SMART CITIES AND SMART WATER

Digitalization in Saint-Quentin’s stadiums: City-as-a-Platform Concept

Challenge & Context

Cities today face many challenges, the first being their ability to provide basic goods and services to their residents, including — first and foremost — water.

  • maintenance operations of a stadium (grass watering, lawn mowing) can be handled more autonomously with the help of a remote system that commands and coordinates the different equipment (lawn mower, sprinklers).
  • save time — no need to go to the stadium field for daily maintenance activities.
  • How to collect, store and give access to all data that fuel Smart City solutions?
  • How to insure the interoperability between heterogeneous data and systems?
  • How to translate the needs expressed by end-users into technical requirements that fit and answer their expectations?
  • How to engage the market with a procurement policy that defines clear and appropriate guidelines, both in terms of actor coordination (e.g. responsibility sharing between providers) and technical coordination (e.g. standard and interoperability)?

Solution

The project of watering optimisation led by Saint-Quentin allowed it to reorganize the digital transformation of public services, starting from scratch. The solution was all about how to set up a process in order to introduce digital technologies in a new sector. This process started in 2019 and was split into three stages:

  1. a public procurement phase to scale up using insights from the testing phase;
  2. the deployment phase at an industrial scale with the providers selected during the tender.
  • an application to get information on the current status of the stadium and insights on the actions to carry out (watering operation, sensor maintenance).
  • Definition of a common language to be used by all data from different sources by choosing an Open API Standard like NGSI-LD (in the case of Saint-Quentin);
  • Upstream harmonization of the technical components to be compliant with the selected Open Standard where possible (at least for the central core and application);
  • Listing of several connectors that act as traductors linked to the central core to convert data (within the selected standard) coming from technical components natively using other languages (e.g. IoT devices being able to use many different protocols).
  • Defining clear responsibilities of providers in charge of each part, in this case. The City of Saint-Quentin asked data platform providers to offer the services that a third-party developer could need to access data and plug into their solution (Context Broker with NGSI API, connector for IoT device, connector FTP for static data). Third parties were mandated to provide solutions compatible with NGSI-LD to publish data and connect their systems by using the platform services.

How it works

The implemented solution includes multiples technical layers:

  • actuators that allow to start and stop the solenoid valves;
  • lawn mowers.
  • Opting for market standards. The decision for a NGSI-based city solution with FIWARE was facilitated by the fact that market readiness was highly recognizable and the city received lots of solution proposals with most of them based on NGSI;
  • High attention to interoperability and open standards. Deploying single-application platforms proved to be ineffective and very expensive in the long run, that is why one of the most important challenges for Saint-Quentin was interoperability. Only by using data from different internal and external data sources and by developing a unique, performing and reliable network supporting any kind of urban application over the same infrastructure can improve the services and help achieve concrete, measurable results.
Figure 1 . Solution Architecture

Benefits & Impact

The solution addresses two main beneficiaries:

  • reduce the number of time-consuming tasks required to program operations with the incumbent irrigation system that takes into account various fluctuant parameters like stadium reservation, mowing operations and weather forecast.

Added Value through FIWARE

FIWARE was the crucial element to achieve a sustainable smart watering solution. FIWARE technology provided the city of saint-Quentin with the capability to handle the long list of technical constraints and requirements that it had to address in order to implement a solution matching the users’ needs. Thanks to its potential in data and systems’ interoperability and interconnection, FIWARE allowed Saint-Quentin to fulfill the following 3 technical conditions simultaneously:

  • mash-up this information with other environmental parameters like weather forecast or evapotranspiration;
  • obtain information on the current status of the stadium and insights on the actions to carry out via an application as a decision base for the watering strategy or sensor maintenance.
  • determine a sequencing protocol to trigger the sprinklers one by one (due to low water pressure constraints).
  • the connection of the watering solution with the lawn mower to avoid potential conflicts with sprinklers.

Next steps

Together with the support of two further technical partners, the local startups Hostabee and Easy Global Market, the City of Saint-Quentin will deploy the overall architecture and solution to 9 stadiums between 2020 to 2021.

References

  • Information sources, like publications in media and press, brochures, blog posts, videos, slides on SlideShare, etc.
  • Interreg 2 Seas 2014–2020 is a European Territorial Cooperation Programme covering England, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (Flanders). The Programme is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and has a total of €241m ERDF to co-finance projects in the 2014–2020 period.

Author & Contributors

Alexandre Chaffotte
Innovation Manager @ City of Saint-Quentin, France
Contact @
alexandre.chaffotte@saint-quentin.fr

FIWARE is the Open Source Platform for Our Smart Digital Future.