Backdrop: Smart parks— Parks have smart water sprinklers. They program them self according to weather forecast (which the sprinkler picks from internet) saves water and electricity. Smart lighting based on the motion in the parks .. saves power. Smart plants management to reduce excessive fertiliser usage
Cities from around the globe are today able to understand and comprehend the real potential of Internet of Things (IoT). In Barcelona, such possibilities have indeed become a reality. Going back to the year 2012, the city of Barcelona deployed responsive technologies across the urban systems such as parking, waste management, street lighting and public transit. As part of these innovations there was a significant amount of cost saving. It further led to the improvement in the quality of life for residents and made the city a burgeoning hub for the evolving IoT industry.
During the recession of 2008, Spain was one country that was adversely affected. Post that recovery not just in Spain but all across Europe has been mild. As part of these economic challenges, Barcelona employed absolute use of technology to metamorphose itself into a model of sensing, data driven and smart urban systems. From the year 2011 to 2015, Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias ran on a platform of technological innovation in every possible city service. When he joined office, he came up with a new team and called it Smart City Barcelona. The team worked forth to integrate the existing projects, seek new opportunities and accentuate services for all of the city’s businesses and people. The Smart City Barcelona worked on 12 areas for invention. These included:
Further, the team encompassed 83 distinct projects all across the urban systems and worked on 22 programs.
When Barcelona launched its IoT program it had a firm foundation: the projects yielded benefits of 500 km of fiber optic cable inside the city. This high end network was launched 3 decades back when Barcelona joined the two municipal buildings using early fiber technology. As of today, this fiber network offers 90% fiber to the home coverage and acts as a backbone for the integrated systems of Barcelona. As a matter of fact, this fiber network acts as a direct link to the internet for both the visitors and residents of Barcelona. The city works on the fiber infrastructure to be able to offer city wide Wi-Fi.
Barcelona has been very well using its extensive fiber network to cater to the individual IoT systems across the urban services.
On the whole, these systems comprise of a ‘network of networks’ which help in the generation of data which can be used by the city agencies to improvise the city operations as well as by the citizens who seek to understand the local environment. The integrated sensor network of Barcelona is relayed via Sentilo which is a platform designed specifically for the city. At present, the platform has become open source and is available for reuse by other governments as well. With the help of this platform, the data is managed and further shared with the city workers and the citizens. To cater to the citizen access, the city has come up with 44 kiosks where the residents can acquire information, access services and even make requests to the government. Together, these improvements have helped the city save money and reduce the overall consumption of valuable water and energy. Going by the Barcelona estimates, IoT systems have actually helped the city save $ 58 million on water, generated more than 47,000 new jobs and led to a rise in parking revenues by $ 50 million on annual basis. With the help of smart lighting, the city has managed an additional saving of $ 37 million on annual basis.
On the whole, with the investment in IoT for urban systems, the city indeed has achieved a plethora of benefits.