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Smart street in Spain's San Sebastian improves households, business efficiency

Source: Xinhua - Thu 6th Apr 2017
Smart street in Spain's San Sebastian improves households, business efficiency

The northern Spanish city of San Sebastian has improved energy and economic efficiency of businesses and households after turning its main street into a smart street.

The so-called "smart kalea" (smart street) is the result of a public-private initiative that involves the participation of city council, households, businesses, and technology providers.

The smart kalea is a street project that aims to improve infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT) implementation, and data monitoring so as to make the city's main street more sustainable and energy efficient.

Ione Pizarro, who works at an audit for the city council, told Xinhua how technology enables stores to analyze the flow of people, to therefore improvement in their business performance.

"We analyze the flow of people who pass outside the store and, of those, what percentage actually comes inside. That gives us very valuable information about the flow of people, how many people come in, leave, and when," she explained.

A monitoring system tracks people down, identifies the precise time that more people are in the street and stores, what types of devices they use, and how much time they spend inside the stores.

"So, what you can do is adapt the store's schedule, because it does not make any sense that your store is closed when there are more people outside," she said.

Smart kalea began in 2014 and offers individualized advice to businesses and households to help them reduce energy consumption and adapt to new technologies.

"If your store is not open, you can have a virtual shop window, for example, where information is displayed, even QR codes that people can scan and then access your website," said Pizarro.

"It is about allowing people who cannot come into the store to have access to other channels of communication," Pizarro pointed out.

Regarding energy efficiency, stores have seen a 60% reduction in their energy consumption. A total of 35 shops have a device that monitors their electricity consumption, while they are also saving 75% on water consumption.

Households in the street have managed to save 12% in electricity consumption. A family savings plan is designed, which requires individual commitments from each family member.

Regarding street lights, there has been an overall saving of 88% due to improvements in facilities and management.

All the information on electricity and water consumption, people's mobility, environmental data is collected year round through big data.

The project has been recognized by the National Congress of Innovation and Public Services as the best public-private collaboration project of the administration.

San Sebastian was recognized as the "City for Science and Innovation" by the ministry of science and technology in 2011.

In 2015, 2.37% of the city's gross domestic product (GDP) was linked to research and development, surpassing the Spanish and European average, which stood at 1.21% and 2.10% respectively.

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