Focused on sustainability, air pollution monitoring and open standards, the stories below showcase how the FIWARE Community is benefiting from the freedom and adaptability of open tech smart applications
Cities themselves may survive shocks and stresses, but their citizens and organisations often need a helping hand to get by. There are many paths to the ideal resilient city: dynamic economy models that generate sustainable growth; innovative and collaborative approaches taken by open and transparent government; inclusive and cohesive societies; solid digital infrastructures, and the intelligent use of natural resources. But we clearly have a long way to go before we arrive there.
Before they can create impactful strategies on such fronts, cities need better data and the right skills and manpower, and great freedom to implement smart technologies. To that end, cities need to collaborate with private and non-profit sectors to deliver their digital vision. Partnering up with strong institutional structures is of the essence and non-profits can play a key role in helping cities to get their digital strategy on the right track. The FIWARE Community is one of these entities making it happen. With more than 380 international members and relevant partners behind its mission, the community focuses on driving the development of a sustainable ecosystem around open source, standards-based, innovation-driven technologies on a global scale.
One may wonder why standards are important. Common standards for application programming interfaces (APIs) and data models are at the heart of platforms and digital infrastructures, enabling the interoperability and portability of solutions. In order to successfully make it into the market today, new smart services and solutions must be able to securely communicate with other services and devices, traversing a multitude of infrastructures and systems. This way, solution providers benefit from knowing that their solutions can be connected with other applications or pieces of software – already developed and widely available – or that they can replicate them for multiple customers with low adaptation costs.
Urban sustainability indicators for smart cities
Effective evidence-based action plans are crucial to mitigate climate change, access investment funds and guarantee regulatory compliance
By Andrea Gómez, CMO, and Antonio Jara, CEO of HOPU, Spain
HOPU empowers urban innovation with disruptive technologies such as AI for environmental assessment and IoT devices, to monitor impact, sustainability and the environment. HOPU’s service simplifies available data in a unique indicator that contextualises, models and forecasts the environment to support better informed decision-making, based on cities’ specific characteristics, management team and citizens.
Current use cases include a high range of indicators related to pollen families and levels, pollution sources detection (industry, traffic, etc), the impact of low emission zones (LEZ), compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, low urban security zones control, and urban health monitoring in specific areas, such as schools, to inform urban planners about harmful situations for their young population.
A breeze of fresher air
Following the FIWARE open source approach, HOPU integrates datasets from different data sources including water consumption (utilities), air quality, mobility and urban health, to understand and contextualise the effectiveness of every action. HOPU manufactures IoT-based environmental monitoring devices, which allow the monitoring of air pollution, noise and the flow/density of people. The devices measure gases – such as NO, NO2, H2S, SO2, CO, CO2, and O3 – in specific areas and in real-time, detect toxic substances and particulate matter (PM) to identify specific nanoparticles such as dust, pollens, pollutants and viruses.
Thanks to its sophisticated laboratory – which calibrates and certifies every device before selling it – HOPU offers high-quality data-based solutions. The accuracy of the sensor measurements is improved in the laboratory by machine learning techniques, fatigue compensation and reducing the effort of cross-sensitivity. In addition, blockchain is used for continuous assessment of the maintenance to provide data with over a 90 per cent accuracy rate.
HOPU offers a reliable and robust solution that supports the monitoring of environmental emissions, and a preventive detection of anomalies. HOPU engages urban planners and decision-makers in the processes to ensure that deployments are understandable, intuitive and usable, making relevant city-driven solutions available for the entire ecosystem.
With that purpose in mind, HOPU has so far worked with different cities to create services of indicators based on their specific needs. Currently, HOPU is working in more than 30 cities such as La Palma, Spain, on a pollen service for asthmatic and allergic people, and Madrid, Spain, on a flagship project monitoring nanoparticle pollution.
The main value and differentiation are the innovative services to support urban design. For example, in Cartagena, Spain, HOPU offers a service focused on the use of smart spot data on air quality, weather and people flow for an efficient management of green zones. This successful deployment has been recognised by Le Monde and the European Commission. In Helsinki, Finland, HOPU has used AI and visualisation tools to detect and classify the main sources of pollution for data-driven and more efficient decision-making. Discover more about HOPU here.
Getting more from your data through standardized context management with Stellio
To address the many EU Green Deal challenges, we need to continue to do more intelligent analysis, which will lead to the collection of big data sets. This often also stimulates the deployment of IoT for the provision of key data
By Philippe Cousin, President and Founder, and Franck Le Gall, CEO and CTO, EGM, France
We see a growing tendency to collect and accumulate data, with data holders proud to showcase their data sets. However, the bad news is that it will be hard to exploit the true power of data if no emphasis is placed on the following:
• The validity of such data
• Its contextualisation with time and geospatial information
• Its relation to other data sets, through semantic and cross-domain data models, which offer the potential to turn data into a powerful asset
Driving the materialisation of global, open standards, based on open source
It was ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute and a strategic partner of FIWARE, that once stated “data without context are meaningless”, and we at EGM could not agree more. To empower data owners, EGM, in line with the FIWARE open source model, has developed an intelligent and context-aware data broker, Stellio. The product is based on the context information management standard NGSI-LD as specified within the Industry Specification Group (ISG CIM).
The NGSI-LD standard provides a cross-domain data model built upon semantic web (linked data) principles as well as a query-subscribe API allowing different services to dynamically exchange contextualised information. It supports centralised, federated, and distributed architecture to fit any deployment plan within or across organisations.
Every sensor measurement, every entry in a database, every tweet sent, and every video viewed has its own context. Taken out of context, each piece of information is almost useless. And software or agents looking for useful information may only find it if the context is available – that is, published with the data. A contextual information management system (CIM) serves as a clearing house for publishing, discovering, monitoring and maintaining data, according to contexts relevant to intelligent applications.
The ISG CIM specifies open standards for the contextual information management layer that accesses and updates information from different sources (IoT networks, information systems and so on), thus making it possible to implement contextual behaviour for intelligent applications and extend its interoperability to provide openness and avoid vendor lock-in to users.
NGSI-LD: an industrial standard to ensure large-scale sustainability and interoperability
Recent months have witnessed a rapid increase in interest from the global community to adopt the NGSI-LD specification, which is the evolution of the NGSI context API at the center of FIWARE’s open source platform. The Stellio broker is under active deployment and use by several partners and customers. Its latest deployments revolve around optimising water consumption in sport field irrigation, reducing food waste within connected school canteens, optimising facilities’ energy management, and so on. Next steps are underway within the projects aqua3S and Fiware4Water to build digital twins of water facilities (i.e. water network), dynamically connected within the NGSI-LD infrastructure.