A new smart city virtual expo launched on Wednesday with the purpose of connecting government officials, universities, vendors, and others in the smart city community.

The Smart City Virtual Expo is an internal smart city portal with a virtual expo and a community for people to meet others with the same interests. Thibault Van der Auwermeulen, the Brussels-based founder of ExpoPolis, did a soft launch of a beta version of the site last month, and the full version launched today.

“This is for international communication [for] people working in smart cities all over the world. That will include public servants and also companies and startups with solutions for smart city problems,” Auwermeulen said.

SEE: Smart cities: 6 essential technologies (TechRepublic)

The idea for the expo came from the explosive growth of the smart city community. As more cities around the globe introduce smart city tech, and more conferences are developed to connect the individuals involved in this movement, it becomes cost prohibitive and too time consuming for city officials to attend every event.

“Participating in all of the events that are organized is impossible. It takes too much time or money to go there,” he said.

Auwermeulen developed the idea for the site after he attended a smart city expo in Barcelona, and he said that it was difficult for him to contact the city officials at the event. He wanted to make it easier for vendors with smart city solutions to communicate with municipalities.

To join the online community at the Smart City Virtual Expo for free, an individual must be verified as a city official. And companies must verify that they are an exhibitor with smart city tech and then they pay 400 euros a year for membership.

The site is available in English, French, German and Dutch, and in September, Spanish and Portuguese will be added.

Auwermeulen’s company ExpoPolis developed the software used on the new site. He founded ExpoPolis nine years ago to provide online virtual fairs for a range of industries.

The top 3 takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The Smart City Virtual Expo launched on Wednesday to connect government officials, universities, vendors, and others in the smart city community.
  2. Membership is free for city officials, and vendors pay 400 euros a year to join.
  3. The software for the site is from ExpoPolis, which was founded nine years ago. It produces other online virtual fairs.

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