How Barcelona brought the internet of things to life

Cities around the world are beginning to understand the huge potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). In Barcelona, those possibilities have started to become the reality. Starting in 2012, the city deployed responsive technologies across urban systems including public transit, parking, street lighting, and waste management. These innovations yielded significant cost savings, improved the quality of life for residents, and made the city a center for the young IoT industry.

Spain was among the countries hardest hit by the 2008 recession, and recovery throughout Europe has been slow. In the face of these economic challenges, Barcelona harnessed technology to transform itself into a model of data-driven, sensing, smart urban systems.  Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona from 2011 to 2015, ran on a platform of technological innovation in city services. Upon taking office, he formed a new team, Smart City Barcelona, tasked with integrating existing projects and identifying new opportunities to enhance services for all of the city’s people and businesses. Smart City Barcelona identified 12 areas for intervention, including transportation, water, energy, waste, and open government, and initiated 22 programs, encompassing 83 distinct projects across urban systems.


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