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Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series–The “Connected Boulevard”: Taking the Fast Lane to the Internet of Everything

As urban growth accelerates and resources are stretched thin in cities around the globe, the concept of “Smart Cities” is more important than ever before. That’s one reason I’m excited to be in Nice, France, this week to help launch the “Connected Boulevard,” an ambitious proof of concept built to leverage and anticipate the Internet of Everything (IoE) for smart and connected city services.

The Connected Boulevard is the first real-world example at the city level of how IoE is enabling infrastructure intelligence and value through connections among people, processes, data and things. This proof of concept involves 200 sensors and detecting devices in the city center of Nice, providing context-aware information on parking, traffic, street lighting, waste disposal, and environmental quality.

Click on the video below to see the Connected Boulevard in action and to hear Mayor Christian Estrosi and Director General Anne Boquet explain how the Internet of Everything is helping Nice to realize its plan to become a Smart City.

The project began simply enough when the city wanted to replace its aging parking meters. For a city with an environmentally active mayor and an aspiration to become a “smart eco-city,” it was only natural to implement a “smart parking” system. But they didn’t stop there. Together with Cisco and the Think Global alliance of partners, the city of Nice created a common architecture platform to support a variety of innovative services in the central district.

The project’s main objectives are to test and validate a technology architecture and economic model, and to understand some of the social benefits of IoE. The shared platform will make it possible to transform raw data from sensors into the actionable intelligence that is critical for Nice to become a Smart City.

The proof of concept includes four types of city services that can quickly demonstrate the benefits and value of the Internet of Everything for both residents and city leadership:

  1. Smart circulation: It generally takes drivers 20 to 30 minutes to find parking in the city center. Now, through a mobile app for smartphones and tablets, visitors to central Nice can see where parking is available, as well as real-time information on public transportation and bike or car-sharing availability. We estimate this system will reduce traffic congestion by 30 percent and improve air quality by 25 percent.

  2. Smart lighting: The intelligent outdoor lighting system can realize at least 20 percent in power savings by adjusting light intensity based on changing weather and traffic conditions. For example, a streetlight will automatically become brighter in fog or rain, or when it detects pedestrian traffic; or it may become dimmer if there are an abundance of cars on the road generating ambient light.

  3. Smart waste management: By utilizing sensor networks and web-based applications that provide real-time information about trash levels in waste bins, collection routes can be optimized to save resources and improve overall service.

  4. Environmental monitoring: With data from sensors combined with crowd-sourced applications, both city officials and citizens will be able to more accurately track air and noise pollution, as well as humidity and temperature, and eventually map pollution levels to other factors, such as health and well-being.

This week, the Connected Boulevard is being highlighted at the Innovative City Convention, hosted by the city of Nice. Yesterday, city leaders, journalists, and international guests got a first-hand look at the Connected Boulevard and the context-aware information it provides through smart devices and street kiosks. As the director for innovation in the public sector for Cisco Consulting Services (formerly called the Internet Business Solutions Group), I am particularly pleased to be part of this “living laboratory.” The Connected Boulevard will help us learn how to capitalize on the Internet of Everything to create information intelligence that will improve the lives of city dwellers and transform urban centers into Smart Cities.

For more information, please visit our Internet of Everything site.

Stay tuned to view upcoming installations of our Intelligent Communities Global Blog Series.  Click here to learn more about what others are doing to make their communities more intelligent.

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