LATHAM, N.Y. — The Smart Cities Council is a group of leading businesses, ranging from Microsoft to Bechtel to MasterCard, that serves as an advisor and market accelerator, advocating for smarter cities.

Jesse Berst is the founder and chairman of the Smart Cities Council, coming to the smart city sector from the smart grid space where he was one of the pioneering thought leaders and the chief analyst of, the Internet’s oldest, largest and highest-ranked smart grid site. He was also a co-founder of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, a nonprofit that unites utilities, vendors and consumer advocates with the goal of accelerating a consumer-friendly smart grid.

Water Technology caught up with Berst after the Smart Cities Council released its version 1.0 Readiness Guide — a comprehensive and vendor-neutral smart city handbook for city leaders, planners and decision makers to use to assess their city’s current technology and find out how to move forward toward better livability, workability and sustainability — to talk about how the Smart Cities Council works, how the Readiness Guide was developed and what types of water technologies go into creating a smart city.

“We've picked four barriers that we're hard at work on," said Berst. "One of them is technology. What should we do? One of them is financing. How do we pay for it? One of them is policy. How do we regulate it? How do we safeguard citizens and their privacy, but also how do we unleash economic development? And the fourth one is citizen engagement. How do we bring citizens along as full partners right from the beginning?

Hear the rest of our conversation with Berst on our podcast page, here: