Barcelona is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the fifth most populous urban area in the European Union. In 2010s Barcelona’s strategy and focus to become a smart city started to take shape. City Council started to view the modernization process as a way to reinforce Barcelona’s smart city brand and become a reference for all other cities seeking to redirect their economies. The Smart City Expo and World Congress, held for the first time in 2011, helped to launch and promote this policy.
Smart City Projects
Citywide Wifi Lots of cities today have wifi services, but Barcelona is a frontrunner on the wifi movement. In 2013, the city had a huge push to increase the number of wifi hotspots. The results is a system that today covers nearly the entire city. Now, Barcelona has hundreds of miles of fiber optic cables that connect the city. There are plans to have free wifi available on buses, the metro, and in markets. It can already be accessed in parks, squares, and libraries. Over a quarter of a million people access the free citywide wifi every month.
Connected Citizens Barcelona is one of the cities with the most smartphone penetration, so the local government created a series of apps to help residents. Residents in Barcelona are able to get the information they need about specific city services using these apps. Some include Apparkb, which is used to help residents figure out where they can park legally, Points of Interest to locate services near them, and Map Barcelona + Sustainable, which highlights initiatives to make the city more eco-friendly. Sightseeing locations like Parc Güell and events like La Mercè festival also have apps with specific information for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Internet of Things innovation Starting all the way back in 2012, Barcelona began implementing IoT technologies to help improve life for citizens. That includes things like sensors to manage parking, street lighting, and even trash disposal services. In total, there are over 19,500 of these sensors. One area that has seen much improvement thanks to the smart sensors is transportation, including streamlined bus routes, information about when and where buses will arrive, and information about available parking spaces. The smart street light sensors not only incorporated new LED technology to reduce consumption, but they also detect when there are no pedestrians around to dim. This has led to 30% energy savings, a savings of over $37 million each year. These sensors can also collect air quality data to helps governments and administrations better deal with the issue. Not only can residents enjoy a higher-quality living experience, but the city has also reduced costs significantly and streamlined operations.
City Media Center
Smart City Expo World Congress
Smart City Expo World Congress gathers leaders from the most innovative companies, governments and organizations to move cities towards a better future.