2021 is an exciting year for the growing smart cities sector. With so many smart city events happening worldwide, there are numerous opportunities to discover the latest trends and network with smart city organizations, city officials, and other urban innovators across all four seasons.
After 2020 and a year in which events have all been cancelled or transformed into 100% digital, it is good to return to appointments and face-to-face meetings.
That said, as the health situation does not facilitate travel and large gatherings for the moment, the start of the year will see a majority of the events being held digitally.
As it can be challenging to find the most relevant events for you, we’ve cherry-picked the very best to make your life easier. Take a look at our comprehensive guide to 2021’s best smart city events and start planning your annual conference calendar now.
When? 01 March – 3 March 2021
Where? Digital event
What? Smart Cities Expo World Forum normally combines the power of collocated conference with state-of-the-art expo floor in order to educate people towards smart cities and urban planning technologies, strive for innovation, promote business and connect thousands of smart city experts from around the globe. However, this 2021 edition is limited to a digital-only event.
Why you should attend: Attending this online conference, you will be part of a global community and tech ecosystem that is committed to creating optimum solutions, developing a more stable economy, improving our quality of life and promoting a better future, by considering incoming smart city trends and disruptive technologies.
When? 15 March – 16 March 2021
Where? Dubai, UAE
What? Smart City Expo educate people towards smart cities and urban planning technologies, promote innovative business solutions, and connect thousands attendees from around the globe.
Why you should attend: Smart City Expo being digitalised this year will focus on conferences. Committed to determine and propose solutions for smart cities planning, implementation, and policy-making by taking into account of recent technological advancements and innovations, the event aims to be the place to congregate urban capacity, to increase the strength of cities, to identify and promote business opportunities, to increase the productivity in short time, to establish partnerships and contribute to implement relevant policies.
When? 16 March – 20 March 2021
Where? Digital event
What? The Cities Summit at SXSW provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn, and network, coming together to transform the cities of tomorrow.
Why you should attend: This smart city event is unique in bringing together all types of professionals working in the city space – from city officials, to urban artists, to big tech firms. Its talks tend to be more varied and can therefore be very insightful in terms of giving a glimpse into alternative, “outsider” perspectives and new, radical ideas.
When? 17 March – 18 March 2021
Where? Digital event
What? The event is a free online conference consisting of thought leadership discussions exploring the IoT ecosystem.
Why you should attend: Consisting of live and on-demand sessions, the conference will explore this innovative technology and its impact on a range of industries including, manufacturing, transport, supply chain, government, legal sectors and financial services energy, utilities, insurance, healthcare, retail and more.
The Virtual Expo will provide insight from over 40 speakers sharing their unparalleled industry knowledge and real-life experiences in the forms of solo presentations, expert panel discussions and in-depth fireside chats.
When? 23 March – 26 March 2021
Where? Taipei, Taiwan
What? The event this year consists of a trade show in Taipei accompanied by a simultaneous virtual event.
Why you should attend: This year’s event will host a gathering of mayors from cities around the world to share their experiences around smart cities.
The event is intended to be multidisciplinary and will be a mix between conferences, mitchmaking, meetings and a contest of innovative start-ups: the 2021 AI 50 Campaign’s Application.
When? 31 March – 1 April 2021
Where? Digital event
What? Cisco Live delivers education, connection and inspiration to technology enthusiasts.
Why you should attend: Cisco Live is where the “heroes of the digital age unite to make anything and everything possible.” Cisco is a key player in the international smart cities space, so you know from the outset that this event is important if you are working in this sector. The great thing about this conference though (compared to others) is its focus on learning: you can take part in programs, such as their IT management program, where you will gain concrete professional skills while simultaneously networking with other smart city experts and Cisco’s leading lights.
When? 21 April – 24 April 2021
Where? Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
What? Smart Cities Asia Conference aims to be the intersection between urban planning, technology, governance, and citizen involvement to address the modern challenges of cities.
Why you should attend: This conference provides the opportunity to discover and discuss some of the most creative emergent smart cities practices from the Asian region – an area renowned for its technological innovation and fast economic growth.
