A research collaboration in Europe and Japan is trying to create smarter cities by using tools that merge cloud computing with the Internet of Things.
The ClouT project is a joint Europe-Japan collaboration to make cities smarter, helping them face emerging challenges in efficient energy management, safety and security, and economic growth and development. The project is creating a layer of services to bridge cloud computing and the Internet of Things to establish a communications and collaboration platform that exploits all possible information sources.
ClouT -- which stands for cloud of things -- is providing infrastructure, services, tools that will be used by cities, their citizens, service developers, and application integrators to create, deploy, and manage applications that take advantage of IoT and cloud capabilities. In addition, the program will help end-users create and share their own cloud services.
Launched in July 2013, the project already has built a reference architecture and developed applications for it that will be deployed and validated in field trials in four pilot cities.
For example, people in the city of Santander in Spain have created something they call Participatory Citizen. It encourages citizens to use their mobile phones to report to city hall problems such as accidents. Officials notify the citizens when issues are resolved.
A system in Mitaka, Japan, creates a community based on shared interests of elderly residents. It aims to reduce the isolation of the city’s growing elderly population by encouraging members to get out of their homes and walk on suggested routes that are geared to their interests and abilities. The city also sends them news about activities and coupons from stores matched with their interests.
The Interactive City project in Fujisawa, Japan, tracks sporting and cultural events and monitors relevant environmental and weather data such as air quality, temperature and humidity. It uses sensors deployed throughout the city and analysis of data collected from multiple sources including social networks. This information is shared through a customizable city dashboard on the Web as well as via mobile applications and public displays.
In Genoa, Italy the application called "Io non rischio" -- which translates “I don’t risk” -- obtains environmental and weather data from sensors including hydrometers and webcams. It provides information to the citizens as well as the civil-protection agency of the city.
In the coming year, ClouT will provide a final version of its reference architecture and deploy the first applications in the cities. Involving real end users will allow the ClouT teams to collect valuable feedback to validate the architecture.
The project is coordinated in Europe by CEA-Leti. In addition to the four cities, it includes STMicroelectronics, the Italian firm Engineering and the University of Cantabria in Europe. In Japan, participants include Panasonic, NTT, Keio University, and NII.
— Levent Gurgen is an R&D project manager in CEA-LETI and currently coordinates two European collaborative projects on the Internet of Things.