., colocation, linear hot-spots) mining, an Encyclopedia of GIS and a Spatial Databases textbook.


Keynote 3: Tuesday Morning

Bas Boorsma 

Title: Towards a New Digital Deal for our Communities


ABSTRACT: Many cities aim to embark on ambitious innovation and digitalization strategies – or already have. In this talk, I will address the following questions.

What makes such strategies result in the impact hoped for? What can be learned from he many successes and failures observed in the ‘smart city’ space of the past ten years? What are the building blocks of a comprehensive digitalization effort for a community? What are the skills and competencies executing organizations need to gear up for? What are some of the key questions emerging from smart city initiatives that are up for attention of the research community? 


BIOGRAPHY: Bas Boorsma is a leading digitalization and smart community specialist. Bas serves as the managing director of Rainmaking Urban (part of the Rainmaking group of companies – and is CEO of TASC, the academy for smarter communities ( Bas also serves at Adjunct Professor at the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at the Arizona State University. Bas is the author of the well-acclaimed book “A New Digital Deal”. (September 2017 – Prior to heading up Rainmaking Urban, Bas served in various global and regional leadership positions at Cisco. From 2015 to 2018, Bas served as Cisco’s Digitization lead for the Northern European region at Cisco.

About his book: `A New Digital Deal. Beyond Smart Cities. How to Best Leverage Digitalization for the Benefit of our Communities` (2017 – Available in English (print/e-book), Italian. Arabic edition will be out in early 2019.


Keynote 4: Tuesday Morning

Raj Jain, Ph.D.

Title: Recent Advances in Networking and their Impact on Smart Cities


ABSTRACT: This talk is about the recent advances in networking that affect smart cities. Software-defined networking (SDN) is now past. The end result of SDN is disaggregation with open source hardware and software. Open sourcing has now become the fastest way to introduce new research, idea, concept or technology by companies of all sizes. Other related developments are micro-clouds, edge computing, micro-services, containerization, blockchains, and AI. All these trends introduce new opportunities and challenges for city IT administrators that will be discussed in this talk. 


BIOGRAPHY: Raj Jain is the Barbara J. and Jerome R. Cox, Jr., Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. Previously, he was one of the Cofounders of Nayna Networks, Inc – a next-generation telecommunications systems company in San Jose, CA. Dr. Jain has a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and computer science from Harvard University. He is a Fellow of IEEE, ACM, AAAS, and Academy of Science St. Louis. He is the recipient of 2017 ACM SIGCOMM award and numerous other awards. With 27,000+ citations according to Google Scholar, he is one of the most cited authors in computer science. Further information is at



Keynote 5: Tuesday Lunch

Julie Lorenz 

Title: Automated Vehicles – Promise or Paradox?


ABSTRACT: As we look at the future, it is clear there will be both disruptive and transformative changes throughout the transportation industry. The adoption of autonomous and connected vehicles will have a large effect on the services we provide and, to meet these changing needs, it is important that organizations adapt and innovate. Disruptions might be uncomfortable on a business and personal level, but they can lead to transformations that propel us forward.

Managing change requires a culture geared toward innovation. While there are a lot of things we don’t know about the future, we do know the rate of adoption of new technology is accelerating. Our approach to autonomous and connected vehicles mirrors the way we confront changes driven by technology and economics, and we’re sure to see both incredible disruption and amazing transformation in the near future. This session will help you think about how your organization needs to innovate to adapt to the changing nature of the transportation industry and provide better service to customers.


BIOGRAPHY: Julie Lorenz leads Burns & McDonnell’s national strategic consulting and policy practice for transportation.  She’s recognized as a national leader in areas of facilitation and collaboration and regularly leads research for the National Academies of Science on emerging trends, technology and fostering innovation.  Her group specializes in building momentum for statewide and local transportation initiatives across the country.  Julie is pleased to serve as co-chair of the Chamber’s Transportation Big 5 initiative, focusing on regionalism and transportation improvements needed to position KC as a premier mid-size city for the next 20 years.

With a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology, Julie has published three TRB journal articles on the topics of culture change, collaboration, and economic analysis.


