Barcelona is working with technology firm Cisco to create an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that will reduce the complexity, costs and the time required to deploy smart city solutions.
The collaboration between the City Council, Cisco and the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre has seen the platform put to the test over the last six months, with IoT sensors becoming an increasingly common feature within the urban landscape.
Francisco Rodríguez, managing director, Computing Municipal Institute, Barcelona City Council believes that the development of smart cities can bring a huge number of benefits to citizens.
“Technology must focus on solving urban problems, addressing social, environmental and economical sustainability challenges and enabling better quality of life for residents and more satisfying experiences for visitors,” he said.
“Close collaboration among public and private companies, academia, research bodies and citizens through an open platform is key to this end, and this project is an open cooperation and innovation reference effort which will serve as a model for other communities to benefit from”.
The trial implements a technique known as fog computing, which uses a fabric of nodes at the edge of the smart city network to manage data processing and analysis, and help address IoT integration issues. A number of important aspects of city life, including transportation, traffic, waste management and many more, can all be centrally managed using the platform, and deploying new services will also become a much cheaper and simpler process.
Ben Morris, a project manager at NTT DATA – which recently worked with another city on a similar smart city project (more on that soon – Ed), told Internet of Business that initiatives like those being employed in Barcelona constitute a valuable example for UK cities.
“Governments and city councils must play a leading role in crowd-sourcing innovative ideas from IT suppliers, app developers, citizens and their constituents,” he said. “Fundamentally, a smart city uses IT to enhance the quality of life for its occupants, and can manifest itself in a number of ways, whether that be energy management, traffic and transport management or government services.
“By 2050, over seven billion people will live in urban areas. The pressure is on to give the UK’s cities a smart face-lift and ensure they are running more efficiently, and the key to that is the considered and sustainable implementation of technology.”
This isn’t the only innovation with IoT in the region, with FC Barcelona, arguably the world’s best football team in recent history, recently having rolled-out beacon technology at the Nou Camp stadium.