Barcelona - Urban Platform


Current “Smart City” systems are based on ICT vertical solutions that utilize sensors to collect data. These systems are organized, however, in silo fashion, lacking the interconnectivity needed to apply solutions flexibly and across all domains. The urban platform project provides a transversal platform that makes it possible to achieve an exportable, modular (uncoupled), standard and open model that connects, standardizes, and automates processes across domains.


Barcelona developed the urban platform in 2013 as a new ICT architecture that provides a single, transversal platform that interconnects the entire city. The project was proposed to create a sustainable city model that can manage different resources in an efficient way, including water, public services, temperature regulation, CO2 emissions, civil works, humidity and energy efficiency.

The platform has three components; Sentilo (raw source data), City OS (intelligence component) and Applications (City Council and third parties as output information providers). Thanks to the use of an intelligent process engine that connects different events in real time, emergency situations can be anticipated and responses from different services coordinated in a more efficient and expedited way.

The program is also geared towards citizen engagement and features a web platform called “GO” (Open Government), which publishes all data publicly. GO promotes the creation of services based on public information. Thanks to free publication of data captured, there has been a 15 percent rise in stored data, 50 percent infrastructure savings, and 20 percent in financing from private companies. Sentilo is also constructed according to a crowd sourcing approach, in which the city uploaded the project to the net, allowing third parties to continuously improve the project, adding new functionalities and thus benefiting the entire community.

Projected Outcomes

Barcelona seeks to become a self-sufficient, hyper-connected, zero emissions city. ICT is key to reaching this goal as it enables the city to manage resources efficiently and reduce the impact of urban infrastructure on the environment. With the urban platform, the city can also capture information in real time, allowing for quicker decision making and response times. The result is a more sustainable, resilient city.

The city has set out the following goals to be achieved by 2020:

  • 20 percent reduction of total energy consumption from municipal services
  • 20 percent water consumption reduction
  • 15,000 additional sensors installed in the city
  • 30,000 consumption energy measures installed in 100 municipal buildings
  • 1,000 measures to remotely control irrigation in municipal parks
  • 1,000 environmental measures in civil works
  • 5,000 parking spaces monitored.

The urban platform installation will help the city save energy and reduce pollution thanks to sensors monitoring water levels for irrigation, garbage containers, parking, people flow, energy efficiency in city buildings, civil works, etc. Moreover, the intelligence processes engine will make it possible to provide contingency plans for situations such as heavy snow or urban flooding.

Cost reduction will also be achieved by the deployment and maintenance of sensors and processes that deliver information using a unified catalog, thereby minimizing duplicity of data and infrastructure.