Funded under the EC’s frontierCities programme, Sense and The City (STC) is an IoT-platform affixed to fleet vehicles, collecting daily air pollution levels across a city, and disseminating the data to cities and residents. Using FIWARE technology, the platform is designed to help city officials and residents alike gather information on daily air pollution, allowing city staff to consider air pollution impact when assessing mobility planning and commuting behaviours. CommuniThings, the company behind the Sense in the City (STC) solution, chose the commune of Ixelles in Brussels as its pilot location for the compulsory trial under the frontierCities acceleration programme.
"The sensors measure the different polluting agents in the air, such as NOX, fine particles and ozone, and then generate a daily heat-map”, explains CommuniThings Ann Demarche; "this is combined with a health‐impact recommendations service, which allows Ixelles – or any town hall for that matter - to develop and assess the effect of mobility plans based on a cost‐benefit analysis, while inducing commuters’ behavioural change”.
Citizens can also tap directly into the system – "STC may be coupled with a mobility app for citizens where cyclists and pedestrians can search their destination and receive information on the fastest and healthiest itinerary” adds Demarche, “thereby, contributing to improving urban mobility and the quality of life of residents and commuters”.
The pilot was later expanded to the City of Antwerp, in collaboration with the Belgian Post (BPost), and it was not long before other public and private actors to take notice. The company’s rapid development has also attracted attention in the media, with Canal Z for example doing a TV feature of the Sense in the City pilot trial in Ixelles in Brussels, organised in cooperation with the Commune of Ixelles and the national mobile operator Proximus.
"The frontierCities trial helped us gain increased momentum and visibility”, reflects CommuniThings CEO Etay Oren, "but it also strengthened our smart-city offering by adding air-pollution monitoring to our wider portfolio of conected-mobility solutions. We also used the experience in working with the EC’s FIWARE technology bed to build FIWARE into some of our other solutions outside of the frontierCities grant, so this was another benefit”.
The rolling out the Ixelles and Antwerp pilots has been paralleled by CommuniThings continued development to a full-fledged Connected-Mobility Platform. "We are now at a different level of development with a much more evolved portfolio of smart cities solutions”, observes Oren, “and this is manifested by our expansion in four countries, with a growing eco-system of Tier 1 partners”.
"For example, we have put in place partnerships with utility companies to implement projects in cities within Switzerland and Germany”, states Oren, "and we are also cooperating with the FIWARE LAB NL (FIWARE LAB Netherlands) in local Smart-City programs. We are also exploring connected-mobility projects alongside the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) in France. Other recent successes include winning a Water Metering public tender for the City of Dordrecht, which consists of the use of FIWARE GEs as its underlying architecture".
"Thanks to the EC and the frontierCities programme, we’ve achieved a quantum leap in the development of CommuniThings”, comments Oren, "and with numerous new partnerships and development plans in the pipeline we are very optimistic about the future”.