23 Feb Santander: The Smart City Capital of Spain
It is important that we move forward with technology in order to adapt and evolve. The northern city of Santander has done just this. With the use of Smart City, Santander has created a great example to follow.
First of all, Santander uses underground sensors to monitor and regulate the flow of traffic throughout the city. The sensors collect information about traffic and parking, and the free parking is displayed on digital panels. Therefore, drivers can look at the panels and know where they can park their cars.
Moreover, the lampposts are even smart. To conserve energy, the lampposts dim. However, when people pass by, the light turns brighter because they can sense that people are near.
In addition to sensors in the streets, there are also sensors in some storefronts. The barcodes can interact with customers through the window, even if the store is closed. For instance, a shoe store in Santander was the first to use a QR code in the window of its store. If the store is closed, and a customer wants a pair of shoes, he or she can still use a phone to take a picture of the barcode in the storefront and order the shoes. The code also contains information about the whole store. Therefore, even if a client does not want to buy a product now, with the QR code, the client can buy it in the future. Thanks to this shoe store, now there are more than 1,500 stores in the city that use QR codes in their storefronts.
Santander has also applied Smart City techniques in the process of garbage collection. Sensors inside of dumpsters signal when the dumpsters are full of garbage. The emission of fossil fuels is reduced because garbage trucks don´t have to collect trash as frequently; therefore the trucks use less gas and emit less fumes. This system also helps to maintain Santander as a clean and elegant city because the trash never spills out of the dumpsters, thanks to the sensors. With this advanced system, we can reduce toxic waste and combustible fossil fuel emissions.
Although Santander is progressing, can this lifestyle lead to downfalls? Of course. If the sensors are working constantly, there is a greater chance that they will fail. There is also the risk that the weather can impede the functioning of the sensors, thus providing false information to citizens. Therefore, it is essential that we control the development of Smart City, not only in Santander, but in the rest of Spain and the world.