Image | Array of things
“Attention: the street you are heading towards has roadworks. You best option is to take this other direction.” Can you imagine walking through a city that sends alerts or other relevant messages based on your position or on what you’re doing? That is precisely what they have in mind in Chicago, which in the coming weeks plans to install a network of 40 sensors on the streets with a view to offering something similar to this in the future.
In the beginning, this pilot will use these sensors to collect environmental information, but in the future the system is expected to grow significantly to 1000 sensors that can also provide relevant information to citizens. “At the end of a week, you can see where you have walked but you could also look at other things:” How exposed to carbon monoxide or excessive noise have I been this week,” says one of the project leaders.
But by connecting these citizens to the sensors via Bluetooth, the idea is that people themselves also become sensors and help the system to understand what is happening around them. The following is an example of how important this may be for the efficiency of the city: imagine you’re waiting to cross a street with more than 100 people at your side and the light is green for vehicles but there is only one car at the moment. The sensors would be able to detect it and ideally act accordingly.
There is another interesting case shown in the video presentation of the initiative: on a dark night you are in a city you don’t know and you have to get to your car, which is several streets away. An app designed to interact with the information from these sensors could guide you through the best lit streets and/or those with more pedestrians. The aim is to get you safely to your vehicle.
A similar project, and one that we have already spoken about is SmartCitizen, which went ahead last year thanks to the contributions of Kickstarter users. In this case, the citizens themselves can purchase a kit, connect it to their home networks and share all data obtained with the community.
The kit of sensors gives you real time information which can be accessed from anywhere through a dedicated mobile app: ambient temperature, air humidity, light level, sound intensity. You can discover everything from the app and it even includes an API that allows others to develop their own initiatives.
Another big project is SmartSantander, the the Cantabrian capital’s initiative to become one of the smartest cities in Europe. Citizens have an application available for them to find out what thousands of sensors located throughout the town are measuring. Moreover, they themselves can become sensors and communicate their own “issues” if they detect any damage in the city.
Imagen | Fastprk
Are you looking for a place to park and do you despair every time you have to do it? With initiatives like Fastprk the idea is that the sensors installed in the streets indicate where free spaces are available nearby by flashing or directly communicating them to your mobile. You days of wandering aimlessly and wasting time (and unnecessarily blocking city streets at the same time) are finally over.
It is clear that the future of Smart Cities starts by measuring all possible parameters in order to optimize the efficiency of the city and all its aspects (traffic, pollution or even waste collection). Citizen participation in all this information is also vital. Personal quantification is fashionable and quantifying the city is the next step. This is where the mobile phone is a key: smart cities and smartphones go hand in hand.
The Mobile Transformation Programme (MTP) aims to promote and stimulate Barcelona’s key mobile sector, in addition to directly educating citizens and visitors about Barcelona’s role as the world’s mobile capital.
The strategic sectors to which the MTP assigns priority are Tourism (hotels, dining, etc.), Retail (shopping, commerce, etc.) and the Creative Industries (gaming, audiovisual, culture, etc.).
Mobile World Capital presents a global vision that effectively integrates mobile technologies into the fabric of the industries transforming our lives. Committed to expanding the mobile experience throughout Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain with strong support of the public and private sector.
Mobile World Capital is leading mobile transformation through commitments in Competence Centres, local Industry Development, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation programmes.
MWCapital offers an open platform and exhibition showroom where citizens can understand and experience how mobile is enhancing our lives: The Mobile World Centre, located in the heart of Barcelona on Plaza Catalunya.