The term Smart City was born at the end of the year 2000, and it’s applied to any city that uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve the management of municipal services and the quality of life of citizens. Building in this way, a new urban model that responds to the growing demands of the population in a sustainable, efficient, effective and transparent manner.
For many years, the Terrassa City Council has implemented “Smart City” actions and policies in the field of technology, energy, the environment and mobility. However, it was not until 2015, with the creation of the Smart City Terrassa Master Plan, that the necessary strategy and guidelines were established, grouping all the areas of the city hall in a transversal manner, to turn the city into a Smart City.
To do this, it is not only necessary to install in the city a technology that collects data, such as by means of sensors, but it is also necessary for the city to have an infrastructure to transmit it (internet, Wifi, Bluetooth, …) and have the capacity to manage the information that is received and can be shown to citizens in an easy to understand way (opendata). It is right in this environment where the Sentilo Platform appears.
Sentilo is a free and open source computer program (software), that is, it is distributed by means of a free license that allows each user to use the program’s source code to study, modify and improve it.
This program creates a transversal platform made up of two fundamental parts: 1)a layer of sensors deployed throughout the city that collect and transit the captured information; and 2)the use of all the information “generated by the city”. We must make special emphasis on the term “transversal”, because the data that is collected through the sensors reaches Sentilo so that citizens can view it, but also because many programs that the City Council has, regardless of the area, feed on these data. An example would be GMAO, the city’s maintenance program.
Currently in our city, sensors are installed in different places: containers (glass, plastic, organic matter, paper and the rest), water caudal, electrical panels in some municipal buildings, irrigation electric valves, weather stations, parking spaces, atmospheric noise control, … (Fig. 1). All this data is uploaded to the Sentilo platform in real-time and displayed graphically and intelligibly for citizens.
Figure 1. Example of the location of the electrical network sensors in municipal buildings and the list of sensors that the Sentilo de Terrassa platform has. Source: Terrassa Sentilo viewer.
Many large cities in the world, such as San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Dubai, Oslo, Singapore, … use this program or a similar one to develop their smart city, but it is not necessary to go very far to find cities that do too. Some cities in our territory have opted for this platform (Barcelona, Cambrils, Reus, Terrassa, Granollers, Sant Feliu de Llobregat …), as well as other organizations (Barcelona Metropolitan Area, Catalan Water Agency) and deputations (for example, the Barcelona and Valencia). It should be borne in mind that there is a close relationship between the administrations that are committed to this project and the private companies that provide the necessary technology (such as Cesva, Circutor, Boreal IT, Cat PL, …).
After reading this, some questions may arise, for examples What will we achieve with this smart city Terrassa project?
Among all the people who use public road, we will build a city with a better distribution of resources, and the sensor data will be transparent, accessible and in the public domain. Thanks to the data collected, it will be possible to design city improvement projects, such as to reduce pollution, achieve more efficient mobility, … in short, improve the quality of life for citizens.
A great step to achieve this is the project Pilot of intelligent buildings – iBuilding. Our city of Terrassa, together with 7 other cities, being a finalist in the call of the public entity Red.es, attached to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. This project consists of sensorize 170 city buildings (public buildings -museums, municipal offices, sports centres, schools, markets, …- railway and bus stations, historic buildings, …) to improve the services offered by the City Council. All the data obtained by the sensors will be in the public domain and can be viewed on the Sentilo platform. The project has just been started, but if you want to know how it is evolving, you can consult the following website: Participa a Terrassa.
- Terrassa City Council (updated on 18/05/2020). Sentilo Terrassa. Terrassa sensor and actuator interconnection platform. Retrieved from: http://sentilo.terrassa.cat/sentilo-catalog-web/
- Participates in Terrassa (updated on 18/05/2020). Smart Buildings – iBuildings. Retrieved from: https://participa.terrassa.cat/processes/iedificis?locale=ca
- Sentilo (updated on 18/05/2020). Sensor Home. Retrieved from: https://www.sentilo.io/wordpress/