Knowledge At The II Smart Cities Congress

Madrid has hosted the II Smart Cities Congress, organized by the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI) and the Tecma Red Group. The aim of the event is to promote the exchange of knowledge on smart cities in Spain, based on innovation and technology as development tools.

II Smart Cities Congress: An Insight

From, we have witnessed this second edition to identify the actions that are taking place in the field of education, training, and knowledge management in smart cities. Here, we describe the projects listed by the II Smart Cities Congress in this area:

SmartKids: Building The Future Of Cities Through The Development Of Skills Of Young People

The Gijón SmartKids program is developed by CTIC with the support of the City of Gijón, where teachers and innovative companies collaborate. It consists of a guided creativity aimed at building a smart city, which takes place throughout the school year process.

The aim is that young people identify the problems of the city, devise solutions, and learn how to design business models. To this end, a team develops a series of prototypes with technology solutions that enable them to understand how technology can help them to improve their quality of life. Since 2015, it has welcomed more than 800 young people (from 10 to 18 years old) from 12 schools, with more than 40 teachers involved.

The design of intelligent cities requires students to develop their learning skills, problem solving, and entrepreneurship. It is necessary to cultivate their passion for technology and knowledge from an early age to acquire creative skills, techniques, and technology.

For Lidia Parra Ortiz, project manager at Gijon Smart Kids, and Miguel Angel Acero Alvarez, from the Technological Center of Information and Communication, the current education system is not putting enough emphasis on the need for development of digital skills and creativity that young people need to address social and economic challenges, and that are necessary for the construction of future cities.

The Horizon 2014 Europe Report of the New Media Consortium notes that the level of European children and adolescents in digital skills is still insufficient. This level is critical and it is manifested especially when students have to participate and create their own answers. To meet this need, programs for the development of digital skills and stimulation of creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and participation arise.

José Antonio Marina, educational researcher, indicates that children should acquire skills in four areas of activity: Entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, and executive. These skills allow them to participate in social networks, be active citizens in public and in private environments, generate content, and use learning tools.

You need to bring young people to robotics, technology, and scientific skills (STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The exchange of talent is encouraged, and it is understood as the ability to use what they learned to select objectives, enhance creativity, and use the available tools effectively.

In U.S.A. for example, a model can be seen at the Polytechnic School of New York, which annually holds the Smart Cities program. In it, a group of students learn the technical aspects involved in the development of smart cities, by developing prototypes that solve the problems of the city of New York.

Gijón SmartKids

This project is based on public-private collaboration of the various actors involved in the incorporation of young people in innovation and technologies, such as: Research centers, companies, governments, families, and the educational system. The scientific and technological park of Gijón  (PCTG) facilitates the creation of ecosystems where these agents are involved. It is located in the Mile of knowledge, a geographical space where the co-living of art and culture with technology and science is empowered.

Young people participating in the Gijon SmartKids program have contact with companies and innovative technology that show them the possibilities of technological entrepreneurship. It is based on moving the “learning by doing” experience outside the classroom, in order to learn how technology can improve people’s quality of life. People is taught to create, to solve, and identify alternatives to solve the same problem. The program consists of 3 initiatives:

1.  Open Living Lab. 

This initiative is a program of visits and activities in companies that are in the park, for participation in real work environments. Students between 10-18 years old are participating to create products from different sectors (engineering, geotechnics, environment, energy efficiency, software-dimensional metric simulation, security and emergency services, video games, health biosecurity, digital entertainment, marketing, design, and digital advertising, etc).

The CTIC open research spaces as CTICSmartLAB, where young people can experience and interact with technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing, RFID technology, technology of wearable computing, computer vision, etc. In addition, they have developed teaching materials for the development of complementary activities in the school, with support and guidance to teachers.

2. TecnoEmbrende. 

TecnoEmprende is an introduction to technology-based entrepreneurship, by simulating and methodologies of design thinking and lean startup. It is based on theAction Plan on Entrepreneurship 2020, which recommends to affect on school-age students to transform their skills related to entrepreneurial attitudes.

An entrepreneurial project is designed and launched through ideation methodologies and project management (scrum, Lego® Serious Play etc). Exhibitions alternate technology with teamwork sessions for the development of a prototype for technology products. Active participation, reflection, reasoning, and experimentation of participants is sought.

