The public business entity Red.es is working along with the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society. They are working on several initiatives focused on helping local entities move along their own transformation processes and on fostering activities that involve standardization and normalization of technologies, metrics and services required to model a Smart City in a way that fosters interoperability
We are in the midst of a digitalization process for economy, fostered by a significant improvement in connectivity which brings about better Internet access. Homes and citizens are using smart mobile devices more and more, and an innovation spurt is ongoing in terms of products, services and applications in the information technology and digital content industries.
The digitalization process is also extensive to public institutions, specially to those that are in charge of solving citizens’ problems and providing them with daily-life services. Efforts are being made in the healthcare area -digital medical records and electronic prescriptions as approached by autonomous regions- along with other areas in the local arena, such as investments in smart lighting for cities, traffic management, tourist assistance and information services, emergency networks, waste collection or public transport, to name a few.
Cities are driven by several goals: providing their citizens with innovative services; increasing citizen engagement in taking care of the city; making municipal management tools available so that problems may be solved in real time; fostering local entrepreneurship and being more efficient from an environmental point of view. As a consequence, the drive and investment of Spanish cities in projects that provide more intelligence is a key factor to strengthen the information technology industry along with citizens’ quality of life.
Fully aware of the situation, the Ministry for Industry, Energy and Tourism (by means of the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society) along with the public business entity Red.es, is already working on several initiatives involving Smart Cities, focused on helping local entities move along their own transformation processes and on fostering activities that involve satandardization and normalization of technologies, metrics and services required to model a Smart City in a way that fosters interoperability.
What should be done
The government roadmap for digital issues, the Digital Roadmap for Spain, already includes several measures that cater for Smart Cities:
- The RISP Programme for opening data from the public sector. This is included in the Plan to boost digital economy and digital contents. By means of the APORTA initiative, in which Red.es is involved, it makes it possible to contribute to the value of data from Public Administrations and generate new business models.
- First Call for Smart Cities. With 15 million euros in funds, its goal is to fund integral city management projects, devoted to tourists, that foster inter-operability as well as the opening and re-use of data.
- Pilot projects in the cities of Málaga and Sevilla. These are aimed at the design and development of indicators and infrastructure that support data generated by cities on a daily basis.
- Launching (scheduled for next year) of an ICT Display Center in the Smart City and Pervasive Technologies area, located in the city of Málaga. Its goal is to become an International Reference Center for the connection between the ICT sector, SMEs and institutions involved in technological solutions for Smart Cities. It will include several solution display activities as well as empowering and training actions in the use and adoption of ICT solutions by SMEs and institutions.
- Support for the FIWARE European project. An open platform for developers aimed at the generation of applications and services from data generated by cities.
In my opinion, Smart City development will depend on the level of progress in such aspects as interoperability between platforms, opening of data, re-use of developments and platforms, semantic data modelling, usability, connectivity, security and citizen digital training, as well as regulation and far-sighted approaches by institutions in terms of recruitment, a current hindrance to a better use of public-private collaboration.
Finally, I would like to highlight the importance of the work being done in such relevant aspects by the Normalization Technical Committee AENOR CTN 178, the Red Española de Ciudades Inteligentes (RECI, Spanish Network for Smart Cities) and the business Association Alianza Inercia.
CEO in Red.es