2020 CITY ends with over 30 tech solutions for Smart Cities

Climate change

The main Spanish R&D&i project for smart cities with the development and testing of 33 experimental assets that will be incorporated into the offerings of the nine participating companies.

2020 CITY, the main Spanish smart-city R&D&i project, received 16.3 million euros in funding under the Center for Technological Industrial Development's (CDTI) INNPRONTA program. It has now ended after four years of intensive work, in which it has contributed to the progress of smart cities whilst they have continued to grow. The result: 33 experimental technological assets have been defined, developed and tested in cities such as Malaga, Santander and Zaragoza, as part of a new model for smart and sustainable cities in which the citizen takes center stage. New concepts that were revolutionary at the start of the project in 2011 -such as the urban platform and the “citizen sensor”- are now firmly established.

In addition to the tools designed around this vision of the citizen as a "sensor", we can also highlight the development of other innovative solutions such as: the 2020 CITY portal, offering a new framework for a centralized, smart and personalized relationship between the citizen and their city; a technological platform based on cloud technology and the Internet of Things, bringing together all the information on the city and its resources; and the innovative energy efficiency, mobility, transport and environmental services and applications generated by the project.

Thanks to these new technologies, once they have registered on the 2020 CITY portal, the public can safely access all the services and applications offered by their city by entering their user details only once, receiving personalized notifications, recommendations and information on their smartphone or tablet.

For example, before leaving home, users can check for air pollution and traffic warnings, with an application suggesting the best multi-mode route to get to work, combining their own vehicle with public transport, and also offering the most suitable available parking space with a single ticket and built-in smartphone payment. This route can also avoid the most polluted areas and take into consideration the user's route criteria.

When the user enters the car park, smart sensors control the lighting as they pass, and during their journey their smartphone notifies them of any changes to the route initially proposed, automatically detecting any traffic problems. And once they are in their office, users can enjoy ideal temperature and lighting conditions, automatically regulated based on their presence and environmental conditions to ensure optimum energy efficiency.

The citizen can check the energy consumption of their own home at a glance, with an "energy consultant" suggesting energy saving measures for consideration based on their profile and energy consumption habits. Meanwhile, another application - Optimazer - suggests possible investments to improve their installations.

2020 CITY can show people how much they are spending when they use their car and public transport, based on their energy consumption, congestion, emissions, noise, etc. Notifications are sent when a favorite band is playing in town at the weekend, or when the streets the user usually uses will be closed to traffic the following day.

Real-time data for city managers

In addition to offering all of these smart services for the public by incorporating ICT into existing infrastructures, city managers also benefit from the new solutions designed as part of 2020 CITY. By integrating and efficiently processing information from a raft of different data sources, the urban platform displays real-time information on the city and all of its resources on a city map. 

The 2020 CITY portal provides a single communication point with the public: it is a shop window for centralizing, displaying and promoting all of the city's services, whilst urban-behavior models tell us how people are using these services and their opinions of them. This means we can measure the impact of mobility, energy-efficiency and environmental policies.

City managers also now have new tools, such as a platform for viewing energy-usage data for infrastructures and solutions for automatic adjustment of climate-control and lighting in public spaces and buildings. A traffic-monitoring system at critical points in the network - such as roundabouts and crossroads - uses artificial vision, wireless-sensor networks and information from social networks to generate recommendations for regulating traffic signals. There is also a system to facilitate access and actions for the emergency services, a monitoring system for parking spaces and a tool for detecting loading and unloading points, which is integrated into transport-fleet management systems to improve freight logistics. The manager can also guide citizens to choose the best route for the traffic conditions or to establish green routes, and these can be changed instantaneously in real time as information changes.

The project offers a new model for monitoring atmospheric air quality and noise levels in the street, using new networks of cheap wireless sensors, the mass roll-out of which across the city provides a more realistic vision of pollution levels. Integrated information management provides the city manager with a real-time pollution map, helping to trigger alarms as needed, enabling pollution forecasting and fostering environmental decisions, such as proposing green routes.

Solutions and challenges for the future

The 33 experimental technological assets developed in 2020 CITY have demonstrated that smart-city technology already exists and is gradually being incorporated into the range of solutions offered by the companies involved in the project. Indra is leading a consortium comprising Ferrovial Agroman, Atos, Fagor Electrónica and GFI Informática, as well as the SMEs Fractalia, Daedalus, Tekia and iSOCO. The consortium also includes research teams from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, University of Alcalá de Henares, Carlos III University, University of Zaragoza, University of Cantabria and University of La Coruña, as well as the Barcelona Digital and CI3 (Center for the Innovation of Smart Infrastructures) foundations. Málaga, Zaragoza and Santander are the partner cities involved in the project and have tested the new developments.

Following completion of the R&D&i project, the next step is to implement the solutions developed in real projects, bringing these innovations into cities and raising awareness of their existence and their contribution to improving city life.

Other challenges for the future include improving access to data through Open Data so that it can be structured and understood through Linked Open Data, developing the possibilities offered by big data and the Internet of Things, and exploiting the potential of smart cities as drivers of business growth and wealth creation for cities.

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