Telefonica SmartSantander project to become smart-cities blueprint

Telefonica claims its pioneering SmartSantander project has exceeded initial expectations and could become a blueprint for the development of smart cities in future.

Launched three years ago with a budget of €8.67 million ($11.93 million), the project in Santander has made use of an array of M2M and Internet of Things technologies, delivering benefits in areas including energy and traffic management and healthcare.

Working in collaboration with the University of Cantabria and Santander city council, Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) says it deployed more than 20,000 devices in Santander and the surrounding area – including sensors, repeaters, gateways, informative screens and mobile handsets – to support a variety of smart-city applications.

Among other things, the project allowed authorities to monitor usage of parking space reserved for people with reduced mobility, make improvements in urban traffic management, and reduce energy consumption through the use of intelligent street lighting.

The project has also received backing from the European Commission, which said it “has successfully achieved all its objectives, even exceeding initial expectations” in a recent statement.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Ministry of Industry has said SmartSantander could be replicated in other Spanish cities, while Telefonica claims authorities from other countries in Europe and Latin America have visited Santander to find out more about its use of smart-city technologies.

Besides coordinating the work of some 25 partner development agencies on SmartSantander, Telefonica has also established a Smart Cities Innovation Centre in Santander that maintains relations with other agencies worldwide.

The Spanish operator says it is incorporating elements of SmartSantander into its smart cities design, and also claims to be now leading the development of FI-WARE – a European platform aimed at facilitating the creation of apps for smart-city deployments.

The European Union views SmartSantander as critical to its efforts to “achieve European leadership in IoT technologies”, in the words of Telefonica.

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