A holistic and unique approach to the city

The Smart City has set tongues wagging everywhere. While for some, it is a dream come true, for others, it evokes ideas of a “Big Brother” society. The concept may refer to a city, a region, a canton or even a district. The Smart City is about placing people at the heart of the system: it improves the well-being of citizens and the governance of the city.

“There are as many smart cities as there are territories”

Smart City strategies must take on board the particular expectations of citizens and the needs of local communities and businesses. They must also be tailored to their environment such as geographical typology, e.g., sea, mountain, rural, urban, agricultural, tourist, border, etc.

Breaking down barriers and improving cooperation to optimise city management

The Smart City also examines the city’s various services with a view to improving the way we respond to, coordinate and manage crises, making sure that the right people have access to the right information at the right time. Easier said than done. Public entities are generally organised into departments and teams and it is not immediately “obvious” how to develop a cross-disciplinary approach, both from the point of view of human resources and information systems.

Devising Smart City and Smart Governance strategies

In this capacity, we support two cities, one located in France and the other in Switzerland.

  • The municipality of Gland in the Canton of Vaud (Switzerland)
  • The municipality of Chatou in the Paris region

After examining needs and available systems, our Group works with the municipalities to devise their Smart City strategy and offers specific and customised responses adapted to each of their territories.

Smart Environment

By way of example, the BG Group has teamed up with the City of Geneva to implement a simple and scalable smart lighting solution at Gare des Eaux-Vives (CEVA) in Geneva. The management system was developed at Y-Parc in Yverdon. This system not only provides a response to a specific need of the city, but adds a “Smart” dimension to standard lighting. The considered solution actually integrates an IoT layer so that smart sensors can subsequently be installed to measure air quality, presence, display, detection of spaces, etc.

Smart Mobility

The BG Group contributes to the Lausanne-Morges Agglomeration Project (PALM), which sets out the principles of multimodal accessibility in the conurbation. A traffic management unit will eventually coordinate traffic across the conurbation both temporally and geographically between local communities and mobility service providers (public transport and car park operators). It will monitor traffic situations, keep users informed and help to operate road networks, thereby optimising their use for all the individual or public road users.

Data

Data can be used to exploit strengths, learn from weaknesses and attempt to improve current systems with a view to creating a win-win situation for operators and users alike. Nowadays, existing data can be merged with other forms of open data or the data of other connected sensors. By processing data with analytical tools or AI algorithms, new value-added information can be produced in order to anticipate, act in the right place and at the right time, and react quickly and effectively to events.

Information systems

The infrastructure of local communities frequently comprises ponderous systems that are difficult to modify and complicated to upgrade given that their operations cannot always be shut down or can only be done so in a very limited way. The corporate ethos of our Group is enriched by its expertise and its profiles. Our expertise not only covers field operations in respect of equipment, automatic systems and sensors, but also networks and integration of industrial information systems implemented by technologies from different eras. We apply these skills to several sectors such as mobility, energy, building and water. Our engineers set up new systems from heterogeneous systems and securely manage transition and adaptation phases.

Indicators

We have teamed up with EPFL to define a standard system of indicators based on the social and environmental analysis of Smart City projects in urban settings. Our analysis therefore considers the three cornerstones of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental). These indicators should be construed as a (quantitative) measurement or (qualitative) assessment of the impact of an overall Smart City project or a particular use.

Working together

As a champion of the smart territories of today and tomorrow, the BG Group makes sure that human needs are placed at the heart of the project in order to facilitate the transition to a long-lasting, sustainable and peaceful Smart City. The problem we face today bears no relation to technological feasibility, which continues to evolve and improve. It concerns the proposal of secure solutions that meet concrete and actual needs on the basis of a cross-functional and responsible approach, which is able to adapt flexibly to ever-changing needs.

Nous avons créé le Pôle Smart City & Smart Building pour répondre aux enjeux des collectivités. Il s’agit d’une organisation transversale qui développe une stratégie de territoires intelligents. Le savoir-faire qui y est cultivé est mis à la disposition des communes, mais aussi des régions, des départements, des cantons et des exploitants industriels dans le but de répondre aux besoins de la population et aux enjeux de durabilité. Concrètement, nous les accompagnons à devenir des Smart Cities. Nous les aidons notamment à identifier les besoins spécifiques des différents acteurs et à prioriser les actions à mettre en œuvre avec les solutions adéquates en mettant le citoyen au centre de la démarche et en utilisant la technologie. L’objectif est double : augmenter la qualité de vie de la population et renforcer la gouvernance de la ville.

Anne-Laure Morardco-responsable du Pôle Smart City & Smart Building, Cheffe de projet - BG Ingénieurs Conseils

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