Tag Archives: smart

Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC)

One of the greatest challenges facing the EU in the future will be that cities have to start adapting to smart intelligent and sustainable environments. That’s why the European Commission launched a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC). The main reasons why the Commission launched the SCC is to gather resources from energy, transport and the IT sector and they also want to boost the development of smart technologies in cities. They’ve set aside €365 million in EU funds for these types of urban technology solutions for 2013.

Cities have to grow into Smart Cities and they have to start developing and using innovative smart technologies. But cities face limitation in the development of these technologies due to high technological risks, difficulties over certain returns on investments or regulatory difficulties.

Günther Oettinger, Energy Commissioner, pointed out that innovations are needed in Europe to drive competitiveness and he said that innovation is the best means of addressing energy efficiency. The new technologies, like high efficiency heating and cooling systems, smart metering, real-time energy management and zero-energy buildings, that already exist need to be spread more among all the European cities and the SCC will help with this.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, added that European cities suffer a lot from road accidents, poor air quality and noise. He said it’s important to work towards CO2 free cities and to get there, more advanced research and innovation is needed. And Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President responsible for digital agenda, added that cities need to rethink how to reduce congestion and increase energy efficiency in the urban environment. He said it’s the ICT that puts the “smart” in Smart Cities and this challenges other industries.

Some of the major challenges that the SCC will tackle are for example the congestion. Nearly 75% of European citizens live in cities and they consumer about 70% of EU’s energy, this costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year. So the smart urban technologies need to tackle challenges like this.

The innovative Expo 2015 Smart City of the future (video)

The innovative Expo 2015 Smart City of the future will turn every visit into a unique experience. Smart City visitors will have real time support throughout their journey to the site: electronic tickets, biometric identification, innovative electronic devices, special electronic walls, augmented and immersive reality, visitors’ avatar, foldable tablets and much more!

IBM about Smart Cities

Smart Cities. Although this sounds a bit futuristic, there are some companies that are already working hard to make this happen. They are developing and using sensors and software to make cities run more efficient and smooth and to improve the life of the citizens. Chris O’Connor, Vice President of engineering and smart city products at IBM talked about the smart city services. He gives a glimpse of how the first Smart Cities will look like.

Cities have always used the newest technologies to improve their infrastructure. And although the new technologies always seem smart, when we talk about smart technologies now, we mean working with sensors and software to improve the city. Smart cities place sensors on their infrastructure to gather as much data as possible. They will be able to know who is using water and how much, how busy the city centre is or where traffic is flowing. And the software can then analyze the data and use it to suggest actions, provide useful information or offer solutions to problems like traffic jams. So it’s up to the sensors and the software to make a city run better.

O’Connor said that it’s not needed for cities to invest a lot of money in the sensors since there already are a lot of sensors in cities that can be used. Examples are water meters, monitors for elevators, stop lights, toll booths, buses, taxis and parking tickets. Social media can also be used to gather useful information from residents. Cities can analyze the already public available tweets and status updates.

Some of the projects that IBM already set up are for example a water monitoring system in South Bend, Ind. And they also used sensors to link emergency response and transportation departments of Davao in the Philippines so the departments can better work together in emergencies. IBM uses a cloud service to run their systems so cities don’t need to install the software. They already set up about 2,000 similar projects over the last few years.

So the Smart City concept is on the right way, but there still is plenty of work to do. The systems should for example cooperate better. Now systems can easily communicate with sensors in the same category, like water sensors or transportation sensors. But in the future, even the transportation sensors and the water sensors have to be able to communicate. So companies need to develop a computing language that makes these systems work even better together.