Gijon is one of several European cities working with Deutsche Telekom Group to roll out Smart City initiatives for their citizens and visitors. Other Smart City projects were successfully implemented last year in Bucharest, Dubrovnik, Krk Island or Skopje among others. The plan for Gijon included modernizing and replacing 1.040 public lighting points in the city center with LED technology as well as the introduction of more services to citizens. According to the European Commission, starting with smart lighting is a good base for more comprehensive Smart City initiatives as lamp posts can also be outfitted to provide public Wi-Fi services and measure air quality or noise level in the streets.
In Gijón, this investment in technology yields twofold savings: energy savings, which contribute to sustainable city management thanks to the efficient and responsible use of resources, and financial savings, which save the city council approximately €100.000 each year.
A centralized management system monitoring each lighting point is the secret behind these savings. Designed in collaboration with Paradox and Plat. One, this system uses an open model that allows an Internet of Things (IoT) communication network to be created. This network provides the basis for new management and information services such as smart parking spaces, monitored waste containers and air quality trackers to be integrated into public space. The new data gathered by these sensors is integrated into municipal management systems that improve the efficiency of services provided and allow intelligent management of resources and services.
Once streetlights have been connected in this way, they can be controlled remotely via cloud-based management software. This means they can be switched on and off, dimmed, and programmed with different lighting patterns remotely. In addition, more complex systems using additional data sources can be established to allow the intensity of light to be adjusted in response to weather data and ambient parameters. Motion sensors can sense pedestrians in a park at night and trigger more illumination around them, increasing security.
All Smart City initiatives have to respond to each city’s motivations, requirements, limitations, challenges and objectives, which are often stipulated by the political and economic groups in charge. First and foremost, the initiatives need to support the performance indicators of the city’s strategy. Being “smart” means something different for each city – big or small.