A smart city is a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business. Insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used to improve the operations across the city.

It means smarter urban transport networks, upgraded water supply and waste disposal facilities and more efficient ways to light and heat buildings. It also means a more interactive and responsive city administration and safer public spaces. Smart cities are a “system of systems.” These can include smart lighting systems, building automation systems, emergency management systems, security and access control systems, intelligent grids, renewable power, water treatment and supply, transportation, and more.

As heating and cooling accounts for almost 50% of total final energy demand in Europe, heat pumps are a technology with significant potential to contribute to Europe’s renewable energy and climate targets. Synergies between heat pump technology on the demand side and decarbonisation on the supply side can be exploited to make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.

A versatile technology, heat pumps can be used to provide space heating and cooling and warm water, all from one integrated unit. Furthermore, heat pumps can be used in hybrid renewable / conventional systems, can store surplus electricity with active thermal mass elements and can integrate and optimize the performance of different energy resources in the electricity grid. All of which means they are integral to the Smart City.

Data & Digital

Cities are getting smarter, the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) has brought with it an increasingly broad range of sensors and IoT platforms. Many of these have made their way into the smart cities sector, heat pumps are increasingly connected as are heating and cooling systems and so the data they produce can be used for multiple purposes;

  • Optimising design of plant and systems
  • Optimising building performance
  • Power grid efficiency
  • Energy storage optimisation

Smart city integrated platforms may be deployed in a private, public, or hybrid cloud, via remote server, or on- premise. Private clouds are maintained by the platform provider. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is rapidly emerging as the most popular public cloud in this space. Hybrid public/private clouds are also a popular option, with the public cloud in place to serve peaks in data demand.

Cities can’t be “smart” unless the right people are empowered to make good decisions. Large networks of legacy systems, combined with new IoT-based sensors and systems, can make it challenging for smart cities to manage all these different data sources and turn the data into useful, actionable information. This requires shareable data, perhaps freely or for a price or some model in between. It needs multiple parties to provide and use the data, in short it needs a platform.

A data platform is an integrated technology solution that allows data located in database(s) to be governed, accessed, analysed and delivered to users, data applications, or other technologies for strategic purposes. Building the platform in the cloud will enable Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to be leveraged.

The city data platform underpins the Smart City providing shared data insights and linking systems together. It is unlikely to be one platform, rather an eco-system of platforms that work together. Achieving consensus about a data structure or dictionary in any sector is nearly impossible because of all the competing ideas and technologies. Enabling one to emerge through evolution and to continue to evolve is clearly a better way.

At Clade we are working to build a data architecture that will aggregate heat pump and cooling data and leverage AI to provide insights. These insights will be used to drive improvements for our customers and potentially to a wider city scale.