Global Head of Sales, Vodafone Internet of Things (IoT) LinkedIn
Today (19 May), some 60,000 rock fans from around Europe are expected for the opening of the seventh edition of Rock in Rio-Lisbon. They’re coming to see headline acts like Bruce Springsteen, Queen and Hollywood Vampires but they’ll also be getting a unique taste of what smart city technology can do to improve sustainability, efficiency and the lives of urban citizens.
Vodafone has teamed up with the festival organisers to create the world’s first “Smart Rock City” at Lisbon’s 85,000 m2 Bella Vista park and I’ve been there myself to see the preparations.
For the first time, Internet of Things technology will be used to control everything from energy, water and waste to air pollution and toiletry facilities at the festival. And all of it will be managed from Vodafone’s Centralised Technical Management (GTC) system, designed in partnership with the Portuguese company SSA Dynamics.
At first sight, using a rock festival to demonstrate the effectiveness of smart city solutions may seem a little strange, but not when you consider the number of visitors, the logistics involved and resources consumed.
For example, in terms of energy, the festival’s main World Stage alone has several electricity generators that can eat up over 3 Megawatts or the equivalent consumption of 3,000 apartments at peak time. For this reason, the main stage and two others, as well as the VIP area, will all be monitored to provide detailed power usage data. The information will be used to optimize energy resources at future festivals just as city councils can use similar technology to optimize power consumption, enhance street lighting and cut maintenance costs.
Like energy, water supply is also a major urban resource management issue, particularly for cities in arid climates where water conservation is paramount. At Lisbon’s Bella Vista park, special sensors have been installed in the 3 main water tanks, providing real-time updates to ensure there are no water shortages at the festival.
Urban waste management is another area where smart city technology can help, by avoiding health hazards while cutting down on unnecessary collections. To demonstrate the technology’s effectiveness, at Rock in Rio-Lisbon, high definition cameras connected to the GTC system will continuously manage the festival’s solid waste compactors to ensure they don’t get overfilled or blocked.
And then of course there’s the thorny issue of congestion. In cities, smart parking solutions using sensors to detect and inform drivers of available spaces can radically cut pollution and congestion. At music events, the equivalent problem is often finding an available toilet. So, sensors have been installed in the festival’s 330 WCs to check the occupation rates via the Vodafone Rock in Rio App.
Finally, air quality is a priority for any smart city and Lisbon’s Rock City is no exception. As a result, sensors have been installed around the venue to monitor the environmental conditions and, for the first time, provide that information to festival goers via the smartphone App.
Whether it’s improving sustainability, cutting costs, easing congestion or helping citizens to help themselves, what we’re trying to do in Lisbon is not only to provide fans with a better festival experience but also to demonstrate that the smart city is no longer a pipe dream – it’s a reality.