“Smart cities” is an established yet quite new topic. A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses.
Smart Cities implement smarter transportation networks, upgraded water supply, improved waste disposal, reduced electricity consumption and less emissions. Smart Cities also focus on safety and security while they implement tools for providing citizens with access to services and information. Consequently, the field of Smart Cities includes the analysis of requirements for improving a city services in various fields and the creation of solutions that translate to IT tools.
For the transportation aspect of Smart Cities, the rise of mobility as a main topic has also contributed in making Smart Cities central to the Transportation Engineering research and development industry.
Connecting the world
Smart Cities create new connection mechanisms among all the stakeholders to achieve better planning and operations processes. For example, creating smart monitoring systems that detect when lights need to be replaced or when they should be turned on/off based on sunlight. Another example is the creation of smart traffic lights that prioritize the movement of Public Transport vehicles and emergency vehicles.
These solutions imply an intricate web of connections that require not only sensors and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices but also models and smart algorithms that govern the information that the sensors send in a way that it creates positive impact for the city and its people.
We have the knowledge and experience to create the logic (models and algorithms) that govern smart cities’ systems and to create scalable and secure connections based on cloud (Amazon, Azure, Google, Heroku etc.) or local servers connected with sensors and mobile devices. We can also create friendly user interfaces for end-users (e.g., citizens) and other stakeholders (e.g., municipal employees).
Smart Cities need also be adaptable to changing dynamics and requirements initiated by emergence of new technologies and shifting needs in the society and industry. Creating adaptable solutions is a challenge but can be overcome by using modern tools for modular design and continuous improvement.
Added value services
Smart Cities aim to create value for their users, citizens and professionals. Creating value can be defined both qualitatively and quantitatively, yet, the latter is much more complicated to measure and identify. Creating a solid plan for measuring value is the initial point of any AETHON’s activities and one that has served to identify problems and set priorities.
Smart Cities need also be adaptable to changing dynamics and requirements initiated by emergence of new technologies and shifting needs in the society and industry. Creating adaptable solutions is a challenge but can be overcome by using modern tools for modular design and continuous improvement such as Agile management techniques and Continuous Integration approaches, that we use in AETHON.
Focusing on the citizen
Cities become Smarter to accommodate the needs of citizens and industry. The “citizen”, however, is not a single person but should be considered as multiple user groups with different needs. For example, groups such as parents with small children that need to carry equipment and strollers have different needs, especially in terms of space in comparison to elderly travellers. Another example is people with reduced mobility or other special needs that need more robust and versatile navigation mechanisms than younger generation who have the best affinity to technology.
Studying the citizen needs and generating solutions that are inclusive and promote openness, thus, continuous improvement, is within the core mission of AETHON.
Solutions made for the citizen need to consider the citizen at different levels of definition and usage. AETHON encourages and implements co-creation approaches where citizens are requested to provide input and assess the design and definition of smart cities projects and products.
Including citizens in the definition and assessment of a Smart Cities’ initiative is fundamental to AETHON’s approach because it ensures dissemination, validation of generated value and a workflow for continuous improvement making solutions adaptable and adoptable.
Solutions made for the citizen need to consider the citizen at different levels of definition and usage. Studying the citizen needs and generating solutions that are inclusive and promote openness, thus, continuous improvement, is within the core mission of AETHON.
Data is the fuel
Data is the key aspect for Smart Cities. It is the fuel that supports the generation of new ideas and new services that have impact in citizens’ and industry’s life and operations.
Generating solutions for Smart Cities requires the handling and usage of (Big) Data. While in AETHON we have significant and diverse experience and knowledge working with Big Data, we go a step further. We are capable to define what data are required and how they can be collected to analyse challenges for Smart Cities, which is based on our experience with European Innovation projects.
Defining the data requirements when a solution is still unknown is a very proactive and forward-looking process. Data requirements also need to tackle GDPR aspects. For all those subjects, AETHON provides cutting edge services.