When? 26 April – 28 April 2021
Where? San Antonio TX, USA
What? The SMART Airports & Regions Conference & Exhibition is the premier event covering how SMART airports and their adjacent regions are leveraging “connectivity” to stimulate “innovation and opportunity.”
Why you should attend: The annual SMART Airports & Regions Conference and Exhibition will explore the catalytic effect and critical success factors covering the economic development ecosystem of SMART airports and the regions they serve, integrate and connect with.
When? 12 May – 13 May 2021
Where? Warsaw, Poland
What? The Smart City Forum is the largest congress in Poland devoted to the functioning and development of smart cities.
Why you should attend: The event gathers decision-makers at the national level, local government administration, and well-known experts from industries such as transport, construction, security, energy, data management, and also public services, which makes this Smart City event the most important initiative in Poland devoted to smart cities on such a scale and with such substantive background.
This upcoming edition is done for making the visitors consider how cities and regions are to manage in times of crisis and pandemic.
When? 14 May – 15 May 2021
Where? New York City, USA
What? Smart Cities New York (SCNY) is North America’s leading global conference to address and highlight critical solution-based issues that cities are facing as we move through the 21st century. It is the biggest North America’s smart city event that is going to happen this year.
Why you should attend: SCNY brings together top thought leaders and senior members of the private and public sector to discuss investments in physical and digital infrastructure, health, education, sustainability, security, mobility, and workforce development to ensure there is an increased quality of life for all citizens as we move into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
When? 31 May 2021
Where? Barcelona, Spain
What? Smart Building Conference is a full-day conference produced by Integrated Systems Events. It is the must-attend pan European conference for professionals working in the smart buildings, smart homes and smart workplaces industry.
Why you should attend: The day-long conference will explore how the unfolding new technology landscape facilitates the deployment of smart technology within buildings. The event will see top expert speakers presenting ideas throughout the day alongside a host of new innovation workshops.
When? 16 June – 18 June 2021
Where? Rotterdam, Netherlands
What? The Urban Future Global Conference happens every year in different European cities and brings along CityChangers from all over the world. The conference is Europe’s largest event on sustainable cities.
Why you should attend: Every year, the event evolves around new main topics. The four focus areas are changing from year to year, taking into consideration any input they get from local and international stakeholders. This year, the four core themes are Urban Mobility, Skills and Leadership, Circular, and Districts and Neighbourhoods.
At Urban Future, you will have the chance to meet mayors, architects, mobility experts, city planners, scientists, sustainability managers, representatives from start-ups, environmentalists, innovation experts, and many more.
When? 17 June – 19 June 2021
Where? Shanghai, China
What? Intertraffic a bi-annual event that is key to staying up to speed on the developments in the fields of infrastructure, safety, parking, smart mobility, and traffic management.
Why you should attend: The event features hundreds of exhibiting companies from more than 40 countries. Over 11,892 traffic and mobility professionals will attend the event, making Intertraffic China a prominent platform for professionals to exchange knowhow, create high-quality leads and build long-lasting relations in the region.
When? 20 June – 24 June 2021
Where? Singapore, Singapore
What? The World Cities Summit is an exclusive platform for government leaders and industry experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships.
Why you should attend: Since its inauguration in 2008, the biennial Summit has been attended by over 250 global cities and supported by leaders from government, business, international organizations and academia. As in previous editions, the WCS workshops will help connect global cities with consultants, funders and solution providers to tackle their urban challenges in a concrete way.
When? 28 June – 1 July 2021
Where? Barcelona, Spain
What? 4YFN Barcelona brings together the international startup community where innovators, founders, creators, and leaders gather to shape the future.
Why you should attend: The 4YFN exhibition is an integral part of the Mobile World Congress, the world’s leading exhibition for the cell phone industry. 4YFN is therefore the antechamber of the show, which highlights start-ups and all the technological innovations in the field.
Where? 28 June – 1 July 2021
When? Barcelona, Spain
What? Mobile World Congress is the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, organized by the GSMA and held in the Mobile World Capital, Barcelona.
