Today i was at the kick off meeting for an interesting EU funded project called SmartSantander. It builds on the work of a couple of previous European projects in the “future internet” domain including Sensei which completes at the end of this year. The project overview is:

“SmartSantander proposes a unique city-scale experimental research facility in support of typical applications and services for a smart city. Tangible results are expected to greatly influence definition and specification of Future Internet architecture design from viewpoints of Internet of Things and Internet of Services. This unique experimental facility will be sufficiently large, open and flexible to enable horizontal and vertical federation with other experimental facilities and stimulates development of new applications by users of various types including experimental advanced research on IoT technologies and realistic assessment of users’ acceptability tests.”

I am on the advisory group so not directly involved in the project however it was refreshing to here that as part of the testing of the “platform” they are going to run two open calls for applications to be built in Santander using their kit – watch this space, or if you have ideas you would like to test on a live platform get in touch.

The project team is quite heavy on technical skills, which is probably not surprising nor a bad thing given the technical challenges ahead, but they have a narrow window at the start to define some really compelling use cases situated in the context that is Santander. The risk is they will have the tech platform but no app (lots of balls but no one to play with). They do have designers and anthropologists on the team and the local council / mayor and regional development agency are involved, so chance of success is probably higher than usual.

The facility will comprise of more than 20,000 sensors and there is talk of a 61km backbone network being built along the roads of the city. The city of Santander has full support from the regional Government of Cantabria with real cash contribution of 500,000 €. Also of note is Santander is bidding to be the 2016 Cultural Capital of Europe.

More information is on the project website, facebook and twitter.