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Smart Cities: Citizens Come to Their Sensors

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An artist's impression of a futuristic smart city.

Funding from the European Union has enabled Santander, Spain to install and implement 12,000 smart sensors.

Credit: Jonathan Stephens

Santander, Spain, has become a model for high-tech smart cities worldwide, equipped with 12,000 smart sensors that are transforming daily life in the small port city on the Bay of Biscay.

Funded by the European Union, the sensors transmit information about parking availability, surf conditions at local beaches, and trash receptacle levels. Sensors gather data that travels to antennas, which transmit it to a command and control center. From there, information can be sent to digital panel displays, for example, in parking lots to inform drivers of space availability. Data also is sent to applications on individuals' smartphones, with real-time information on road closures, bus delays, and the pollen count.

University of Cantabria researchers manage the sensor system, and use Santander as a testing ground for digital experiments. Santander mayor Inigo de la Serna now uses an app called the Santander City Brain daily as a forum for communication with citizens. Furthermore, the city has reduced electricity bills by about 25 percent and garbage costs by 20 percent.

De la Serna plans to expand the smart city program by adding wireless water and electricity meters.

From Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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