Amsterdam has always been defined by its rich cultural history and beautiful system of canals. But its status as one of Europe’s premier Smart Cities might soon overshadow these associations. In February it was awarded ‘Best Government Emerging Technologies’ at the World Government Summit Awards in Dubai in recognition of its Smart City programme.
We take a look at some of Amsterdam’s Smart City success stories and highlight how they are experimenting with emerging technologies that have proven results in adding greater public value and that are positively transforming the lives of people.
One of the big Smart City developments focuses on Amsterdam ArenA, home of football club Ajax. The project involves many different organisations working in concert with each other, including Microsoft. Its goal is to develop a state-of-the-art smart stadium with innovations centred on improving fan experience, security and facilities management. The innovation at the stadium has been extensive and has included the addition of solar panels and the utilisation of wind energy, which led to the stadium becoming carbon neutral in 2015. Huawei are contributing by creating the largest open-access wireless LAN infrastructure in the Netherlands at the ArenA.
Smart lighting has been deployed around the stadium courtesy of Cisco and others. The smart lampposts can be modified to suit a range of different weather situations and coloured lighting can also be used to control the flow of traffic and pedestrians. Adjusting the lighting has the added benefit of saving energy which can be used for other functions, such as powering the Wi-Fi network or measuring air quality. There are also plans to expand the use of smart lighting to the Amsterdamse Poort shopping centre in the near future.
But it’s not just sports fans who are benefitting from Amsterdam’s Smart City developments. City-zen is a multi-faceted project that uses new technologies to improve the liveability of the city and reduce carbon emissions.
Siemens are a key partner in the project and have contributed to the City Dashboard, a smart grid that monitors energy usage, climate and other factors that positively impact sustainability. Amsterdam has been described as a ‘City with brains’, providing its citizens with real-time information about what is happening in their environment. This feedback is enabling them to change their lifestyles in ways that benefit both them and the city. The exciting part of this project is that it isn’t taking place at a test location, but a real neighbourhood, specifically the urban district of Nieuw-West.
iBeacon Living Lab
iBeacon Living Lab is another Amsterdam-based project that has been making headlines. Delivered by a team including IBM, it centres around a public Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure throughout the city. The key elements behind this are iBeacons, technology that citizens can interact with through their smartphones. For example iBeacon technology can create intelligent signage apps that point out tourist routes or hyper local points of interest.
The Living Lab is providing the infrastructure to stimulate IoT innovations and supporting the development of new apps and start-ups. It was launched on ‘Beacon Mile’, a 2km zone between Amsterdam Central Station and the Marineterrein, and has since expanded to the city centre. A network of Open iBeacons and other sensors has created a huge testing ground for developers which can be used to test all kinds of different apps.Basically, it makes the Smart City work for smart citizens.
These projects represent just a handful of Amsterdam’s Smart City achievements. For more information visit the Amsterdam Smart City website.