Smart Cities – Dublin

Urban City: A Smart City Blog

A smart city (also smarter city) uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. Sectors that have been developing smart city technology include government services, transport and traffic management, energy, health care, water and waste. Smart city applications are developed with the goal of improving the management of urban flows and allowing for real time responses to challenges. A smart city may therefore be more prepared to respond to challenges than one with a simple ‘transactional’ relationship with its citizens. Other terms that have been used for similar concepts include ‘cyberville, ‘digital city’’, ‘electronic communities’, ‘flexicity’, ‘information city’, ‘intelligent city’, ‘knowledge-based city, ‘MESH city’, ‘telecity, ‘teletopia’’, ‘Ubiquitous city’, ‘wired city’.

Google’s Input

Now Google is getting into the ultimate manifestation of the messy real world: cities.

The Silicon Valley giant is starting and funding an independent company dedicated to coming up with new technologies to improve urban life. The start-up, Sidewalk Labs, will be headed by Daniel L. Doctoroff, former deputy mayor of New York City for economic development and former chief executive of Bloomberg L.P. Mr. Doctoroff jointly conceived the idea for the company, which will be based in New York, with a team at Google, led by its chief executive, Larry Page.

But we’re not just talking about its Impact in the USA it has a very real impact to our lives also in Ireland.

Dublin as a Smart City

Dublin is home of the Smarter Cities Technology Centre which is part of IBM Research- Ireland lab. The lab conducts research in collaboration with top universities, cities, and industry partners. Their research focuses on advancing science and technology for intelligent urban and environmental systems, with a focus on creating analytics, optimizations, and systems for sustainable energy, urban water management, transportation, and the underlying city fabric that assimilates and shares data and models for these domains.

Global Urban Datafest

Global Urban Datafest is a hackathon held all over the world to invent and create solutions to a cities issues and add them into the smart city frameworks. Many great initiatives and products are made during this event.

Some examples:

Get your Bike Rack Back

Hidden RFID tags in the bike, such as below the grip-tape, mud-guards, decals etc will be detected by connected bike racks or RFID readers overlooking existing bike racks. If a bike has been marked as stolen and is detected at a connected location, the owner and police will be notified. If a bike is removed from a rack without the companion keychain RFID tag present, the owner will be alerted and the theft hopefully prevented. Once the system is in widespread use, the market for stolen bikes will diminish and bike use will increase, resulting in a happier and healthier society.


‘Bintel’ is an innovative urban waste management system that aims to improve the liveability, attractiveness, efficiency, and environmental management of the city and its services. Developed in line with a re-imagination of urban areas’ pre-existing infrastructure, ‘Bintel’ provides potential administrations with an opportunity to increase their influence throughout the city more efficiently and cost-effectively through the use of low-cost sensors.

Bed Count Project Ireland

Provides real time Hospital data on patient waiting on Trolleys and Vacant Beds in Hospital.

Don’t believe “Smart Cities” is a good idea?

Take a leaf out of Dublin citys’ book, the Luas now has a timer on when the next tram will arrive and as do most of the buses now, compare that to 10 years ago when you would wait at the bus stop , hope for the best and more than likely be late for work or whatever it was you were doing due to the traffic. Now you can download an app and see whatever you need to : departure times, traffic and route its all at your finger tips.

In Conclusion

I believe Dublin is well on its way to be considered ‘A Smart City’ and I think that is needed in our lives , smart solutions for issues we need not have to deal with. The research is there we just need the implementation of the technology behind it.