iPavement: Building smart cities step by step

Information and communications technology (ICT) will be at the heart of intelligent cities of the future. We are starting to see WiFi move outdoors – take, for example, New York’s Bryant park which installed wireless internet access last summer and closer to home, four London Underground stations installed free WiFi ahead of the Olympics.

 

We put an intelligent one roughly every 20 meters. You can cover 300 – 500 square metres with each piece of pavement.

In Spain, however, despite being a country many fear will follow Greece’s financial woes, they are ahead of the field when it comes to progressive, smart cities. The iPavement, developed by Spanish company, Via Inteligente, is an intelligent pavement which provides wireless hotspots for those walking the street. The idea is to help tourists and locals by providing important and cultural information which they can connect to for free through their smartphones.

Interacting with our environment

So far two pilot schemes have been successful and the company now plans to sell the product, not only to other parts of Spain, but across the world. On 31st December of last year they installed the Ipavement in Puerta Del Sol, one of the busiest squares in Madrid. At midnight a message was sent to the mobile phones of those standing in the square wishing them a happy new year.

 

The iPavement being installed in Puerta Del Sol, Madrid.

The iPavement does not give general access to the internet but, having made their own operating system, Viacity OS, applications have been created which are specifically tailored to help those out and about on the streets.

Merging our digital and off-line worlds

iPavement’s Javier Urrecha told Humans Invent, “The idea behind it is to try and change the sidewalk or street into a digital world in order to provide a new platform of connectivity or communication to citizens.”

There are various applications that the person on the street can access, including city and metro maps, books on the area and even alerts if the streets become hazardous or traffic becomes congested.

The idea behind it is to try and change the sidewalk or street into a digital world in order to provide a new platform of connectivity

Further apps are currently being developed, including one that will allow parents to monitor their children when they go out.  Urrecha says, “It will help in enhancing children’s safety. You will be able follow and keep track of them and see if they are moving around or not.”

Smart stone tech

The pavements are made from Calcium Carbonate marble, a natural resource which Spain has over 50 million tonnes of. The material is strong and ideal for outside use. Urrech says, “Some of the pavements are intelligent ones and some are standard paving stones. We put an intelligent one roughly every 20 metres. You can cover 300 – 500 square metres with each piece of pavement. We put two or three parallel lines of the paving stones in a square. They then connect up, with one recognising the other which means all that area is covered.”

Each stone is built from Calcium Carbonate marble – strong and ideal for outside use.

As well as Europe and the US there has been interest from the Emirates. Urrech says, “A lot of construction is going on in the Emirates so where pavements haven’t been put down they wouldn’t need to replace existing ones.”

iPavement tech is another step in breaking down the boundaries between our offline and online worlds, so don’t be alarmed if the floor starts communicating with you in the near future.

Article from HumansInvent