The answer is, by improving and expanding what will be the essential infrastructure in the city of the future, communications networks and information management. Santander is the first Spanish city to have obtained financing for implementing IoT (Internet of Things) technology, which will transform it into a smart city. Internet of Things refers to the identification—through, say, an IP address—of a real-world object for its representation in a networked digital structure. Once an IP address is given to objects that until now have operated independently in isolation and often driven by external and individual orders, a new, connected architectural system is in place and objects are suddenly able to communicate with each other. That is exactly what the Smart Santander project is about. Its aim is to bring together a series of intelligent systems that provide and manage information to and through people. The project, which is currently in its first stage, consists of the installation of over 20,000 sensors and will be based on a real-life implementation of IoT in an urban environment. Devices installed on street lights, under the pavement and on buildings will measure variables such as the quality of air and water, noise levels, light, available parking spaces, the occupation of loading areas, traffic, movement and weather, amongst others. On the simplest level, this will allow citizens to locate free parking spaces in their neighbourhood, and municipal managers to make informed decisions regarding irrigation and lighting and thus save energy. Eventually, systems will respond automatically to changes in variables. Smart Santander is pioneering the transformation of simple devices into living laboratories.
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