Antoine Zenié, our Co-founder, was interviewed by Vicki DeBlase about the project Ultra IoT is running with CityVerve.
In a city, there are a lot of benefits from connecting things together using the Internet of Things (IoT). Some examples include finding the closest available parking space, making sure gardens in the city are watered only when needed and optimising the collection of bins.
The main issues encountered with most smart city solutions, however, are that they can be very expensive to implement fully and, once they are, they can only be applied to that one problem. To counter this, at ULTRA IoT we developed a system for gathering data about the physical environment.
What’s interesting about our system is that, owing to its modularity, not only is it affordable to implement but it also offers flexibility and interoperability that allows it to be modified to serve multiple applications.
This system includes a number of modules all having different functions, which can be plugged in together to make a large number of devices – each with its own technical features and specifications. We are even making a version of it LEGO © compatible, with each brick serving as a different module, in order to make it as simple and fun for people to use as possible.
We don’t stop at gathering data, we also integrate it with other data sources and analyse the whole thing in order to generate valuable insights to improve the lives of citizens and bring greater efficiency to companies.
With CityVerve, we are working on a solution tackling air pollution. Last year, over 40,000 people died prematurely because of polluted air, and within London the air pollution limit for the whole of 2018 was surpassed in less than a month.
The solution we are building for CityVerve provides air quality insights. The various modules we are putting together contain a mixture of air quality sensors and environmental sensors, and will be placed near the most frequented streets.
All of these will be integrated with data already available from the city of Manchester, before being analysed to improve dynamic traffic management and the understanding of the effect of air quality on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that interferes with normal breathing.
What attracted me were both the aims of the programme as well as the way it is run. CityVerve is ambitious, open and unique. It involves such a large consortium of partners and start-ups tackling most of the major issues present in cities together in a collaborative way. It’s very hard to find such an extensive and well-organised project with this kind of mentality.
Smart cities shouldn’t only be designed on the technology but also on the people.
On top of that, I was struck by the importance CityVerve places on citizens and the community. Smart cities shouldn’t only be designed on the technology but also on the people. I admire the fact that CityVerve addresses this and uses art to engage with people and visualise some of the technology being deployed.