What exactly is a Smart City? “In my research group at Saxion we describe it as follows” says Mettina. “A city that guarantees a high quality of life through cooperation between city councils, companies, inhabitants and knowledge institutions in the field of smart digital technology, traditional infrastructure, architecture, human capital and social capital, in which the city council in leading.” Crucial to this are data. The amount of data with high speed. “The Internet of Things, a ‘network of connected devices’, is the technological backbone of a smart city.”
“The network makes it possible to quantify daily life. Sensors collect data about the physical world that we can analyse and use to solve issues. It gives everyone – from inhabitant to civil servant and from software developer to tourist – more grip of the city and also chances to give feedback on the city more directly. The Internet of Things can almost literally connect everything to each other, such as underground waste bins with refuse trucks. When they are full the containers can give off a signal that they need to be emptied. Or think of putting up sensor to measure air pollution on facades of homes and businesses, or how you can signal through an app whether you feel safe or not in certain areas of the city.”
“Every few weeks, the core team Smart City gathers in Enschede. This team consists of people the city council of Enschede, Kennispunt Twente, NDIX, Novel-T (previously: Kennispark), Saxion and the University of Twente. We develop and talk about, for example, innovative projects and make arrangements for more involvement from companies and people with Enschede as smart city. Data about the inner-city is one of the themes on which we currently focus. The project Brid.ge is an example of a project about smart inner-cities at Saxion. Within this project, we collaborate with the city council of Enschede, Winkelhart Enschede, a number of creative companies and the University of Twente. We are researching, amongst others, which data are needed to get a grip on the changes we are currently witnessing in inner-cities. Think of vacant shops caused by the economic crises and online shopping.
To be able to adjust inner-cities to the changing needs of their visitors, many cities have monitored their inner-cities for years. Those monitors are often based on counting people passing by and holding questionnaires among visitors. Because of the big changes that many cities are expecting, the traditional inner-city monitors are no longer adequate. There is a demand for more, better and real-time data. That’s what our researchers in Brid.ge and other projects are working on, together with companies and students. Based on the existing data from, for example, parkings, WiFi and apps combined with data from new sensors we are researching the possibilities for a real-time image of the city without inflicting on the visitor’s privacy. You can already view some of that data in the Dataskyline, developed by Saxion and 100%FAT, , that was revealed by Mayor Onno van Veldhuizen at City Hall on March 7th.
Do you, living in or frequently visiting Enschede or as a company, have ideas about the ways in which you could profit from a smart Enschede, then contact Mettina Veenstra: firstname.lastname@example.org.