Why you should attend: The MWC is the annual event for technology companies, especially those focused on IoT and telecoms, and includes both huge multinationals and emerging start-ups (in particular at its parallel event, 4 Years From Now, mentioned just above).
A lot of these companies are already in the smart cities space, especially those related to IoT and mobility, but others are now looking to get involved. While the conference is not specifically focused on smart cities, this gives you the advantage of being able to meet a greater diversity of companies whose technologies may be relevant to the smart cities industry even if they have not entered this space yet. This is your chance to meet not only the smart city divisions of the big tech companies but also the new players in this field, allowing you to know in advance what lies ahead regarding 2018’s smart city tech innovations.
When? 6 September – 7 September 2021
Where? London, UK
What? The IoT Tech Expo is one of the world-leading IoT conferences. It will bring together key industries from across the globe for two days of top-level content and thought leadership discussions across 5 co-located events covering IoT, 5G, Cyber Security & Cloud, Blockchain, AI & Big Data, and the newly added Digital Transformation track.
Why you should attend: The Expo will showcase the most cutting-edge technologies from more than 125 exhibitors and provide insight from over 100 speakers sharing their unparalleled industry knowledge and real-life experiences in the forms of solo presentations, expert panel discussions and in-depth fireside chats.
The topics are very varied and there will be subjects for every center of interest: Digital Transformation, Data Analytics, IIoT & Smart Manufacturing, Connected Environments, Developing for the IoT, Process Optimisation, Sensor Deployment, Connectivity Considerations, 5G & Future Connectivity, Security & Standards, Cloud Computing, Autonomous Transportation, Device & Asset Management, Connected Fleets & Smart Logistics, R&D, Smart Energy & Enterprise Sustainability, Industry Collaborations & more.
When? 14 September – 15 September 2021
Where? Dubai, UAE
What? AFCS Dubai is UAE’s leading smart city event. Over 400 senior executives from municipalities & government, developers, technology and sustainability experts, designers and architects attend each year.
Why you should attend: This conference brings together a wide variety of mobility, sustainability leaders, solution providers, and security vendors, giving you the opportunity to interact with those working in the cities space in the Middle-East and beyond. This 2021 edition of the conference will analyze the rapid development this region has seen in order to evolve into one of the leading smart cities in the world.
When? 17 September – 19 September 2021
Where? Frankfurt, Germany
What? The International Conference on Transport and Smart Cities gathers researchers from around the world to share the latest advances in the field of Smart Cities, with a focus on Transportation.
Why you should attend: ICoTSC 2021 welcomes researchers, engineers, scientists and industry professionals to an open forum where advances in the field of Transport and Smart Cities can be shared and examined. The conference is an ideal platform for keeping up with advances and changes to a consistently morphing field. Leading researchers and industry experts from around the globe will be presenting the latest studies through papers and oral presentations.
When? 21 September – 23 September 2021
Where? Washington D.C, USA
What? ISS World Americas is the world’s largest gathering of America’s law enforcement, Homeland Security, defense, public safety and other members of the government intelligence community as well as telecom operators responsible for cyber threat intelligence gathering, DarkNet monitoring, lawful interception, and cybercrime investigations.
Why you should attend: ISS World Programs present the methodologies and tools for law enforcement, public safety, and government intelligence communities in the fight against drug trafficking, cyber money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism, and other criminal activities conducted over today’s telecommunications networks, the internet, and social networks.
When? 5 October – 6 October 2021
Where? Paris, France
What? After three years held in parallel in the same pavilion, a new stage will be reached in 2021, that the IoT World – MtoM & Connected Objects – Embedded trade shows will be grouped together.
Why you should attend: The exhibition will bring together various activities with different formats: keynotes, round tables, expert opinions…These conferences aim to provide the audience with the visions, analyses, expertise, and user feedback from experts, personalities, academics, consultants, industrialists and customers concerned by these subjects, technologies, applications and services, developments, best practices.
When? 5 October – 7 October
Where? Barcelona, Spain
What? The IOTSWC 2021 edition is focusing on industrial customer demand instead of vendor-centric. It’s the place where end-users come to discuss their projects and where the discussion leads to sales for vendors.
