The SmartMetropolis Project has already designed and implemented applications and platforms for some domains: City managment, public safety, non-emergency services, open data, social media and tourism.
City Management. One of the goals of the SmartMetropolis Project is to improve the integration of the city departments. In this context, SmartMetropolis has implemented and deployed the Smart Geo Layers (SGeoL) middleware. It is a data middleware aimed to unify data from several sources in smart city environments (government systems, sensors, people, etc.) to be used by actors such as citizens, government, academia, etc. In terms of Government data, two departments were elected to lead the data integration: SEMURB and SEMUT. SEMURB manages the information related to the urban space organization from the cartographic point of view. For instance, this department issues licenses for new building sites. In contrast, SEMUT controls the land property (to whom it belongs), occupation (built area) of the urban space for tax collection purposes. Although both secretariats deal with urban space, there was no unified database of urban space in Natal before the Smart Geo Layers deployment.
SGeoL was developed on top of the FIWARE platform. FIWARE is a generic, extensible platform able to cope with essential requirements in smart cities. FIWARE has been used in Europe in several successful cases, providing a wide range of smart city applications using the platform. This is mainly justified by the fact that it is open and royalty-free platform and it offers a set of interfaces to ease the development of applications targeting smart cities. FIWARE provides a set of specifications available through open APIs and is structured upon coarse-grained components, the so-called generic enablers (GEs). The implementation of a GE comprises a set of components that offer flexible and customizable features and functionalities, which can be used and combined in several ways and promote advances and innovation in the development of Internet applications and services.
Public safety. Another key application domain that is directly related to the main purpose of SmartMetropolis is the public safety. The focus of the public safety application was on improving the operational policing. Operational policing is the patrolling to respond to citizens’ calls for help and civilian emergencies. Unfortunately, it was not possible to find any open source application for supporting operational policing. Therefore, the SmartMetropolis decided to implement ROTA, a platform for that purpose. ROTA is a smart city platform that aims to improve public safety through a software designed to leverage the infra-structure mechanisms behind the city. It provides technologies to collect, process, share, store, and analyze a vast amount of data coming from multipart sources in order to turn data into powerful insights. ROTA integrates various information systems provided by different law enforcement agencies with the aim of providing two distinguishable benefits, namely (i) better-informed officers and (ii) improved coordination of limited resources at both individual and organizational level. ROTA has many functionalities, such as ROTA-PVM, a robust, scalable mobile application that fulfils the communication gap between the control room and field personnel. By using ROTA-PVM, the field personnel can receive notification of new incidents from a control room, with driving directions and historical information for proper situational awareness. The ROTA platform is fully operational since 2016 and has significantly enhanced safety and improved operational efficiency, besides adding value to police forces.
Non-emergency services. In order to improve civic engagement, the SmartMetropolis and the Natal Smart City initiative decided to deploy a non-emergency service application. Such an application connects users and provides them with open channels of communication for issues that concern public areas and public services. The Open311 Standard and the FixMayStreet open-source software were used as a base for the implementation of the Natal’s non-emergency service. Fala Natal is a system under development to improve the communication channel between the Natal City Hall and citizens. Using this system, any citizen may request the solution of specific problems in the city. Fala Natal comprises two applications (Web and Mobile) that allow citizens to create and track their requests and the dashboard that allows the City Hall and its departments to process citizen requests. Fala Natal is expected to be operational in the end of 2017.
. Releasing data is a crucial component to give to citizens a stronger voice in government decisions and empowers them to develop creative solutions to city challenges. Natal Smart City initiative and the SmartMetropolis adopted the CKAN open source data portal platform to publish and share a plethora of data. The open data portal of the Natal city council was launched in January 2016 and provides a plethora of datasets, such as salaries of public authorities, budgets, taxes data, etc. A new version of the portal is in development to provide data produced by the eCidades software.
Social Media. One of the great challenges of deployment of smart cities is the extraction of relevant information from the ICT infrastructure of cities. Such an extraction usually relies on the use of sensors that are installed to capture the flow of vehicles, water and energy consumption, thus requiring high public investment for the development of a smart city. To overcome this difficulty, some studies suggest using social media to identify the perception of residents and visitors about a particular city. For example, social media can be used to obtain relevant information about the situation of public transport, traffic and environmental conditions, public safety and general events in cities. In this sense, the Natal Smart City initiative decided to implement a platform that uses social media as a data source to support the decisions of policy-makers in the context of a smart city. There are some platforms available for processing social media content. Unfortunately, none of them fulfils all the following requirements: open-source software, support for processing the Portuguese language, and real-time processing of posts. Based on the importance of the user-generated content (UGC) to the tourism industry, the SmartMetropolis Project decided to define and implement a platform to support the monitoring of tourist perception and movement during their visits in Natal. The implemented platform is able to collect and analyze in real-time Twitter posts. The results showed that it is possible to identify the nationality, the language of the posts, the sentiment, and the points of agglomeration of visitors during a big event. Overall results suggest that data collected from Twitter posts can be applicable to the effective management of tourism destinations.
Tourism. Natal is well known due to its sandy beaches and natural resources which attract thousands of tourists every year. According to the Brazilian Federal Tourism Organization, Natal is the fifth most wanted city by domestic tourist who has high income. The tourism industry is a vital and growing component of the Natal economy. In order to boost the tourism activity, the Natal Smart City initiative decided to implement a mobile touristic guide to enhance tourists’ travel experience. For the tourism area, it was developed the Visit Natal application. Visit Natal is a smart city application that aims to enhance tourists’ travel experience. In order to reach such goal, Visit Natal encompasses three components: (i) a Mobile Tourist Guide application, which responsible for providing tourist information and collecting the movement of tourists; (ii) a Tourism Information System, which it stores tourist’s data and provides a web system to manage the tourist information available at the Mobile Tourist Guide; and (iii) a Business Intelligence Infrastructure responsible for using spatiotemporal data mining methods to extract useful information out of the moving tourist’s data. The first version of this system is running since the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in which Natal was a host city. The second version was released in August 2017.