A new generation of smart city apps is beginning to emerge based on the European-initiated FIWARE open API Platform. The platform provides an open source toolkit of APIs and backend infrastructure components to enable app developers to create new city solutions.
The launch of the apps comes after a series of new partnerships with cities, open data portals and US Government programs, and is expected to be the first of an increasing number of production-ready civic tech solutions built using FIWARE’s APIs and “generic enablers”.
FIWARE’s Generic Enablers are a catalog of open source tools and APIs that allow providers to create new workflows that draw on realtime sensor data, smart city infrastructure, Big Data, citizen engagement tools, and city authority assets to create and implement civic tech products that, even a few years ago, were not possible.
Some of the new smart city apps being created using FIWARE were recently showcased at the Smart City Expo and World Congress in Barcelona last month. They include:
- What it is: Hostabee is a smart device that allows remote management over the lifecycle of all types of urban beehives.
- Why it is needed: Initial anecdotal evidence suggests that bees raised in cities seem to be healthier and more productive. Hostabee aims to foster the development of urban beekeeping by helping companies and individuals to host beehives on their roofs or in their gardens, which are managed by professional beekeepers using Hostabee to remotely control the status of the beehives and organize their logistics.
- How the project uses FIWARE: The backend IT infrastructure for Hostabee is based on FIWARE IoT. Beehives are defined as "connected objects" interacting with their environment and are part of an IoT layer within FIWARE. In addition, Hostabee delivers a set of cloud based services to manage a matchmaking platform, the logistics organization and the community of users. Hostabee also implements the CKAN Open Data platform (a FIWARE partner) to publish a part of the collected datasets so that they can be used for scientific purposes.
- What it is: BatSharing is ride sharing aggregator that enables people to find the best car sharing solution to reach a destination in realtime, comparing all the available options in the one app/interface.
- Why it is needed: BatSharing collects all car sharing services in one app, which has never been provided before in the one app.
- How the project uses FIWARE: BatSharing uses a FIWARE Community Cloud instance to Fetch all the Car-Scooter Sharing data. Geodata information is added through the FIWARE Context Broker, which is connected through Cygnus to the CKAN Portal and to Cosmos Instance to store historical data. The BatSharing mobile app and Web app are both connected with Orion Context Broker to fetch the data and subscribed to real time changes. Object Storage is used to store data that doesn't change often, and they plan to use Spago Bi to analyze the historical data from Cosmos. BatSharing connects the FIWARE partner CKAN to their Orion instance to publish all vehicle data in real time on the Open Data Portal, so that other users are able to consume the data for their city.
- What it is: TalkyCar connects a vehicle with a smartphone app, helping the driver be safer and more efficient. Like Mojio, TalkyCar uses a small plug and play gadget that is installed in the diagnostic port, compatible with most vehicles.
- Why it is needed: TalkyCar tracks all car trips, measures fuel consumption and routes, scores driving style by fuel efficiency, and provides advice for improving fuel consumption. TalkyCar can also manage fleets of vehicles by allowing a global view of usage, and can suggest improved route navigation. TalkyCar also has the ability to detect crashes, advise medical services and inform relatives of the vehicle’s accident location.
- How the project uses FIWARE: TalkyCar chose FIWARE to ensure compatibility with Smart City environmental and contextual data that is directly installable from a city’s data backend and used to augment vehicle and travel information from within TalkyCar. TalkyCar’s API connects the Web page and mobile apps to the FIWARE platform, and a Wirecloud Interface has been developed for FIWARE users so that TalkyCar data can be used in some widgets that enable visualization of the data.
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