A Great Success: 1st International Conference on Smart Tourism, Smart Cities and Enabling Technologies

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A Great Success: 1st International Conference on Smart Tourism, Smart Cities and Enabling Technologies

The inaugural International Conference on Smart Tourism, Smart Cities and Enabling Technologies recently wrapped up at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management with great success. Jointly organized by the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), The Smart Conference took place in Orlando, Florida, from  May 1-4, 2019 – in the heart of hospitality at Rosen College – within the tourism hub of the city. Three days of keynote speakers, panel discussions and thematic presentations engaged industry professionals, alumni of both colleges, and academics from around the globe.

Rosen College Public Relations Assistant Director, Susan Vernon-Devlin, served as the MC for the first day of the conference. The day kicked off with a welcome address from  Youcheng Wang,Ph.D., Dean of Rosen College, who was eager to get the presentations underway. A video welcome from the Honorable Buddy Dyer, Mayor of the City of Orlando, immediately followed the dean’s time at the podium and then Professor Satish Ukkusuri from Purdue University delivered a keynote on Smart Mobility Analytics and an Era of Accelerated Technological Change. Professor Ukkusuri’s research looked at traffic patterns, self-autonomous vehicles and how this rapid change is affecting the way transportation is used.

A thematic panel discussion followed a short refreshment break on the first day.   Moderator Mohamed Abdel Aty, Ph.D., a Pegasus Professor at UCF from the College of Engineering and Copmputer Science introduced the following panelists from industry and academia who presented on their expertise:

  • Presenter 1. Professor Kaan Ozbay, Ph.D.,Tandon School of Engineering; Title: Data-driven Transportation Incident/Emergency Planning and Operations in the Age of Smart and Connected Cities
  • Presenter 2. Jeremy Dilmore, Florida Department of Transportation; Title: Florida Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Efforts
  • Presenter 3. Samiul Hasan, Ph.D., Asst Prof. UCF; Title: Applications of Deep Learning Techniques for Smart Traffic Management and Operations
  • Presenter 4. Lisingsha Yue (Yueli), Ph.D. candidate, UCF; Title: Safety Benefits of Advanced Driver Assistant Systems and Intelligent Transportation Systems in Future Smart City
  • Presenter 5. Jinghui Yuan, Ph.D. candidate, UCF; Title: Arterial-Level Real-Time Crash Risk Prediction Using Deep Learning

Presenter Jeremy Dilmore, the only non-scholar on the panel, shared news about technology used to track traffic accidents on Florida’s highways and the testing of autonomous truck convoys, the perils of technology that does not work in heavily wooded areas and the use of apps by drivers to find the best routes.

The conference’s first day continued with back-to-back panels, the first focused on Governments Putting Smart to Work for Innovative Transformation, Citizen Engagement and Social Impact and moderated by Waldemar Karwowski, Ph.D, Pegasus Professor and Chair, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems College of Engineering and Computer Science. Two of the participants on the panel were from IBM, the third from UCF:

  • Panelist 1: Brigitte Sollie, North America Government and Higher Education Industry Advocate focused on Cloud, Watson/AI, and Security, IBM
  • Panelist 2: Amy Freeman, IBM Lead Technical Advisor focusing on Government and Higher Education
  • Panelist 3: Thomas O’Neal, Professor IEMS, UCF

Each of the panelists shared their expertise on using Smart Technology for a range of issues including emergency management, security and safety, identification technology, online education and connectivity. The panel immediately following, moderated by  Tingting Zhang, Ph.D., a professor at Rosen College focused on Smart Tourism and featured the following panelists:

  • Panelist 1:  Professor Daniel R. Fesenmaier, Ph.D. National Laboratory for Tourism and adjunct professor, Modul University, Vienna
  • Panelist 2: Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Oh.D., Lab and Deputy Director of the International Center for Tourism and Hospitality Research, Bournmouth University, UK
  • Panelist 3: Timothy Jung, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the Creative AR & VR Hub and Head of MMU AR and VR Research Group at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
  • Panelist 4:  Ahmet Ozturk, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Rosen College of Hospitality Management
  • Panelist 5: Arthur Huang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Rosen College of Hospitality Management

The discussion focused on what Smart Tourism means  — and the definition was varied, from having an experience that leaves a lasting memory due to excellent technological advancements  to utilizing apps to the enhancement of experiences based. The day ended with a networking event.

The second day of The Smart Conference was MCd by Alan Fyall, Ph.D., Interim Chair of the Tourism, Entertainment and Attractions Department and Director of Graduate Programs at Rosen College.  Fyall delivered a brief presentation on the Master’s degree Program on Travel Technology and Analytics, a degree program offered jointly by the conference’s two host colleges.

