Exploring the SynchroniCity “Atomic Services” for Smart Cities and Communities at ICT2018

David Gomez from ATOS Spain presented the first SynchroniCity use cases and services at the ICT2018 event in Vienna on 4-6 December 2018. We interviewed him to discover more insights about the “Atomic Services”.

David what is your role in ATOS Spain and in the SynchroniCity project?

I joined ATOS as a developer – and more concretely, an internal division called ATOS Research andInnovation – in December 2017. However, our role goes far beyond the mere implementation of pieces of software.

I have freedom to participate and contribute in other tasks that have to do with a research project, for example in dissemination.

In the scope of Synchronicity, we are leading the so-called WP3, that is “Base Applications and Services”, which deals with the data gathered from the partner cities.

Technically speaking, some of the partners, like ATOS, are responsible for the implementation of several so-called “Atomic Services”, which will be subsequently used by the different cities involved in the project to build their own applications.

Why did you develop the SynchroniCity “Atomic Services”?

Sitting atop of the SynchroniCity platform, we have developed various “Atomic Services”, which add new levels of features, knowledge and value to the raw data itself. Namely, this set of services embraces a wide area of very timely and relevant technologies, such as the use of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine to predict future events that are likely to happen in our cities, just to cite an example. Aside from this, we have also come up with other type of services that complement the more-technical-ones by e.g. adding a visualization layer on top of them.

What are the main advantages brought by these services?

It is worth highlighting that, being at this point of the platform, the information coming from the different cities’ datasets have been successfully “purchased” – at theSynchronicity marketplace – and can be properly consumed. This means that users relying on our Atomic Services do not have to struggle with the access and gathering of data from the cities, as the process has been undertaken by these services and are an intrinsic part of them. In other words, we hide the complexity and offer a straightforward plug-and-play access to the data from the cities.

Furthermore, we have designed these services in a way that they can be chained, thus leading to more complex “Molecular Services”. Consequently, external users will be able to build their own solutions just by leveraging the effort that we have done in the scope of the project.

Can you describe what are the use cases selected for developing the Atomic Services?

Before focusing on the Atomic Services themselves, we started from an exercise of classification, where we looked for common denominators among the different cities’ sensors. After checking this, we found that common elements like “Traffic” and “Weather” are the most populated ones, since most of the cities involve in the project are already capturing information belonging to these domains (e.g. traffic intensity, parking sensors, thermometers, and a long etcetera).

In parallel, we identified the main gaps and needs of the different cities (recall that some of them have“lived” a long path before joining SynchroniCity). At the same time, we are, as researchers, looking for timely and relevant technologies that can be leveraged to bring some added-value to the project. In the end, we came up with three main classes of Atomic Services,:

  • Visualization: in order to ease the app developers lives, we have given rise to a couple of services that display the information in a very eye-catching way. The differential factor here is that the integration of this on their own application is a matter of tweaking a configuration file, instead of having to implement a whole dash board from scratch.
  • Routing services: even though it is true that there are a number of off-the-shelf solutions to help users find the optimal route between two points, we aimed to provide some additional features, such as the possibility of exploiting some data sources coming from our cities to e.g. guide users across the path where the air quality presents the best conditions.
  • Parking/traffic prediction: thanks to the use of Artificial Intelligence technologies, we have created two different services, whose target is to yield accurate estimations of traffic intensity (in critical bottlenecks) and the probability of finding a free parking spot.

Which are the cities served by these services and which differences relies amongst them?

This depends on the type of application that each city is carrying out. This means that those ones addressing the improvement of Traffic Management will leverage our Routing Services or the Estimators/Predictors. Namely, cities like Santander, Porto, Milano, Carouge or Helsinki are currently integrating and testing our AtomicServices within their own applications.

Others, like Eindhoven, which do not share the same Traffic targets with the previous ones, have opted to use the visualization services in order to display and manage their sensors in a graphical way, for instance.

Explore the Atomic Services here.