“Smart City is not just a vision, but already reality”
Paulo Ferreira, Bosch's VP Project Management Cross Selling, talks about old problems and new solutions.
Connected technology for livable urban spaces: Bosch is working with 14 metropolises on Smart City lead projects. Bosch project manager Paulo Ferreira talks about old problems and new solutions.
The term ‘Smart City’ is on everyone’s lips. Why is it important to connect cities and turn them into interactive places?
Because urbanization is one of the major challenges of our time. According to the United Nations, around two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Every 16 months, a metropolis crosses the 10-million inhabitant mark and therefore qualifies as a Megacity. These urban conglomerations consume vast quantities of water, electricity and heat, not to mention all the transport and waste problems that occur. And all this in the smallest of spaces. By 2035, worldwide energy requirements are expected to rise by 30 percent, and three quarters of this will be accounted for by cities.
And smart cities are the solution to all these problems?
We want to create urban spaces which improve the quality of life in the long term. Smart connectivity solutions will help achieve this, whether through new kinds of mobility, improvement in air quality, energy-efficient use of buildings, higher levels of security or intelligent homes.
What role does Bosch play in this?
With our broad por tfolio of products and services, and as a system supplier for energy and building technology, we can contribute to making cities learn to think, so to speak. The Internet of Things enables us to find lots of fascinating new solutions. Connecting one’s own four walls with the outside world was just the beginning. Smart City is not just a vision for the future; it has long since existed.
Can you name a few examples?
We are currently working on Smart City lead projects together with 14 metropolises. In California, we have set up street lighting which is only active when needed; at 5,000 street lights, this will save the city up to seven million euros in 15 years. Together with the city of Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, we are currently testing a system which monitors the water level of rivers when floods occur – thanks to cameras, sensors and an IT platform to analyze the data. And in India, colleagues have developed a solution to make better measurements of air quality possible. Climo, affordable and compactly shaped, won the Innovation Award at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. By the way: This city in desert will be investing half a billion US dollars in smart city development over the next few years.
An impressive sum.
Yes; this does, however, assume a different dimension given that American drivers sit in traffic jams for around 40 hours per year. This results in the waste of up to 120 billion dollars in fuel alone.
What are the implications for data protection if cities make greater use of cameras and motion sensors?
We only process, store and analyze personal data if the customer explicitly agrees to this, and delete the data again at the customer’s request – or after a defined period of time. The aim is to be secure, transparent and legally compliant.
The problem is that the infrastructure is being overtaxed with the growing number of city-dwellers. More people mean more traffic jams, fewer parking spots, and also a higher crime rate. The need for security at home and in public buildings is growing.
What benefits will increasing transparency have for citizens?
A city in which life is efficient, uncomplicated and designed to be pleasant is simply more user-friendly and more livable: The key word here is eGovernance. Estonia and Denmark are already quite advanced in this area. The reality, unfortunately, is often that you can have a pizza in your hand 15 minutes after ordering it online, but when I recently applied for a new ID card, I had to sit around and wait at the authorities for an hour.
Might we even have smart marriage and smart divorce someday?
(laughs) Perhaps not that, but take topics such as waste disposal, multimodal transport, or our community-based parking system: The vehicle detects a parking space while driving by, either for itself or other users, who receive the information by means of the cloud. Waste collection will become similarly easy to structure, since garbage cans will soon know of their own accord when they need to be emptied.
The aim is, therefore, to optimize what already exists?
Exactly. We are planning a partnership with the Chinese city Tianjin to implement our smart solutions. These include the virtual power station, software which collects energy from a range of predominantly regenerative sources, stores them and feeds them into the grid when demand is high. The consequence is a significant reduction of CO₂ emissions. Currently, cities are responsible for 75 percent of worldwide electricity consumption.
This has enormous potential, not just for smog-ridden cities in Asia.
In the long term, Smart City technologies, meaning sensors, software and services, will improve the quality of life for the inhabitants of urban areas at the same time as conserving finances. Connected solutions will increase urban energy efficiency alone by 30 percent within 20 years.
is Vice President Project Management for worldwide Cross Selling and Smart Vertical Solutions at Bosch. The graduate in business administration has been with the group since 1992. Ferreira held various management positions, including General Manager for Bosch in Thailand. After stations in Europe, South America and Asia the native Portuguese began building up the cross-selling division in 2011, which, among other things, involves smart city technologies from energy and building technology in the planning of major projects.