3. Junior Think Tanks. 

It consist on citizen participation in work sessions such as think tanks to develop the concept of Smart Cities. Young people should identify the problems of the city to generate solutions and proposals for action to improve the city.

A technological and sustainable project is well prepared through processes of “learning by doing”, by different techniques of creativity with Lego pieces that allow to reflect the emotional aspects of participants and with the methodology of theelevator pitch to work synthesis in the presentation of a project.


Youngsters show that technology can play an important role in the development and improvement of cities, identifying needs, and proposing creative and innovative solutions of high value.

Scientific and technical thinking is developed through the process of problem identification and selection of proposals by criteria of relevance, effectiveness, and feasibility.

SmartPark Gijon proposes the development of intelligent street furniture (seats), solar powered, with internet access and touch screens that allow access to useful information about the city. The possibility of incorporating a heating system for low-temperature days is studied.

The Stop-EMTUSA project proposes the development of an app and a sensor system at bus stops in rural areas to detect if there are passengers waiting. More effective management of routes is thus achieved.

Another project involves smart trash containers. A sensor in the mouth of the container, which detects whether the type of waste is suitable for that container is placed. If it is not, it does not open.

Face-simulator, finally, is based on facial recognition to know what happens to a crying baby by an app with which parents can record the child and know what happens to it.


  • When working on problems of modern society, it contributes to the understanding of social reality and boost social commitment of young people.
  • It helps to understand how technology improves cities to identify her problems and offer solutions, thus favoring digital competition and the development of scientific and technical thinking, decision-making, and openness to technological innovation.
  • Individual and team work allows develop empathy, dialogue and negotiation, cooperation, time and task management. It enhances autonomy and entrepreneurship.
  • It helps develop communication through dynamics as the elevator pitch for adequate explanation of the project and its adaptation to the target audience. During the final presentation of each project, students use digital content developed by themselves, such as computer graphics, presentations, videos or pictures, and digital identity is constructed.
  • Scientific and technological practice encourages disclosure: Young people present themselves as creators of technology solutions to improve life.

Smart Talent, The Talent Smart Cities Need

Smart cities need new profiles that maximize resources; there are cities that are being depopulated from talent and others that are operating as a pole of attraction.

Talent means having a vision, making efforts and doing ordinary things to go extremely well. It involves contributing to a city or a working environment to thrive in a world where creativity, innovation, and knowledge are key factors. They raised two fundamental axes:

  1. Establishing a recruitment strategy and attracting top talent.
  2. Thinking about the skills and profiles to incorporate.

The Profile Of The Perfect Inhabitant Of A Smart City

The new inhabitant of a smart city will have a series of knowledge and skills, such as:

1. Data Scientist Or Scientific Data. 

It is a citizen able to manage the information available using apps, social networks, specialized websites, connected objects, etc. It will be able to find information, prioritize it, select it, and decide what to share. The Big Data or Data Mining are technologies that help individuals in their ability to discern.

2. Connected And Collaborating Network. 

An adapted citizen collaborates to bring value to the community network. Mobile devices make it increasingly easier to participate in decisions that affect us as citizens in areas such as mobility or public safety. Collective intelligence available to all will be a feature of the Smart cities.

3. Continuous Learning – Lifelong Learners. 

In a changing environment, where more than half of current jobs will be gone in 10 years, the value offered as professionals will be the willingness to learn and the ability to respond to change. Training does not end at the stage of education and students become active subjects of learning, being those who decide what knowledge and skills they want to acquire. Curiosity, creativity, and an open mind are key, as well as other competitions centered in the digital age.

4. STEM Science – Technology – Engineering – Maths. 

According to Bonnie Marcus in his article Mentors Help Create A Sustainable Pipeline For Women In STEM, women represent half of the labor force in the US and only 26% work in STEM. Smart cities must act on the STEM discipline to enhance learning engineering and science from another point of view and to pay attention to the reasons that drive women away from this environment.

5. Practical Intelligence. 

People who can adapt to situations, look beyond the function they perform, and can live in a constantly changing environment are required. David Autor, a professor atMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), defines it as the ability to respond to unique and unexpected situations of the present moment.