Keynote 6: Wednesday Morning

Paolo Bouquet, Ph.D. 

Title: Sport as a Driver for the Development of Smart Communities in Smart Cities


ABSTRACT: In this talk, I will address the following question: can sport be a good driver for the development of smart communities and smart city applications?

To answer this question, I will start from the definition of sport provided by the EU Expert Group on the Economic Dimension of Sport (also known as “the Vilnius definition”), which offers a broad vision of sport and what its social and economic impact is in modern societies. On this basis, I will argue that:

  • Sport has a huge potential as a driver for smart city applications in several different sectors (like health, education, mobility, food). In other words, sport is a very powerful factor that can help smart cities and smart communities to happen or develop;
  • Sport and smart cities share many technological enablers (like sensors, IoT, intelligent materials, big data analytics, …), which creates a very favorable context for their convergence into a single, integrated ecosystem.

I will support these points through several examples of smart city projects and initiatives which are connected to sport in different ways.


BIOGRAPHY: Paolo Bouquet is Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Trento (Italy). His research interests cover artificial intelligence, semantic web technologies, knowledge management, big data. In 2010 Paolo co-founded OKKAM (a University of Trento spinoff company) and is currently President the company’s Executive Board. Since 2009, Paolo is Pro-Rector for sport development in his university. As such, he was the Chair of the 2013 Winter Universiade conference on “Sport as a driver for innovation”, in 2015 he was appointed national expert of the Italian government on the economic impact of sport in the EU expert group. In 2017 he was the local organizer of the first hackathon of the Italian national Football Federation (FIGC). Paolo is an advisory board member of HYPE Sports Innovation and in 2017 he co-launched the Italian node of the HYPE Labs, an international sport startup accelerator network. He is also a member of the think tank on “smart cities” of the city of Trento.


Keynote 7: Wednesday Morning

Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Ph.D. 

Title: Towards a Decentralized Data Marketplace for Smart Cities


ABSTRACT: One of the ways in which a city can become smarter is to grow a local economy around the sharing of data from IoT devices and other open data that can be used in applications to improve the lives of its citizens.  I will motivate and describe one such effort to build a real time IoT data marketplace for smart cities and communities: the I3 project, led by USC in collaboration with the City of LA and several companies (see Going beyond the state of the art, I will also discuss how a decentralized data marketplace could be created using blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies. We consider the possible benefits of such a decentralized architecture, identify different elements that such a decentralized marketplace should have, consider how they could be potentially integrated into a comprehensive solution and what some of the open research problems are.


BIOGRAPHY: Bhaskar Krishnamachari is Professor and Ming Hsieh Faculty Fellow in Electrical Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Electrical Engineering since 2002. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science. He is the Director of the Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things, and the Autonomous Networks Research Group, and Co-Director of the Ming Hsieh Institute for Electrical Engineering as well as the USC Center for Human Applied Reasoning and the Internet of Things.


Keynote 8: Wednesday Lunch 

Ken Keiser, CISSP

Title: Cybersecurity for Smart Cities


ABSTRACT: The smart cities movement centers on the digitalization of big data and how cities can manage that data for the benefits of their citizens. But cities are more than data, they are also three-dimensional entities i.e., infrastructure. Cities become smart when they have converged the big data collected by various sources and the infrastructure that make cities work. The current system of protecting that large converged data/infrastructure system is to overlay cybersecurity onto physical operational systems. The problem with an overlay is that it is an afterthought and never works as well as an integrated design. Instead of adding one system, (a security system) to a legacy infrastructure, I want to discuss how to create infrastructure that is secure in the first place.


BIOGRAPHY: Ken Keiser is the Director of Operational Technology Cybersecurity at Parsons Corporation, focusing on critical infrastructure protection risk analysis, and mitigation in the transportation, oil & Gas, water, steel, automotive, and chemical industries. He has over 30 years of industrial control system experience in distributed control systems with Bailey Controls, ABB, and Siemens. Most recently, Ken was the interim Chief Information Security Officer for Amtrak as part of a Parsons project. He holds a Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification as well as a Payment Card Industry Qualified Security Assessor certification. Ken holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.