Alba Iulia has recently put itself on the map, it has undergone a big transformation over the past few years and is now one of the most visited places in Romania – alongside this it is probably the smartest city in the country.
They have been working with a number of different providers, such as Siemens, Orange, FlashNet and Noniz, in order to deliver smart city solutions to their citizens, but they have also put a large focus on making sure that the developments create a positive experience for tourists. This approach makes a lot of sense as it means that they will be delivering on a daily basis for citizens, but at the same time stimulating the local economy.
In order to increase engagement with tourists they have installed 250 beacons in popular areas across the city, these beacons are easy to interact with via the e-alba iulia application. This initiative gives tourists lots of information about different attractions that they can visit in the city and surrounding areas. It is also good for the local economy as it can be used as a marketing tool to offer promotions and discounts to those that use the application.
This application is not only aimed at tourists, but the local residents too. There is an e-democracy function to the application so citizens are able to interact with city hall and get involved in the future development of the city. They are also able to report problems that they see around the city, the administration can make sure that they are resolved. Alongside this they are providing a number of WiFi hotspots in key areas around the city, so that it is easy for everyone to get online.
From a sustainability perspective the city has taken a number of steps to decrease their carbon footprint, whilst also improving the service that is delivered to citizens. The transport system has been divided into 15 lines that are managed with an intelligent transportation solution. The city administration has access to real time data on location, direction and the speed, in the short term this allows them to react to scenarios and re-route the traffic if there has been an incident on the roads, in the long term they will be able to use all of this data to be able to create a system that works more efficiently and decreases emissions.
They have also fitted sensors and controls to the street lights so that can be managed from a central location, this allows them to have greater control over the intensity of the light coming from the lamp and when they are turned on. This is the first step when it comes to lighting, the next step would be to look at attaching other sensors to the street lights that can help with preventative policing and air quality management.
Last, but definitely not least they have fitted a number of sensors and devices to their water management system. This provides them with a lot of data about consumption that can be used in education/marketing campaigns aimed at decreasing the pressure on the water system. It will also allow the city to plan ahead for the future and know when the highest demand is placed on the water system.
All in all Alba Iulia are leading the way in Romania when it comes to smart city development and a lot of other cities across the country could learn a lot from what they are doing. How they are really trying to improve the quality of life for citizens and to create a better experience for tourists should definitely be applauded. I will be keeping an eye on Alba Iulia for the next steps in their smart city development.