Creating a truly smart city in Spain.By Telefonica
Santander, a small city of little more than 180,000 people on Spain’s Atlantic coast, could prove to be the place where the much-hyped idea of the smart city finally comes of age. With the help of $12 million, largely from the European Commission, the city is proudly focusing its efforts on SmartSantander, a wide-ranging experiment to reduce traffic, throttle energy consumption and boost the civic engagement of its citizens.
The city intends to deploy more than 10,000 sensors to monitor everything from rubbish collection to crime to air quality. Sensors will monitor available street parking and direct drivers to open slots. Street lighting will also be managed to maximise energy efficiency.
Landlords will be able to use data showing low noise and clean air to promote their apartments or office buildings. Sensors will also detect noise disturbances and identify sources of litter.
The sensor network will be connected to mobile payment systems so citizens can pay for local services, including parking, with a swipe of their mobile phone. Moreover, the information streams that the wireless networks create, should generate the kind of data that local authorities and police services need, to assess where to deploy their resources to most effect.
The experiment is just beginning and the trick is unlikely to lie in the technology itself. The real work will be in garnering the support of sceptical citizens, to show how it can be used to make their lives easier. This means that the flood of data generated needs to be made accessible to residents in usable forms, more like bottled water than a torrent.
Image 'SANTANDER - Cantabria' courtesy of canduela
Last updated: 09th of May, 2014