Catalonia, a real territory-laboratory of smart solutions

Bigdata algorithm applied in the detection of tourist apartments; implementation of smart services in the town of Cambrils; and a web platform of resource management and energy consumption forecast. At first glance these initiatives have nothing to do with each other, but all three are part of the success stories achieved by the strategy of SmartLab Catalonia, a Catalan network of municipalities that contributes on making Catalonia a smart region.

Businesses and startups face different obstacles in the process of developing and implementing technological solutions that help cities in the process of transformation to smart cities.

For this reason, the Catalonia SmartLab strategy promoted by the Catalonia Government, has as one of its objectives to help to overcome this handicap. How? Becoming a real urban laboratory where companies can test and test their smart solutions.

Nowadays there are more than 27 municipalities SmartLab attached to the network (see map 1); companies have submitted 29 initiatives; 19 pilot tests have been defined; 10 initiatives are being evaluated by Barkeno Advisors, the technical office of Catalonia SmartLab; and 8 ones are being studied by different municipalities.

These initiatives submitted by companies must provide an innovative aspect as a whole or as an evolution of an existing service; and non-existing services in the market or that are already marketed.


Three examples of smart projects

One of the technological projects that has exceeded all phases and processes of Catalonia SmartLab initiative has been developed by the company Quantion. In an initial stage, said company had not considered how to market or how to apply the bigdata algorithm developed in a municipal environment. It was Barkeno Advisors who helped to conceptualize the project in a city, in this case Barcelona. The result has been that the BigData algorithm can detect illegal tourist apartments in the neighborhood of Barceloneta. How? By crossing data from bigdata of all posts apartments for rent with the database of the City of Barcelona of all illegal tourist apartments.

The success of this solution has made that Barcelona City has purchased the platform and Quantion has grown from three employees to hire more than 60.

The second project has been prompted by the City of Cambrils, a town that is part of the Catalonia SmartLab network. The consistory (see map 2) is implementing different solutions in the field of smart cities to respond to problems of different types. By installing, monitoring and managing of several sensors Cambrils has implemented charging stations for electric vehicles, public LED lighting, managment of waste more efficiently, establishment of smartparking areas, etc.

The third and final project is starring by the intelligent lighting of Born Centre of Culture and Memory of Barcelona. This installation tested in a pilot the energy management software from Effilogics company, a spin-off emerged from technology center i2Cat. The result has been saving € 165,000 / year in energy costs of the building. In this case, it has been implemented various energy efficiency measures in the two monitored buildings that have analyzed 12 circuits of electricity and gas; optimizing the contracted power; and controlling the reactive power consumption of standby after hours counting with alarms of excess power.

Barkeno Advisors considers that the great advantage for the city is that the solution proposed by Effilogics allows that any technology from any manufacturer can be tested and managed from a single platform. In addition, in this case it is compatible Sentilo, sensor technology developed by the city of Barcelona.

Among the smart technologies implemented in the Born district of Barcelona is worth to mention that lighting of old Born market perimeter has a control system point to point. This system allows  to adjust the luminance and send fiber optic data to center lighting department of the City of Barcelona. It is a clear example of smart technology application in a city.

The technology chosen for communication with the points of light was LonWorks on the carrier wave (ISO / IEC 14908 protocol). It is an open and standardized technology. In each fixture it was necessary to install a node or point light controller (OLC, outdoor lighting controller), which communicates bi-directionally through the same grid with the iLON® Smart Server driver that was installed in the dashboard.



What it is and what is not Catalonia SmartLab?

  • SmartLab Catalonia is the benchmark to which you can direct companies seeking a Catalan municipality for testing smart projects. Offers:
  • Test of innovative new services in living environments
  • Agility in joint tasks of City Council-Enterprise object of the pilot
  • Availability Municipal buildings and public roads.
  • Quick Obtaining results / product improvement points
  • Shortening of the time to market of the product
  • Visibility Brand at the municipal level
  • Getting Synergies with other municipal projects.

1. Yes it is:

  • A test space for those products that have a direct involvement in the functioning of the city or the services provided by the council
  • A test space for hosting projects that provides benefits for citizen if that address unmet needs.
  • A test space to accommodate those projects that are aligned with the objectives, priorities and lines of action of the council.


2. No it is not:

  • A test space of existing products or services on the market or that they are being sold already.
  • A test space for innovative projects, but without direct benefit on management council or citizens.
  • A way to finance innovative projects



Examples of pilot projects Catalonia SmartLab


Starlab: Urban Trees Management (iArbre)

Using satellite images, the platform iArbre allows cataloging of woodland located on the street as well as the detection of possible diseases and general woodland state. Tests have been done in Barcelona for, among other information, to know what trees emit excess of pollen and avoid major allergic outbreaks on population.


Uniclau: Tracking the movement of tourists

With the installation of a App on mobile (for the promotion of different events in the city for example) on a geographical map can be displayed the route that people who have used the app have done for the city. In this way it is possible to optimize routes, offers and services offered by the municipality.


e-Address: Associating an e-mail address to each home and shop

Service that links an email address to a postal address (eg. C / Mayor, 12, 2.1, 08759 Vallirana → This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). It allows to do notifications to the entire city, a neighborhood, a street or particular building or floor with information of interest to the neighborhood. This way the city avoids to fulfill trees, lampposts and containers with posters.


Neuronodal: Virtual BD

Getting a 360-degree perspective of information (citizens, businesses, homes, streets ...) by consulting databases of internal or external data. It allows online viewing in real time, without an specific intervention in databases.


Inkogroup: NFC platform for displaying tourist information

Access to digital content in the field of tourism (video, audio, URLs, geo and location, actions and alerts) with the provision of NFC stickers to the attractions of the city. Users zoom in the smartphone to the sticker and this (once loaded the app) access to tourist information (or other city services)




We use our own and third-party cookies to enable and improve your browsing experience on our website. If you go on surfing, we will consider you accepting its use.