Technically specialized but transversal people is being seek, with specific knowledge and a broader vision to understand the big picture. They are people with social, adventurous and creative attitude, interested in sharing and collaboration, with a great social culture.

Millennials and Centennials are proving that they can change the way they work and the way they are accessing the job market. They advocate the use of wearables and Internet of Everything (IoE), against the Internet of Things (IoT), in a reality where people, processes, data, and things come together.

Smart Campus, An Intelligent Environment For The University Community

The University Campus of Rabanales at the University of Cordoba, is a college space with a workforce of 9000 users working in buildings of teaching, administrative, research, residential and commercial use, and with agricultural environments and livestock buildings intended for investigation.

Supervision of the main supplies of campus, together with individual systems for technical management of each building, constitute an integrated monitoring system, with an open standards-based flexible structure, which allows efficient management of infrastructures with the support of the entire university community.

The global building automation systems allow to obtain constant feedback of information to analyze the energy and operational performance of buildings and public facilities in single administration environments.

At the University of Cordoba, the Technical Unit is responsible for running the university policy regarding facilities, works, and communications, as well as the technical maintenance management. Therefore, it is responsible for understanding how new technologies have the solution to the problems of technical infrastructure management in its three campuses.

The university pursues an economic saving management and increased satisfaction of members of the university community (teaching and research staff, administrative and service staff, students, and common external staff) and productivity of the facilities.

Solution Description And Methodology

The proposed system is to use the local intranet that connects all buildings and fiber optic services, managed by its information service, as a backbone that connects the various building automation systems. The basic premise is to facilitate the integration of multiple components of the system with a common architecture and infrastructure systems. Data can travel from any point on the network to any other point without fail, incorporating a high level of security.

Among controlled installations, it includes lighting common areas (on and off, scheduling, etc.), energy management (display and recording of electrical parameters), pumping station of drinking water (pump status, levels and constant pressure) and the overall distribution network (pressure and flow), air conditioning and heating (on and off, temperature recording by zones), compressed air station laboratory (state of the compressors, room ventilation, pressure and flow supplied) and administrative management (incidents, warnings reviews, etc). Monitoring cold storage stands by its number and level of security (to host experimental activities).

Recorded data can be provided in CSV files to be viewed and treated from external systems. It provides the hardware maintenance maximum security, with copies of cyclic security, control of humidity and temperature of the room, control access, and 24 hours surveillance. From this software, networks of different buildings are managed and all buildings and services are monitored by general alarms, variables of interest for the reporting of building performance, graphical displays, user management, etc.

Results And Discussion

An improvement is obtained in the technical administration and infrastructure management in the following fields:

1. Architectural. 

A system with a flexible structure that enhances the functionality of the campus is presented. The notice and planning of maintenance offers not to interrupt the work of third parties on changes and modifications.

2. Technology. 

Open systems are proposed to raise the present or future installation with different product manufacturers. Normal operation of facilities is automated, avoiding the human factor in routine tasks (daily switching on and off, programming on holidays, exception monitoring, etc). Common facilities of buildings under one platform for the exchange of information are integrated. Open Data architecture is used to provide data to third parties.

3. Environmental. 

Energy saving is favored by analyzing the electrical parameters and performance of facilities. CO2 emissions are reduced by reducing operating times of equipment and facilities and by detecting abnormal behavior involving inadequate intake.

4. Economic / Social. 

Maintenance costs are reduced automatically when posting hours of operation of equipment and through notices of abnormal operating conditions, so that the life of services is increased. Public administration also has an awareness tool to sensitize members of the university community in sustainability, by having open internet access to energy and data consumption. The corporate image of the University is further reinforced as a public entity.


The project allows to propose possible future actions:

  • Obtaining models for buildings through registration of technical parameters such as consumption, temperature, etc., at different times of use (class periods, assessments, holidays, events, etc).
  • Public app for members of the university community with parameters of interest.
  • Data analysis for the development of networks of heat and cold.
  • Diffusion of the model in the subjects of university courses related to smart cities, building control, automation, energy efficiency and sustainability.
  • Supporting research groups at the University related to the subject.

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