Europe and Japan collaborate on smart cities

The European Union and Japan have launched a two and a half year programme that aims to provide cities with a cloud-based platform to link government data with the Internet of Things.

Called CPaaS.io (City Platform-as-a-Service–integrated and open), the platform will link technologies like the Internet of Things, big data, and cloud with open government data and linked open data, in order to enable a multitude of different applications.

The project is being coordinated by the Bern University of Applied Sciences in Europe, and by the YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory in Japan.

The European coordinator, Stephan Haller, from the Faculty of Economics at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, sees several benefits of such a platform.

“It contributes strongly to urban innovation and strengthens the attractiveness and competitiveness of the city,” he said. “By providing open data, it possibly attracts additional businesses. And the platform empowers the individual citizen to gain control about his or her data and to define, who is allowed to use which data and how.”

Partners in the project say that novel services can be provided either by the city itself or by third parties to the public as well as to businesses and will help answer questions such as; In which direction are visitors streaming? How can public transport be adapted to respond to the current situation? And how can authorities react to hazardous situations, accidents, and sudden weather changes?

Partners are keen to stress that flexibility and elasticity will be key principles in the design of the architecture in order to support the deployment in many different cities with differing requirements, relating to services and operational aspects.

The cities that will make up the European component are Amsterdam, Murcia and Zurich, and in Japan, Sapporo, Tokyo and Yokosuka. Companies involved in the platform include NEC, Microsoft AGT International and others.

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