Many cities across the world are aiming to become a smart city. But for the city of Santander in Spain, this is already a reality. This is in large part thanks to the thousands of sensors the government has installed across the city. The aim of these sensors is to alert residents of traffic jams, regulate the watering of the city parks and manage the street lamps.

The Goal that Became Reality

Back in 2009, an IT professor at the University of Catanbria pitched the idea of creating a smart city. In this time period, the city was having big problems with parking and traffic congestion. Now, eight years later the city has many more residents than when they started and it can be considered a living laboratory. While many cities aspire to make their city smarter, Santander has actually made it possible.

By becoming a smart city, Santander has achieved the status of the most connected city in Europe. This is in terms of installed infrastructure. Moreover, it has also peaked plenty of foreign curiosity. In fact, cities as Boston – United States and Aarhus – Denmark have shown interest in working together with the Spanish city of Santander.

Furthermore, the city is also taking part in dozens of international projects. The results of these projects are being closely monitored. The involved parties are very interested in the outcomes of these projects, especially as well-known cities such as London and Tel Aviv who are deploying IT to deliver services.

Smart Solutions

Santander offers solutions that are based on state of the art technology and IT infrastructure. The city offers its citizens a parking guidance solution and other innovative solutions.

Parking Guidance Solution

Since the year of 2013, the city has implemented the use of a parking guidance solution. This solution is based on Nedap wireless inground parking sensors Sensit. The city has incorporated the use of these into their Smart City platform. This innovative project was made possible by Everis Smart Services.

The use of the Smartzone Guidance Solution is aimed to reduce the stressful search for available parking spaces. Most importantly, it optimizes to use the existing parking capacity of the city. The detours taken by the citizens have an impact on the city’s environment. Therefore, by reducing this detours it also enables the reduction of pollution and contributes to a more sustainable and cleaner city.

Innovative Solutions

The local government of the city has been putting a big effort in creating innovative solutions for the city’s problems. The sensors installed across the city make this possible for the local government. The city has a yearly rainfall of more or less 180 days. With the use of sensors, they are able to ensure that the automatic irrigation system in the public parks only starts working when the soil is dry. Furthermore, the city is also planning to implement the use of sensors to enable the use of intelligent street lights. This is aimed to reduce the light when there is nobody around. Once again, this helps the city the reduce their waste and increase the sustainability across the city.

Resident Input

While Santander is a great example of a smart city, there is always room for improvement when it comes to technology. And who better to spearhead conversations for improvement than the citizens themselves.

The University of Cantabria holds regular meetings with the local residents to address their concerns and for the brainstorming of eventual ideas. Residents can share their ideas for eventual apps that can help the city. A good example of one of these meetings was the successful outcome of an app created by a pregnant woman. She was able to create an app that outlines the easiest route to be taken by someone that has a buggy.

The city of Santander in Spain is a great example of what can be achieved by implementing smart city objectives. The successful outcome of the city is made possible due to the combination of the use of the right technology and a good implementation.