Amsterdam: The Smart City of Tomorrow

Date : 2-5-2018

Amsterdam Smart City initiative

Amsterdam, the smart city expands the use of IoT technology. In 2015, the city launched a dedicated IoT network nevertheless this will take time before the city is truly “smart.”

We’ve talked before about China and its position on the forefront of tech success. But architect Jason Pomeroy extols western smart cities over their Asian counterparts. For him, the authorities can’t embed technology. Citizens must adopt and use it to suit their needs.

Amsterdam makes a good case study in the use of smart technology on a city-wide basis. The city won the Capital of Innovation award in 2016. The authorities put the €950,000 prize towards investment and research.

But progress on smart city projects can be slow. The Guardian talked about Amsterdam as a city of the future back in 2011. What is the city doing now to make it the smart city of tomorrow?

Let’s take a look.

Amsterdam Smart City initiative

The Initiative runs projects in six areas: infrastructure and technology; energy, waste and water; mobility; governance and education; citizens and living; and the circular city.

The Virtual Power Plant experiment involves home batteries. It lets users store and trade energy from solar panels. The Green Living Lab focuses on integrating nature into urban environments.

These “living labs” work in specific neighborhoods. The communities test the technology and collect data for the Initiative.

The small neighborhood of IJburg hosted such a solution. This small island often became clogged by rush hour transport. The Smart Work experiment allowed workers to do their jobs within coworking spaces. The project tested commuting times and traffic emissions during rush hour.

Projects that work get scaled across Amsterdam, expanding the use of smart technology.

Other Pilot Projects

Cities can waste money if they install technology without assessing its impact. Amsterdam runs a series of pilot projects covering different aspects of city living. They include waste disposal schemes, parking innovations, and the transit system, among others.

The city learns from these pilots before they make large-scale changes. The collected data goes towards future projects. Or it justifies adopting new technology.

One example is the use of GPS data to manage traffic flow. This use of real-time data makes the system more flexible. It responds to the needs of the road-users in real time. That’s unlike rigid traffic management models based on outdated data.

Another example is the use of autonomous vehicles, such as delivery boats on the canal system. Amsterdam boasts 165 canals, totaling around 31 miles. If the project works, it could ease congestion on the streets.

The LoRaWAN Network

In 2015, the city launched a dedicated IoT network. It uses Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) technology. This low-power, low-bandwidth technology connects smart objects to collect data. Sensors send information across the free network instead of jamming mobile networks.

A simple use for the network involved bike-movement detectors. The sensors sent alert messages when the bike moved. If you’d left the bike locked up, you knew it had been stolen.

The LoRa Alliance is working towards the use of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) as a global standard. This technology could notify cleaning crews to empty almost-full trash cans. It could direct drivers to empty parking spots. Or it could send you a message to remind you a window is still open in your house.

The connected devices don’t need 3G, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. Amsterdam needed just ten $1,200 gateways to provide complete coverage for the city. Citizens use the free network without handing over personal details for access.

Amsterdam invests in all areas for technology success

Many of Amsterdam’s projects are still underway. It will be some time before the city is truly “smart.” But they’re closer than many other cities. Appointing a chief technology officer shows the commitment to become future-proof. They aim to lower their environmental impact and improve the lives of their citizens.

Navigant predicts smart city technology will generate a revenue of $27.5 billion a year by 2023. Amsterdam is well placed to capitalize on that success.

Expanding smart city technology brings more devices into your home. Use a universal remote like SURE Universal to help you create your own network of solutions.

Over to you – which smart city initiative most catches your eye?


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