New operating system for smart cities

New operating system for smart cities

Communities are moving from the internet to real places - coworking, coliving -, and functions related to the management of our personal data also “go down” to the “background”

Have you ever thought about your city as a computer, and about institutions and administration as an OS operating system for it? This metaphor is becoming more and more relevant to reality. Telephones are turning into smartphones and cities into smart cities.

According to statistics, you use a smartphone to read this page. Do you know what is the most important and most valuable component of it besides the camera? Of course, its operating system. This single element can increase the power and safety of the device.

If it works inefficiently, you risk losing data, slowing down performance, and quickly draining the battery. The current cities' operating systems have many disadvantages. We know this feeling of system malfunction well.

If the operating system performs its function in the background, we can experience games and multimedia on the screen and use the software necessary for a business. The same rule applies to cities and it’s “operating system”.

The philosophy behind the system is what makes the difference

We know the difference between Windows Phone, Android, and Apple well. Of course, the first one is no longer used. Microsoft has painfully learned that only action focused on supporting the development of an open ecosystem and engaging creators to build their business on it, has a long-term sense. Now we are waiting for the Chinese movement and for the HarmonyOS.

An opportunity for the European Union to maintain its competitiveness is the choice of several specializations on which it will focus its R&D efforts to maintain its position in rivalry with the US and China.

One such program was Future Internet, currently transformed into FiWare. Why were cities chosen as the area to work on the future internet? Well, in my opinion, and as I understand from expert translations, it is because no transmission happens in a vacuum, and the majority of us live in cities.

Cities will be more alive than ever

Even our digital life is increasingly taking place in real life. Communities are moving move from the internet to real places (coworking, coliving). Functions related to the management of our personal data also “go down” to the “background”.

We pay just through our presence, we order services and information by voice, etc. With the popularization of AR and VR, additional navigation in the city’s information system will be increasingly used outside the narrow screen of the phone.

However, all this is integrated into the logic created by the city, with its map, transport system, energy system, functions of the institution, events between residents, the market for data exchange between platforms, etc.

Wherever commercial single-functional solutions exist, they can be integrated into one system with one “desktop”, user profile, artificial intelligence as an assistant supporting our goals, etc.

What is the operating system for a city?

For the first time, I had the pleasure to see the operating system desktop for cities last week. Built on European FiWare with open-source Digital Enabler components, it allows you to install all kinds of software based on data from sensors and other sources. This is just the beginning of the possibilities that come with it. Big-data analytics, Ai, are some modules that can be integrated into the system.

The system, like the Linux installer, recognizes among others, all types of sensors, which are already located in the city and allows you to refer to them as the device installed in the system (multiple data connections are created). Due to the fact that they are available from the level of one programming environment, they can be combined in any way to obtain previously impossible visualization effects, statistics supporting decisions, simulation, and calculation methods.

Examples of applications that we saw were the construction of a heat-map of bicycle transport, correlates of with city fees, rubbish, demographics of people in the area, the occupancy of parking spaces, etc. All data can be arranged on a dashboard by the drag & drop method and as a manager or mayor of the city you can view indicators in real-time. Of course, there can also be views for all residents and guests.

How are we installing the operating system for cities in Poland?

With representatives of Polish smart cities, I participated in the first OASC workshop in Poznań in the FuterLab Super Computer Center spaces in front of the Poznań Development Forum on October 10-11.

Open & agile smart cities

At the workshops, we learned a lot about the activities of the Open Agile Smart Cities Initiative around the world. The vision of the ‘Open and agile smart cities’ (OASC) initiative is to create an open market for smart cities based on the needs of cities and communities.

Cities have all kinds of data sets or will have them soon

How do you link them to get valuable information? How does the garbage collection timeline help create a map of restaurants open to a particular topic? How to use real estate occupation and demographic change data for planning senior housing programs?

The most important thing I learn is: how to ask yourself a good question?

OASC contributes to European and global demand for a common framework for smart cities. A common framework of standards is necessary to create a market that will enable communities to transform the benefits of new technologies into jobs and growth in the urban environment.

The implementation of innovative, but repeatable solutions will increase the competitiveness of enterprises, stimulate competition by avoiding dependence on the supplier (competition) and enable universal participation of citizens in the development of services.

From my point of view, this is complementary to what we work as part of the V4 group alliance. What OASC calls MiMs is synonymous with our concept of intelligent services as the concept of creating a market for solutions. Poznań may be the first city that has connected more than 200 cities that have signed a minimum standard for cities.

I hope you were able to inspire the reader to delve into the concept of the operating system for cities.


Mateusz Jarosiewicz

Mateusz Jarosiewicz
Founder of the think-and-do tank Smart Cities Polska

Entrepreneur in the technology industry. Creator of new technological and political concepts. Founder of the first coworking office in Poland. Creator and promoter of the concept of the operating system for cities City2.0.neOS. Founder of the think-and-do tank Smart Cities Polska. Ex-Deputy editor-in-chief of the European City: One magazine dedicated to smart cities. Earlier he worked on the road map of the Polish smart city. Coordinator of experimental projects concerning the reconstruction of the social network and human capital: FutuCard. Author of the winning social innovation project concerning the entry of young people into the future labor market „Game of Life: Future City”.
Speaker at Polish and international conferences on smart city. Author of many articles, including on strategies for implementing smart city in the Middle East, the development of Polish smart city. He closely cooperates with experts and smart city organizers in other countries, especially within the Visegrad Group. Expert in the Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics, who studies over 60 business models for smart cities and author of two Blockchain models. A smart city lecturer in the field of „Law in the business of new technologies” at the Łazarski University. He supported local government politicians in creating smart city programs as well as comprehensive ideas for new cities.


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