Connected Boulevard: The world’s smartest street

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Council member Cisco has teamed with the city of Nice, France, to pilot a next-generation smart street they are calling “Connected Boulevard.

Boulevard Victor Hugo, located in the center of Nice, is host of the proof-of-concept zone and almost 200 different sensors and detecting devices. In addition to these, it also plays host to “guest” devices such as mobile phones and tablets used in the streets that get connected onto its wireless mesh network.

Data captured through these “things” is being processed and analyzed to offer the city and its residents invaluable context-aware information on parking, traffic, street lighting, waste disposal, as well as environmental quality as experienced in real time. Early projections from pilot tests of smart parking services have shown a potential for up to 30% decrease in traffic congestion, significant air pollution reductions, combined with an increase in parking revenues.

Further benefits are also being realized from estimates in synchronizing street lighting on a need-basis. For example, by calibrating street light intensity with pedestrian and traffic peaks and real-time environmental conditions such as fog and rain, the city could potentially save 20 to 80% in electricity bills. On the environmental aspect, more accurate data of humidity and temperature levels, in addition to air particles are being processed for understanding context-critical patterns.

This is possible because Connected Boulevard is made up of more than just sensors and devices. The Connected Boulevard equips the city with the capacity to capture data from daily life through the hybrid network infrastructure of the city that includes Cisco WiFi network. The data is processed into real-time information and converted into intelligence with the help of context-aware location analytics, before being disseminated to serve multiple services in city operations and for city dwellers. It is an Internet-centric “always-on” platform designed to be resilient, extensible, highly secure and agile, through four interoperable layers:

Layer 1: Sensors and networked devices with mesh technologies

Layer 2: Data capture, processing, storage and analytics at distributed points across the city

Layer 3: Central data collection, including computing, storage and analytics, combined with integrated and open standard application programming interfaces

Layer 4: New and innovative applications and services

As Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said, “For Nice to continue welcoming millions more visitors and companies while ensuring a high quality of life, using Internet intelligence is key. Many more things are going to get connected between people, with and between objects, creating valuable interactions and processes including that of public administration. Our ability as a city to harness this data is crucial to understanding what’s going on in real time and to enhance a multitude of services for city-dwellers.” 

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