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June 12, 2012 -- Technology and Economic Development Leaders Join Forces to Accelerate Smart Cities

Submitted by jdekeles on May 17, 2012

Jesse Berst, Managing Director
Global Smart Energy
(206) 201-1860

James Whittaker, Principal
Mercator XXI
(202) 413-6870
(202) 349-2904

Technology and Economic Development Leaders Join Forces to Accelerate Smart Cities
The Smart Cities Council, developed and managed  by Global Smart Energy and Mercator XXI, LLC, will hasten the adoption of digital technologies that can revolutionize urban life, making the world's cities more livable, more workable and more sustainable. The smart cities market is estimated to grow as large as US$2.1 trillion by 2020.

 REDMOND, WA, June 12, 2012 — The world is hurtling toward enormous urban agglomerations. Estimates suggest 6.4 billion people -- 70% of the world’s population -- will live in cities by 2050. Now two global consulting firms have come together to administer an industry group — backed by heavyweights such as General Electric, IBM, and Itron — to accelerate progress toward smart cities.

Global Smart Energy, of Redmond, Washington, and Mercator XXI, LLC, of Washington, DC, said the Smart Cities Council will help establish the technological, financial and policy underpinnings for clean cities with smart digital infrastructure (power, water, gas, transportation, communications, emergency response, etc.).

 The goal of the partnership is to team technology savvy with economic development expertise. "Of course we want smart city technology to bring us convenience, comfort and sustainability," explained Jesse Berst, Managing Director of Global Smart Energy. "But we also want it to bring jobs and growth. That's why I am so pleased to partner with esteemed economic development experts." Mercator XXI has a core team of policy and economic development specialists in Washington, D.C. plus an affiliate network in Canada, Japan, China, India and the Middle East.  This global team will be engaged in recruiting, managing and supporting SCC Partners, Advisors, events and initiatives in the regions.

“Innovation-driven economic development is the only realistic path to a sustainable and viable future for the world’s urban centers.  We are excited about partnering with Global Smart Energy to enable municipal leaders across the world to implement leading edge solutions, and to work with someone having a track record as a technology thought leader” said Christopher Caine, Mercator XXI founder and CEO.

James F. Whittaker, a principal at Mercator XXI, LLC, will be SCC’s Director.  He is a former executive with Intel and Hewlett-Packard with deep experience in international policy and government affairs. Global Smart Energy founder Jesse Berst will Chair the Council. Berst is an internationally known analyst and author who founded the Internet's oldest and largest smart grid site and co-founded the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative. Smart grid and smart infrastructure are widely viewed as the foundational technologies for an intelligent city. 

Vendor-neutral, open-standards guidance
With the help of its members and a worldwide Advisory Board of leading experts, the Council will develop a vendor-neutral Readiness Guide, propose financing templates and work closely with public sector leaders to shape policy to accelerate the build-out of smart cities. It seeks to answer questions such as: How do we architect a digital infrastructure to provide a foundation for future growth and prosperity? How do we pay for it? Which policies can speed success? How do we educate citizens about the benefits and bring them along as enthusiastic partners?  How far away is a city from being able to design and  implement a smart city strategy and plan?  What are the critical elements and when are they needed in place to advance its smart city vision?

Encouraging open standards for smart cities, the SCC will set the metrics that define a city’s intelligence. It will also work directly with global cities to help them assess their current standing and find ways to transition step-by-step to genuinely smart cities with a shared digital infrastructure, providing a robust platform for economic growth.

The Smart Cities Council is guided by an Executive Council, which presently includes General Electric, IBM and Itron. The Advisory Board now includes the following:

  • Carnegie Mellon University Smart Infrastructure Incubator [Pittsburgh, United States]
  • Climate Solutions, [Seattle, WA, United States]
  • Institute for Electric Efficiency [Washington, D.C., United States]
  • Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT [Sydney, Australia]
  • International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) [Geneva, Switzerland]
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory [Richland, WA, United States]
  • The Climate Group [London, U.K.; New York, United States; and Beijing, China]
  • Terrapin Bright Green [Washington, D.C., United States]
  • UK Technology Strategy Board (funders of the Future Cities Centre) [London, UK]
  • United Nations Foundation [Washington, D.C., United States]

About Smart Cities Council
The Smart Cities Council seeks to accelerate the development of smart cities that embody the three core values of workability, livability and sustainability. It wants to empower governments and citizens with digital tools to prosper in the global economy by creating an enabling environment for broad economic development.

About Jesse Berst, Chairman, Smart Cities Council
Jesse Berst is a pioneering thought leader in smart grid technologies and the founder of Global Smart Energy, which provides strategic consulting to corporations, startups and investment firms. A well-known technology analyst and founder of three high-tech publishing startups, Berst serves as the chief analyst of, the Internet’s oldest, largest and highest-ranked smart grid site, published by Global Smart Energy.

Berst was an early advisor to the GridWise Alliance and the co-founder of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, a nonprofit that accelerates development of consumer-friendly smart grids.  He serves on the advisory boards of the Institute for Electric Efficiency and of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which conducts some of the nation’s most advanced grid research.

About Jim Whittaker, Director, Smart Cities Council
James F. Whittaker, a principal at Mercator XXI, LLC, brings a wealth of international management and leadership experience from  global IT corporations, including Hewlett-Packard and Intel.   He also has deep advocacy and public policy experience at multilateral government organizations such as the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, United Nations Information and Communications Technology Task Force and the World Bank, and multilateral private sector organizations including the World Economic Forum and the Global Business Dialogue on E-Commerce.

Whittaker has worked with numerous advocacy groups and government advisory committees in Washington, D.C. He has chaired IT association policy groups, U.S. federal government IT advisory committees and high technology industry legislative campaigns in the U.S. Congress, helping lead efforts to pass the first R&D tax credit, NAFTA, WTO and U.S.-China (PNTR) trade deals.

About Mercator XXI and founder Chris Caine
Mercator XXI, LLC is a professional services firm that helps clients engage and execute growth strategies in the global economy. Drawing on over 30 years of business and marketplace experience in government and public affairs, it provides insights and support to capitalize on opportunities in around the world.

On behalf of companies, entrepreneurs, governments, NGOs, and trade associations, Mercator XXI approaches the future from a global perspective, and enables its clients to focus on a broader set of possible opportunities. Whether in developed, developing, or emerging markets, Mercator XXI helps its clients engage with governments and formulates a plan to operate in any environment.

Founder Christopher G. Caine draws on over 30 years of experience in government and public affairs and travel to over 40 countries. Mr. Caine was previously employed by IBM Corporation. For thirteen years, he had corporate responsibility for global public policy issues as Vice President, Governmental Programs. Mr. Caine also served as Director, Human Resources and Environmental Policy for IBM, responsible for public policy issues such as health-care reform, labor, personnel, health and safety, environment, and energy. Prior to IBM, Mr. Caine worked for the Coca-Cola Company, the Eaton Corporation, and the Electronic Industries Association.