Fyall then had the pleasure of introducing keynote speaker Professor Sajal K. Das, Ph.D, from Missouri University of Science and Technology, who presented on Designing Sustainable Smart and Connected communities. Professor Das focused on all aspects of smart cities from transportation to housing, to creating lines of communication for future development.

Following a refreshment break for networking and reviewing research posters placed in the Rosen College breezeway, conference attendees returned to thematic presentations. The first was moderated by Ivan Garibay, Ph.D., from the College of Engineering and Computer Science, a fireside chat with industry experts from Siemens focused on Using Big Data to Catalyze Innovation and Economic Prosperity in Smart Cities. The presenters spoke about crisis management in smart cities and smart communities, using apps, working with smart technology for sustainable growth and left the audience with some questions as to how they would implement new applications.  The second thematic session of the day, moderated by Yan Solihan, Ph.D. also from the College of Engineering and Computer Science was focused on Emerging Issues in Cyber Security and Privacy. In today’s world where most people have an online presence, make payments online and conduct a great deal of communication online, we are all subjects to hacking, phishing, scams, identity theft and other crimes not seen before the digital age.

Wednesday’s luncheon featured keynote speaker Cihan Cobanoglu Ph.D., from the University of South Florida who delivered some lively results from the Think Tank he works with that had the audience captivated.  Cobanoglu spoke on world population and trends in tourism that have led us to deliver smarter cities and technology.

Following lunch, conference attendees took a group photo in the courtyard of Rosen College before heading into a keynote with Professor Dimitrios Buhalis who presented on Smart Tourism being an idea of satisfaction and fulfillment, not necessarily technology. He demonstrated in the presentation how excited he was to come to Florida. However, the experience at customs in the airport was of-putting with long lines. The feeling he was left with from that experience was countered by rest, relaxation and great meals, with friends, in essence smart tourism that built great memories, restoring his vision that Orlando is a great place to visit.

Professor Buhalis’ keynote was followed by a keynote from Professor Daniel R. Fensenmaier who presented on Designing Smart Tourism for the Future. Professor Fesenmaier focused on technology and the ever-changing ways in which it boosts tourism by allowing travelers to book trips online, plan their own itineraries and also rate their experiences.

Four concurrent sessions rounded out the afternoon of the second day of the conference. They were as follows:

  • Moderator Catherine Cheung, Ph.D. from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Hotel & Tourism Management, focusing on that industry’s Smart Tourism
  • Moderator Wei Wei Ph.D. from Rosen College of Hospitality Management focusing her panel on Smart Tourism as it pertains to Cybersecurity
  • Ivan Garibay, Ph.D., from UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science with a panel on Analytics
  • Paul Gazillo, Ph.D. ., from UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science with a panel on Computer Techonology

The third day of The Smart Conference had Robertico Croes, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Research and Administration at Rosen College of Hospitality Management in the role of MC. The day kicked off with a keynote address from Gary Daniels, Vice President of Digital Experience at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Daniels spoke about the Smart Band technology used throughout Disney Parks and Resorts, which allows guests to make ride reservation, order and pay for food and other merchandise, access hotel rooms and more. A refreshment break was followed by a thematic session hosted by Waldemar Karwowski, Ph.D. Pegasus Professor form the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The session focused on Smart Systems Integration from the Industrial and System Engineering Perspectives.

Following the break was a luncheon where best paper awards were presented. The Best Hospitality & Tourism Paper award was presented to a group from Beijing International Studies University for their paper titled What Motivates Hosts to Participate in Sharing Accommodation and How Do These Motivations Affect their Attitudes and Behaviors.  The Best Engineering & Computer Sciences Paper Award went to a group from UCF. The title of the  paper was Smart Infrastructure Assessment Using Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

Concurrent sessions after the awards luncheon were led by moderator Yunying (Susan) Zhong Ph.D. and Valeriya Shapoval, Ph.D., both from Rosen College. The first session focused on Smart Hospitality, the second on Smart Tourism.  A Keynote from Timothy Jung Ph.D. from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, followed with a presentation Augmented Reality and Visual Reality for Smart Tourism Experience.   Two more thematic sessions and a Panel discussion rounded out the day. One thematic session was led by Zhihua Qu, Ph.D. from the College of Engineering and Computer Science on Energy Technologies for Smart Communities, the other was led by Aleksandar Dimitovski, Ph.D. also from the College of  Engineering and Computer Science and also on Energy Technologies for Smart Communities. The panel discussions immediately following was led by Anil Kuman, Managing Director of Matrix. An impressive group of thought leaders graced the conference stage ranging from technology leaders and city planners to developers and titans of industry. Following is a list of those who participated.

Public Sector Panelists

  1. Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability & Resilience – City of Orlando: Castro is a sustainability and clean energy expert, eco-entrepreneur, and community organizer with a passion to create smart, resilient, and sustainable cities. Castro is currently a Senior Advisor to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
  2. Mike Hess, Smart City Project Director – City of Orlando: Hess, LEED AP BD&C, LEED Fellow, PE, is a licensed mechanical engineer and currently leads smart city efforts for the City of Orlando.  Hess has expertise in sustainability and LEED consulting.
  3. Alison Barlow, City of St. Petersburg, Executive Director – St. Pete Innovation District: Barlow’s significant experience and background in facilitation and collaboration has positioned her to unite the diversity of assets in Innovation District (science, business, health care, education, and social innovation) in a collaborative and transformative way for City of St.Petersburg.
  4. Barbara Jenkins, Superintendent – Orange County Public Schools: Jenkins has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for 30 years. She serves on the executive board of directors of the Council of the Great City Schools, Chiefs for Change, The Wall Street Journal CEO Council and the Florida Council of 100.
  5.  Gregory C. Curtin, PhD, JD, Senior Fellow at the World Economic Forum (WEF), Charter Member of WEF’s Global Agenda Council. Curtin pioneered the use of technology and data to transform the public sector.
  6. Jeremy Gilmore; District Five Transportation Systems Management and Operations Program Administrator, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT): Gilmore leads FDOT’s Central Florida technology efforts including connected vehicle, autonomous vehicle, integrated corridor management, and several data initiatives.
  7. Henry Reyes, Managing Director, JPMorgan Chase & Co.: Reyes  joined J.P. Morgan in 2007 after working as the national head of Public Finance at Raymond James. His previous experience includes 15 years in public finance at Citigroup. Mr. Reyes has participated on over $25 billion of senior managed transactions for a variety of issuers.
  8. Craig Ustler, President – Creative Village Orlando, LLC: Ustler is an owner, investor, developer and broker of various property types including multi-family residential, office, restaurant, retail and mixed-use. For the past several years, Ustler has focused on urban infill projects as advocated by the “new urbanism” planning movement.

Private Sector Panel

  1. Simon Hakim, Digital Government Director – Microsoft: Business development and strategic management professional with progressive international and domestic experience in the development, implementation, and market launch of information technology solutions.
  2. Jim Haskins, Smarter Communities Business Development Leader – Cisco: Adventure loving with a proven record of creating new revenue streams, strategic alliances and trusted advisor relationships with Fortune 1000 executives and channel partners that yield top-line and bottom line growth.
  3. Denise Quarles, Chief City Executive – Siemens: 20+ years experience in spearheading powerful alliances among government, academic, nonprofit, community, and private sector entities.  Combines strong leadership and skillful diplomacy to effectively navigate diverse organizations and gain consensus of key stakeholders to ensure project success.
  4. KJ Chugh, IoT and Smart Cities Practice Leader – Nokia: Chugh currently leads the IoT and Smart Cities Business Development at Nokia. He is responsible for developing markets, new product development, securing customer opportunities for voice of the customer, strategy, and value proposition for Smart City solutions.
  5.  Max Green, VP Sales and Customer Experience – Harris Corporation: Green is a Senior Sales Manager at Harris Corporation’s RF Communications Division (RFCD). RFCD is the leading global supplier of secure radio communications and embedded high-grade encryption solutions for military, government, and commercial organizations.
  6. Kevin Conway, Senior Principal Architect –CenturyLink: Thirteen years in Information Technology Outsourcing providing leadership to clients, internal Client teams, and cross-functional teams supporting product, engineering, marketing and sales.
  7. Dave Mulholland; Transportation Managing Director – VHB: Mulholland is responsible for overseeing growth and operations in the firm’s Florida and Georgia locations. His 20-plus year background serving public and private clients throughout Florida, coupled with his dedication to client service, has strengthened VHB’s foundation for future success in the southeast.
  8.  Juan Santos, Senior Vice President of Brand Experience – Tavistock: Santos is a recognized expert in Design Thinking, User Generated Content, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, Physical + Digital and Loyalty and Rewards.
  9. Charles Adams, Former Exec of Walt Disney World, Trammell Crow, Council Member, Urban Land Institute: Charles recently joined VHB, a Transportation, Land Development, Planning and Environmental Professional Services firm where he serves as Director of Development Management Services, based in VHB’s Orlando office.

The conference ended with appreciation and well wishes from Michael Georgiopoulos, Ph.D. Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The Smart Conference was co-chaired by the deans of Rosen College of Hospitality Management and the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UCF, Youcheng Wang, Ph.D., Dean and Preeminenent Professor, and Michael Georgiopoulos, Ph.D., Dean and Pegasus Professor.