Smart Cities and Beyond: How FIWARE is shaping the Smart Society
A concept long developed within science fiction, the idea of a connected city – in which our daily lives are augmented by automated technology – is fast becoming a reality. Captured within the ‘Internet of Things’ umbrella, ‘Smart Cities’ use digital technologies to optimise the efficiency of municipal processes in order to reduce costs and, most importantly, improve the wellbeing of citizens.
The natural extension of the Smart City is, of course, the Smart Society, with the applications and technologies that benefit one particular city being rolled out across further regions. With this goal in mind the FIWARE project has been set up. An exciting project within the Atos Research and Innovation Unit (ARI), FIWARE is more than just a library of API but is a potentially world-changing initiative aimed at helping speed up innovation by offering developers easy access to fundamental building blocks for creating new applications.
A Vision for the Future
The recent announcement from the Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative that 31 cities from across Finland, Denmark, Italy, Spain and Brazil – among others – have all signed up to use FIWARE standards as the basis for future developments is tremendously encouraging. The commitment marks a milestone in the development of Smart Cities, boosting the transformation of cities into engines of growth and well-being through innovation.
After all, a single city is simply not enough of a market for a web developer: this agreement is the first step in encouraging cities to adopt an open-standard approach – crucial in creating the Smart Society.
Real World Innovation
Within FIWARE we have the FIWARE Accelerator Program, a European Commission launched scheme, offering €80m to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to develop innovative ideas based on FIWARE technologies. The scope of FIWARE is huge: anything is possible, from monitoring footfall at big events to tracking plagues or managing the beer fermentation of a home brewing process!
Perhaps one of the most exciting projects so far is from Antonio Sanchez, a Computer Engineer studying at Malaga University, who developed a system for the control and management of hotel rooms. The app helps automate everything from the lights in a room (via motion sensors) to towel heaters (via a door activated switch) or controlling room humidity following a hot shower. The platform could also be connected to mobile applications, allowing guests and staff to have further control over the room.
FIWARE has been specifically designed to allow new business models to emerge and flourish. The API-as-a-Service platform means that any developer involved can operate in a dynamic environment, able to change quickly to keep up with end-user demands. As time progresses these applications will become increasingly crucial to the development of the Smart City, helping to streamline and improve the lives of citizens.