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Italy’s Emilia Romagna smart city projects running on open source

The chief scribe recently took part in some smart city sessions organised in Bristol by Knowle West Media Centre, so he was interested to learn of recent smart cities developments in Italy.

According to the EU’s Joinup open source news site, open source software is a key element in many of the Smart City projects developed by a group of IT specialists and researchers for Italy’s Emilia Romagna region. Lucia Mazzoni, an IT project manager involved the region’s smart city projects said: “We prefer to use open source modules. This type of software allows scalable and easy to configure combinations.”

The group is building applications to monitor atmospheric conditions and air quality and collect and present data on surface waters. They are also working on IT solutions to increase energy efficiency and are building software to monitors the condition of cultural monuments and help preserve them.

Mazzoni gave a presentation on Emilia Romagna’s smart city research projects at the Smart City Exhibition held in Bologna between 29th and 31th October last.

One application presented was ‘Smart Catcher’, a location-aware Android phone application which allows users to locate useful urban objects, such as bookshops, filling stations, hospitals, restaurants and hotels.

The smart city developers are also involved in building middleware software for use in vehicle to vehicle communication. The idea is to create smart vehicles that can use the information to plan their routes more efficiently. Other projects are working on using smart sensors, video cameras and personal sensors.