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Building smart cities with sensors

Until 2020, more than 50 billion different devices will be connected to the Internet and cities will be able to use all the available data to detect upward trends and also take well thought-out actions in the fight against crime which will expand even more with the rapid growth of population in cities. With proper governance tools cities are able to extract valuable information from sensors.

The trend of urbanization is growing worldwide. 60% of the population will be living in cities by 2050, according to United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014). With more population shifting to urban areas, the cities of the future needs to be safer, more sustainable, efficient, comfortable, interactive and »smart«. This new, »smart« connectivity revolution has already started. As Alicia Asin CEO of Libelium, our worldwide smart city business partner says: “Sensor-based systems are already in place in many municipalities and regions all over the world. Before long, smart cities everywhere will be generating tons of data to help you find a parking spot, to conserve water in parks, to monitor transport, crowds, and pollution levels, and to keep us safe.”

Also many smart city technologies including smart electricity grids, smart meters and real-time transportation information, are already in pilot programmes. Use of Sensor Technology is one of the major components of these cities. By installing sensors, cities can create an efficient and smart service platform for municipal and public workers. With the smart platform for managing cities they can allow the share and optimization of information and provide it for proper use to the public, businesses, city managers and professionals. Different sensor systems can also have a common data warehouse to store their information on the platform.

Interaction with citizens, optimization of decisions through data collection and coordination between services with the aim of making cities better places to live is the main idea behind any monitoring system in a city. With modern systems, the city will be able to easily collect and analyse data from various public sources, such as video cameras in public transport, in supermarkets or on different other locations in the city. The data can also be (and already is) acquired from various social

networks, such as Twitter, and what is more, the authorities can directly include the citizens in the informing process through different apps. With the access to large amounts of data and with increasingly smarter analytical tools, the authorities will be able to use the collected data to foresee and percept various types of criminal acts before they even occur. The new technologies transform the cities into an entity capable to intelligently manage the water used to irrigate parks and gardens, measure the amount of contamination in the air, or even generate alerts according to the level of danger of the solar rays. Smart management of sensors data with digital platforms provides new value creation for city administration, utility companies, universities and business community.

The concept of city is changing as well. Smart city is improving the environment in the city and is also reducing economic costs for municipalities. As an example, optimization of waste collection routes according to weight and volume data collected by the sensors in the containers could help cities save money, as well as the management of public lighting with light sensors that would optimize and adapt the operation of urban lighting systems based on daylight hours.

There are many possibilities how we can improve our city and make it smart and eco-friendly. If you want to know more about it, fell free to contact us or visit us at the Barcelona Smart City Expo on 17th–18th of November, Pavilion 2, Stand number 505. Nos vemos.

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