sketch of smart city

Industrial doctoral student works with smart cities as effective ecosystems

Senadin Alisic is employed by Combitech in Växjö as a regional manager. To strengthen its competence, Combitech has made him industrial doctoral student at the company, in collaboration with Linnaeus University and with support from the Knowledge Foundation.

Data Intensive Applications (DIA) is a graduate school for industrial doctoral students at Linnaeus University. DIA focuses on applied research, addressing the challenges within big data and artificial intelligence of the university’s industry partners.

One of the doctoral students at DIA is Senadin Alisic, regional manager at the technical consultant company Combitech in Växjö. Combitech is engaged in many different industrial projects in the fields of digitalization, sustainability, and cybersecurity. From Senadin’s perspective, he sees many challenges related to ecosystems and the smart city concept within these fields.

“The need of long-term, sustainable solutions is challenging the way companies do business today. I’m is curious and want to see if I can contribute to and accelerate the digital transformation of our industry partners in the right direction, towards more sustainable cities, by becoming an industrial doctoral student.”

Smart cities

A smart city collects data from e.g. citizens, devices, buildings and assets and analyses them to manage resources efficiently. These resources could be transportation, energy supply, schools and hospitals, for example.

“The vision of a smart city is to manage multiple systems at a citywide level strategically. Increased transparency, openness, and shared accountability create an innovation system that improves outcomes and enhances a city's competitiveness”, Senadin says.

A smart city invests in assets or capabilities to realize its vision. It is an ecosystem that gathers several actors that sometimes share visions and goals. However, actors may have conflicting interests now and then.

In his research, Senadin will investigate:

  • What makes a smart city smart,
  • what are the architecture capabilities needed,
  • what are the architecture mechanisms and tactics used by different actors, and
  • what is the role of the ecosystem platform?


What are Senadin’s expectations of being an industrial doctoral student?

“Of course, the first one is to learn a lot, but in the next stage I would like to contribute to and solve some challenges that cities and citizens are facing regarding climate changes, urbanization and economy. I think that by using technology solutions centered at us humans, we can meet those challenges”, says Senadin.

It is important for cities to tackle the right problems when introducing technology. Technology should not be introduced just for technology’s sake. Instead, it should create value, Senadin thinks.

“Citizens need to feel that they are part of the changes in their city. Without proper ecosystems and processes in place, the speed and complexity of technological changes and advances can make it hard for cities to understand the impact on citizens and their relationship with the city. So my hope is to decompose those challenges and to help different actors to better understand their role in a smart city context.”

Not an ordinary doctoral student

Traditionally, many of the doctoral students are in the beginning of their careers. Senadin Alisic has many valuable experiences behind him when he starts his doctoral studies.

“In my current role, I work with digital transformations, smart cities and ecosystems, digital strategy and cybersecurity. I help industry partners find the best business models for their strategies. The clients are operating mainly within the telecommunication, construction, financial, maritime and port operation and mining sectors”, says Senadin.

Senadin has 20 years of experience from international companies such as Ericsson, Sony Ericsson, Capgemini and IKEA. His experiences prior to Combitech come from leading roles in consulting services, product development and the supply chain. He has been member of management teams on different levels and responsible for the management, coordination and development of service operations and service strategies. This includes development of sustainable businesses in close collaboration with external business partners as well as internal actors.