When developing a project of smart city, it is imperative to find technological solutions that promote rationalization and administrative improvements in diverse areas such as the environment, transportation, paperwork, health or, for example, security in the urban environment.
In this article we will see what challenges we find on the path to smart city, from the technological and regulatory aspects to the budgetary and social aspects. It is a difficult scenario, in which the challenge requires designing a new model of sustainable management, able to respond to the current challenges of the urban environment.
According Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI) working groups, and EU criteria, energy, mobility, environment, government, economy and social innovation sectors are the essential issues for a municipality to be considered a smart city.
It is no less true; however, that addressing this multifaceted challenge we also create interesting business opportunities that are eventually citizen welfare. In fact, the public-private partnership is one of the key drivers that energize these projects, and in this sense, it is essential to provide an environment that fosters innovation culture.
On the one hand, public authorities should provide an enabling environment generating ideas, and their realization in initiatives that reflect the potential of this innovative ability, aimed at improving the daily life of the cities. Only then, positive synergies will be established with entities in order to being able to generate ideas and translate them into projects.
“Innovation and knowledge, supported by the information and communications technology (ICT) are the keys (…) in a more united and cohesive society, which makes easier citizen’s life. And, at the same time, that is able to generate and attract human talent and create a new economic fabric of high added value,” says RECI on its website.
In this sense, exchanging experiences and working together to develop sustainable management models in the smart city is the approach taken by the EU within the framework of the Digital Agenda, which introduced the Europe 2020 strategy and its Digital Single Market.
Beyond its support of e-commerce, Digital Single Market aims to facilitate compliance with the administrative and financial requirements for companies, while promoting e-government.
The technological challenge
Declarations of intent are important, no doubt, but developing a smart city project means creating viable technological infrastructures. Therefore, As we have noted before, therefore, in addition to cultivating an enabling environment and identify areas and convenient investment, the crux is to find the most effective technological tools to realize our intelligent portal.
Both market services and the administration developed within the digital single market, for example, are evolving from fixed to mobile platforms. This implies having access to real-time regardless of when, another major challenge to regulatory and technological level to face towards a ubiquitous trade and administration.
These advances will meet the expectations of the EU for 2020 and in a technological level, it will be required to take steps in very different ways, including the development of cloud computing, cyber security compatible with mobile data connectivity without borders, as well as a simplified access to information.
Achieving success in all these aspects is always easier when we join forces and work with cutting-edge technology open source. Specifically, the necessary training to achieve the objectives of Europe 2010, or any other bet on an optimized vision of smart cities, it will be driven by technologies based on a common infrastructure.
It is the case of FIWARE, a free alternative, very advantageous over existing proprietary platforms for use in designing solutions in smart cities. Being an open source infrastructure has also open specifications, among other features that facilitate online services to present developers, service providers and private or public organizations.
The peculiarities of this platform, created at the initiative of the European Commission, make it a great ally to develop smart city projects in the most different areas.
It offers enhanced capabilities in cloud hosting and an extensive library of components, along with valuable tools that facilitate open standards API, royalty-free and supported by reference implementations of open source that speed to market for suppliers.
Moreover, being easily replicable, this ensures interoperability and facilitates the creation of global ecosystems in the face of implementation in different cities. In turn, it helps to overcome budgetary barriers through their free architecture and its own standards.
Also, it does this through the innovation ecosystem FIWARE Labs and through possible grants through their accelerators, whose task is to promote projects with the greatest potential through co-financing and other sources of help.
On the other hand, when a municipality faces the challenge of becoming a smart city, designing services also means to offer citizens the opportunity to interact with the platform and provide forecasts, allowing the application of actions or offering data on certain fields.
Among others, the traffic situation, free parking spaces, allergen levels in the atmosphere or, say, the environmental status in different parts of the city.
Platforms, therefore, must be able to integrate heterogeneous data and provide advanced web interfaces, intuitive to use, allowing exploitation of the ad hoc information. Or, in another order of things, facilitate the definition and/or predicting behaviours, as well as offering a clear view of the situation in real time or from historical data.
The creation and implementation of these solutions that add value to municipal services and help to better management, logically, require a technological development project under the criteria of sustainability and efficiency.
In this regard, the geolocation is a key element of smart cities by their suitability for advanced management and analysis of spatial information. At the technological level, Geographic Information Systems or GIS have an important role as well as Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) local and regional; these, again, to advance the convergence of efforts.
The possibilities are almost endless. On the one hand, we can organize, store, manipulate and analyze large amounts of data – heterogeneous and from different sources- by developments tailored to specific needs, linking us to spatial references.
In practice, both to provide services to citizens through the network and for making more effective decisions, GIS technologies are very versatile and offer myriad of applications in and out of the smart city.
In short, the development of innovative services that seeks to provide smart city model from a sustainable approach means, ultimately, to solve real problems of cities.
Demonstrate smart cities feasibility is only possible, therefore, providing them with intelligence in the service of a new management model, more efficient and technological thanks to optimum information management, as well as appropriate use of infrastructure communication.
It is, in short, betting on an efficient, more sustainable and technology management, thanks to the great opportunities that give us modern times to build more liveable cities, where the priority is the citizen.