Dublin has become the latest European city to launch a Smart City initiative, parallel to flagship projects in Bristol and London. The aim of the project is to position the Irish capital as a world leader in the development of new urban solutions, putting Dublin at the forefront of urban innovation.
Early 2016 saw the consolidation of a number of disparate innovative smart projects that had been in development across the region over the previous four years. These became Smart Dublin, a collaborative initiative between the city’s four local authorities, with a stated objective of solving challenges and improving city life through engaging with researchers and smart technology providers.
Smart Dublin encourages the creation of solutions to address the most pressing needs of the city, with an emphasis on utilising the opportunities created by emerging technology and public data. Areas that have been identified as priority challenges have been mobility, environment, energy, waste and emergency management.
The four local authorities have combined data from across the region onto a single online platform, which has been made available for anyone to use for testing purposes, and to inform and speed up the advancement of services for the benefit of Dublin’s citizens.
An additional benefit is, in creating such a pool of high-value data that can be used for research purposes, the initiative will give Dublin-based companies a significant advantage in a rapidly growing area of technology and innovation.
Technology players based in the area, such as IBM and Intel, are collaborating with local authorities and universities on the initiative. The city itself is being used as a test bed for developing new and innovative solutions to the city’s current and future challenges, as well as facilitating more efficient public services, and improving the local economy.
Smart projects are already well underway in the city. Examples include a low-cost flood detection system that uses a series of tactically placed sensors to gauge rising water levels, and a scheme in Dún Laoghaire, in which waste disposal teams are alerted when smart bins are full.
In addition, Croke Park, Europe’s third largest sports stadium, plays a key part in Dublin’s smart city initiative. A collaboration between GAA , Dublin City University, Intel, and Microsoft, the Croke Park Smart Stadium project has enabled companies and projects to test innovations within a relatively enclosed environment, with a view to the results being exported and translated into the wider smart city deployment.
Much has been written about the potential of Smart Cities; connecting devices and facilities, and analysing and acting upon the data they produce will only benefit the way that our cities are run. However, a lack of test beds to trial new technologies is one of the biggest barriers to their development.
Smart Dublin is, therefore, a significant step forward in trialing and implementing the innovative global solutions for the way we live now and in the years to come - a smart initiative for a smart future.