Imec’s City of Things project aims to bring the intuitive Internet of Things to the city, improving the quality of living for its citizens
Concretely, we are transforming the city of Antwerp (Belgium) into one of Europe’s largest smart city laboratories where we put key technologies for smart cities to the test. We bring together user groups, hardware developers, app developers to accelerate the development and implementation of the Internet of Things in the city. Companies can test their innovative IoT applications under realistic circumstances, in a real city and with real users.
When the City of Things project will be running at full speed, there will be 100 gateways spread across Antwerp – virtual gateways for the possibly tens of thousands of wireless sensors worn by local residents or attached to vehicles, the traffic infrastructure or buildings in the city. Today there are already around 20 of these gateways operating, with the remainder gradually being installed. These gateways are genuinely ‘open’.
This means that anyone can use them to send data or to develop or evaluate smart applications. It also means that the technology is heterogeneous and not based on a single solution or protocol; it understands a whole range of communication standards, such as Zigbee, WiFi, Cellular, LoRa, SigFox and others. But these sensors and gateways are just the first layer. Behind them is an infrastructure for storing data and analyzing it in real-time. This infrastructure is technology-neutral and offers an extensive set of tools for converting data into real knowledge.
But the most important part of the living lab are the inhabitants of Antwerp: we are recruiting test panels of users for various applications.