The city of Valencia in Spain has been taking steps towards becoming a smart city in the past few years. Valencia is the third most populous city in Spain with a population of 800,000 inhabitants. Many see Valencia as a role model for how to transition to smart city projects.
The First Steps Towards Becoming a Smart City
In 2014, the council of the city of Valencia took the first steps in their smart city journey. During this period, the city launched the Valencia Smart City Platform (VLCi Platform). The VLCi Platform was launched through the InnDEA Foundation. The introduction of this smart city project enabled the city to centralize information on municipal services. This is made possible due to the technological solution developed in partnership with Telefonica I+D and based on the European Fi-Ware standard. With the introduction of this platform, Valencia became the first Spanish city to have an integrated Smart City management platform based on cloud services.
The VLCi Platform
With the VLCi Platform, the city is able to compile key indicators of city management and urban services. Moreover, the use of this platform also offers transparency to citizens and increases the efficiency of municipal services. Due to the use of this platform, the local government is able to measure the quality of life of citizens and allows a point of comparison between cities that use similar tools.
The main aim behind the VLCi Platform is to improve and rationalize the governance model of the city. In fact, this smart city project was created to encourage greater participation of civil society. The use of the platform can provide information on 350 indicators. The collected information can be used to integrate data on municipal services. These are services such as street lighting, traffic, gardens, local police, levels of pollution, waste collection and weather.
This information can be collected due to the use of different devices spread around the city. To make the data collection process possible, the city installed sensors on buses or street-lamps and used individual smartphones.
The development of the VLCi Platform helps different stakeholders of the city on different levels. The collected data is available for the different municipal services but also for entrepreneurs. By making the data available for entrepreneurs, the city is inviting their input to improve the city. This allows entrepreneurs to develop applications that can help improve public service.
Besides the use of the VLCi Platform, the city has also introduced the use of the Valencia app. This app was released together with the InnDEA foundation. The Valencia app offers the user a big variety of functions and information about the city.
In fact, with the use of this app users can subscribe to different channels (cultural, sport, etc). The user will then receive notification when something happens based on their interests. This allows the local government to interact with the citizens. Also, the app can base the interaction with citizens on their location. This feature is enabled due to the use of sensors, GPS technology, and the IoT.
With the use of the Valencia app, both the citizen and local government can exchange information. The user can receive information on the current traffic situation of the city. On the other hand, the use of the app also enables the local government to receive information about road accidents. This can be provided by the user as they are able to upload pictures with geotags to the app. As a result, the use of the app can simplify and improve the life of both parties.
With the introduction of these two different smart city projects, the city is improving its position. Despite the different use-cases of both of these projects, they are still interconnected. With the big data collected by the use of the VLCi Platform, the city is able to provide all the information to the citizen by making use of an app. It provides and easy and accessible way of accessing data to the citizen. Hence, these two different smart city projects enable the realization of a large-scale project. In the long term, this enables Valencia to lay the foundation for being a smart city.