GrowSmarter: Europe’s smart city initiative

Smartphones, smartwatches, and smart cars. The scale of smart devices is moving up the scale. In a rapidly urbanising world cities need to become smarter to address resident’s needs and to reduce the environmental impact.

GrowSmarter was one of three projects selected to receive support from the European Commission’s ‘smart cities and communities’ initiative under the Horizon 2020 funding stream.

Specific targets have been set as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% and create an estimated 1,500 jobs.

The idea is to integrate smart, connected, technology into a city’s infrastructure, from transport to lighting to hospitals, and the aim is to ready the market for the transition into the inevitable smart city transformation.

>See also: Building the data foundations for smart cities

GrowSmarter’s mantra is to: stimulate city uptake of ‘smart solutions’ by using the three Lighthouse cities (Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona) as a way to showcase smart city solutions: from advanced information and communication technology and better connected urban mobility, to incorporating renewable energy sources directly into the city’s supply network.

It has identified 12 smart city solutions that are spread over 3 major areas: low energy districts, integrated infrastructures and sustainable urban mobility.

Smart local electricity management is one of these solutions, and today at Smart Cities Summit in London it was announced that the ageing lighting infrastructure in Stockholm will be upgraded by Silver Spring Networks.

This upgrade will implement intelligent street light controls, and demonstrate the benefits of open standards, which facilitates data exchange among different products or services and are intended for widespread adoption, according to a definition by ITU.

>See also: Five smart solutions transforming the energy industry

The new lighting infrastructure will be introduced using Starfish, Silver Springs IoT public cloud network that connects ‘commercial enterprises, cities, utilities, and developers with two-way command-and-control, near-real time telemetry and industrial-grade security to every device’, according to Silver Springs.

“Cities and the industry need to collaborate more closely together on innovation to break the status quo of silos and drive more horizontal-focused models,” said Gustaf Landahl, head of departments, City of Stockholm.

“Through GrowSmarter’s program and solutions such as those delivered by Silver Spring Networks, Stockholm is closer to meeting its larger sustainability and energy efficiency goals.”

Only through massive collaboration efforts and rigorous testing can smart cities become a reality. Initiatives like GrowSmarter, utilising smart services, will be vital in progressing from a smartphone to a smart city.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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