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Building Smart Cities With a Sensor and Actuator IoT Platform

The power of centralized data to build a Smart City

Data and analysis are the keys to managing a city in the 21st century. Governments use this information to make energy, traffic, safety, transportation, public resource, and infrastructure decisions that impact their citizens. 

The problem is the data, analysis, and platforms behind this information are usually contained within specific agencies, all using their own platforms, that do not communicate with each other. Not sharing data creates expense, inefficiencies and limits the power of the information. It also makes cities too dependent on specific technologies, products, or providers.

A true “Smart City” requires the abolishment of organizational silos, allowing the data to be utilized across city functions. This creates opportunities for collaboration, creative solutions, and more informed decisions.

Achieving realistic Smart City goals

Opentrends developed Sentilo©, the IoT platform that centralizes large quantities of data from diverse sensors and inputs. The platform then distributes the information in apps and visualizers that are completely customizable to each agency, organization, or department. The powerful solution creates both streamlined and limitless data access and applications for Smart Cities and other use cases.

Sentilo© platform was first conceived and developed by Opentrends for the City of Barcelona, meeting the following goals:

  • Prevent data isolation and make it easier to share information
  • Reduce dependency on specific technology, products and suppliers
  • Decrease the expense of digital infrastructure maintenance and ownership
  • Address Smart City challenges with easy, centralized, and customizable information, analysis, and controls
Sentilo platform visualization mockup by Opentrends

Sentilo was designed to fit in any Smart City’s digital architecture

Sentilo© captures and stores raw data, then transforms it into intuitive and useful data visualization. It is an open-source and easily interoperable platform that centralizes, stores, catalogs, and monitors the information “generated by the city” via sensors and actuators. All this big data is governed by the same business logic, security, and process.

The platform then provides the architecture to create custom apps, control centers, and dashboards that fit each individual agency’s needs. By integrating the data into one versatile platform, the data points can speak to each other through a publish-subscribe method, multiplying the available insights. Sentilo’s visualization highlights and predicts patterns that inform cities’ decisions.


Barcelona skyline smart city concept

Sentilo out-of-the-box features include:

  • Centralized catalog of all city sensors based on a non-SQL database
  • Customizable universal visualizer
  • Messaging front end based on HTTP API rest
  • Stats module
  • Admin console
  • Extensible component architecture, allowing horizontal scalability

Sentilo Transforms Barcelona & Beyond

The City of Barcelona implemented the Sentilo© platform to successfully break down its verticals.

Sentilo© achieves results for versatile “multi-tenant” agencies:

  • The platform is a single instance for all “tenants” (cities) that deploys the same version for all entities, with common data repositories
  • Personalized access control for each entity through the admin console allows them to administer their own data, devices, and users 
  • Custom visualizer, dashboard, and app look & feel for each “tenant” agency
  • An open-source solution that can be installed locally or used as a SaaS without any licensing cost
  • A multi-platform adaptation to the existing infrastructure

With Sentilo©, the City of Barcelona was able to:

  • Completely own their data
  • Avoid vendor or technology dependency
  • Centralize the data traffic without centering any specific agency
  • Integrate with legacy systems
  • Allow each agency entity to manage its own vendors and applications autonomously 
  • Data sharing, providing synergies between different agencies like metro, traffic, and pollution
  • At will data sharing with other municipalities
  • Customize the look and feel of user and public information access by agency
  • Accelerate sensor integration using the “Sentilo Compliant” ecosystem
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Sentilo© won the 2016 Open Awards as the most innovative open-source software platform and was mentioned in Financial Times and Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. 

Sentilo© platform was presented in 2020 at the Japan-Barcelona Smart City Forum in Tokyo as a leading platform for Smart City strategies.

Continue reading to learn about Sentilo© in the cloud —  Thingtia