Barcelona is one of the major European metropolises with more than 1.5 million inhabitants. It is the sixth largest metropolitan and fifth largest industrial agglomeration in Europe. Today the city and its metropolitan area act as a centre of economic activities related to new technologies and advanced services in the framework of the information society.

The Barcelona City Council is strongly involved in the city transformation towards a real Smart City and taking the European leadership in that process. However, this process is not recent and it is been based on the previous transformation steps taken by the municipality.

More than ten years ago, the city of Barcelona made a significant investment to deploy a corporate broadband network based on optical fibre connecting all the public buildings. This network has been growing and expanding until today. At present, more that 300Km are connecting around 120 public buildings and offices throughout the Barcelona city extension. Moreover, in the area of the Barcelona 22@ innovation district, the city has identified dark optical fibre as a key infrastructure to foster economic development in the city and, consequently, started its deployment through a pilot test with more than 35Km of dark optical fibre deployed. The tests proved the effectiveness of this solution and now it is extending to other districts of the city. The advantages of this network are multiple: it promotes competitiveness among telecom operators, which are using the common infrastructure and offering FTTH and FTTB pilot services, while rationalizing the telecom infrastructures deployment and promoting the delivery of advanced NGN services.

More recently, the municipality started in 2009 a project to extend the corporate optical fibre to reach urban elements (traffic lights, public elevators, parking meters, security cameras, etc.) and to provide corporate access to all the civil servants working on the street (police, fire-fighters and emergency patrols, inspectors and social services). Nowadays, this Wi-Fi mesh network is covering the 30% of the city surface and is being used by close to 20 different municipal services. In parallel, aiming to fight digital divide and promoting the use of internet resources and services, the city council launched a city free Wi-Fi internet access network to citizens in public spaces. These networks have today more than 444 access points located in public spaces and are extending its coverage.

Moreover, to promote the development of advanced sensors and city management solutions and foster the use of open innovation practices, the municipality launched in 2009 the “Barcelona City Lab”. This initiative offers a part of the city including housing and working spaces and telecom infrastructures to be used by companies as a laboratory to test products in real conditions. Up to now more than 20 projects are on the process of testing their products and inventions in the Barcelona City Lab.

Nowadays, the city is currently dealing with the creation and management of a large network of sensors of diverse and multipurpose types. It is intended to do so in a horizontal way, that is, having a single platform to manage the entire sensor network, and at the same time, allowing a sensor to be used by multiple applications or for various purposes. To achieve this important point, before providing the city with a specific sensor type for a particular purpose or application, a multipurpose scalable, and plug and play platform will be developed in order to achieve the integration and management of all existing and future sensors ensuring scalability and reliability to allow total integration of these heterogeneous types of sensor. This platform is being developed as an open innovation facility to be used also as a test bed for sensors manufacturing companies.

Lately, the municipality has launched its Open Data portal with more than 274 data sets in different formats, how to use guide, search tool and active feedback facilities based on web 2.0 tools.

Role in the project

  • Data assessment and specification
  • System/Platform implementation
  • Pilot development
  • Services development, implementation and testing
  • Dissemination
  • Impact evaluation and exploitation