Why you should attend: The event is focused on targeted end-user. Indeed, according to the market trends and evolution we are switching to focus on industrial customer demand powering IOTSWC as the platform where end-users come to discuss their projects in a peer to peer environment, creating a discussion that leads to sales for providers.
When? 11 October – 15 October 2021
Where? Hamburg, Germany
What? The ITS World Congress provides the ideal opportunity for all city stakeholders to come together, discuss and make the necessary contacts to move initiatives forward and to develop their business by exhibiting and demonstrating state of the art ITS solutions.
Why you should attend: If you’re in the smart cities space and working on anything to do with urban mobility, this is an essential conference for 2021. Not only will you have the chance to meet other professionals and government officials working in smart mobility, but you can also get ahead on the latest developments in ITS and attend numerous workshops on this topic, giving you access to the world’s current, and future, best practices in ITS. Plus, this is a bi-annual opportunity to attend an ITS World Congress in the European region – so don’t miss it!
When? 17 October – 21 October
Where? Dubai, UAE
What? The Gitex is the UAE region’s biggest technology event, and a good place for taking the opportunity to put tech strategies into action-mode and source cutting-edge innovations from around the world, with a choice and scale that no other show can match.
Why you should attend: In 2020, in the aftermath of the coronavirus, Gitex was the only large-scale trade show to take place physically and not only digitally. This confirms the event’s position as one of the world’s leading events on the subject of IoT and new technologies. It is also the best place to interact with EMEA decision-makers on solutions for their cities.
When? 26 October – 28 October 2021
Where? Panama City, Panama
What? ISS World Latin America is the world’s largest gathering of Central and South American law enforcement, intelligence and Homeland Security Analysts as well as telecom operators responsible for hi-tech electronic investigations and cyber intelligence gathering.
Why you should attend: You will not only get to network with the key players in the Central and South American Security and Intelligence sectors but you will also get the chance to find out about the latest methodologies and tools for law enforcement, public safety and Government Intelligence in the fight against drug trafficking, cyber money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism, and other criminal activities conducted over today’s telecommunications network and the internet.
When? 9 November – 10 November 2021
Where? London, UK
What? MOVE brings together people and companies redefining the transport industry around the world. The event is dedicated to the tech & transport unicorns engineering the future.
Why you should attend: With an audience of over 10,000 attendees, companies can showcase their mobility solutions to many of the industry’s leading players. The event will include 400 speakers across 18 stages, as a hub for inspiration from across the globe, and play host to 500 of the world’s most exciting start-ups in the field.
When? 9 November – 11 November 2021
Where? Mexico City, Mexico
What? As presented earlier in this article, Intertraffic is a bi-annual event. After a first gathering in China, the second one in 2021 will take place in Mexico, presenting innovations in the fields of infrastructure, safety, parking, smart mobility, and traffic management.
Why you should attend: The event, staged in Mexico City, provides a prominent platform for professionals to exchange know-how, create high-quality leads, and build long-lasting relations in the region. It provides visitors with a global presence in Mexico and more generally for all of LATAM from which they can benefit all year round.
When? 16 November – 18 November 2021
Where? Barcelona, Spain
What? Smart City Expo World Congress is the world-leading summit of discussion about the link between urban reality and the technological revolution. Since its first edition in 2011, it has become a dominant global event in supporting the development of cities.
Why you should attend: This smart city event is probably the number one annual world congress on smart cities. It’s the place to explore all the latest smart city projects and technologies and to build valuable connections with key decision-makers across the spectrum of city councils, government institutions, established businesses, and new industry disruptors.
When? 16 December – 17 December 2021
Where? Bangkok, Thailand
What? The International Research Conference is a federated organization dedicated to bringing together a significant number of diverse scholarly events for presentation within the conference program.
Why you should attend: The Bangkok ISCS aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers, and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Smart Cities. It also provides a premier interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners, and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends, and concerns as well as practical challenges encountered and solutions adopted in the fields of Smart Cities.
Now you have all the information, it’s time to get planning your own 2021 smart city events calendar. We’ll meet you there.