Smart CityBeacons are coming to a city centre near you

Intel, Ruckus/Brocade and Eurofiber are among the partners that have brought the IoT solution to life

One of the most fascinating IoT projects underway in Europe is taking place in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, the fifth largest city in The Netherlands. Home to over 200,000 citizens, the municipality is currently in the midst of rolling out intelligent and connected CityBeacon* kiosks.

Launched in October 2016, the project was the culmination of a three year collaboration between multiple partners including CityBeacon*, Eurofiber*, Intel, Brocade/Ruckus* and the city.

Running the Windows 10 IoT operating system, CityBeacons are powered by the latest 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processors and Intel SSDs. These 21st Century kiosks crunch data for analytics purposes through the Microsoft* Azure cloud platform and provide a valuable demonstration of how connected technology can help make cities easier to navigate and connect for locals and tourists alike. 

There are four specific functions CityBeacons look to fulfil:

Information repository

CityBeacons will be an information repository for both tourists and citizens. Situated around Eindhoven, the digital kiosks feature two 55-inch HD displays as well as a 32-inch touchscreen which contains all the details about nearby points of interest and entertainment.

Users can also view city maps, real-time transport schedules, weather reports as well as local news, events, housing and even job listings.

Free high-speed connectivity

CityBeacons will include free to use Gigabit+ WiFi. This is particularly useful for tourists as they can connect to the internet in a secured manner and make use of the integrated camera and microphones to make VoIP calls without incurring costly roaming charges.

Other wireless technology integrated into CityBeacons includes 4G, NFC and RFID, which can be used to pay for local services such as parking, events or e-commerce linked to local businesses.

“The next step is to think about scaling and have CityBeacons fitted on street corners around the world"

Increase public safety

Another critical feature of CityBeacons is the ability to help authorities maintain public safety. Integrated cameras can monitor the environment and microphones allow the public to communicate with emergency services. The 55-inch display combined with the CityAura™ smart toplight and sensors can be used to broadcast public service announcements either to individual beacons or city-wide, depending on the situation.

Additionally, air quality, UV-level and audience analytics sensors can collect the data local authorities need to make smarter decisions.

Revenue generation opportunities

There are multiple revenue generation opportunities associated with the CityBeacon, explained Dion Ubert, Strategic Business Development Manager for Intel: "Initially, the kiosks are leased to the Eindhoven government for a period of 10 years. Network operators can also have their small cells integrated into the kiosks benefitting footprint, co-location space and offloading onto fiber. Finally, there is the ability to use the digital screens for advertising and information purposes like city marketing."

A local cinema, for example, would be able to display a trailer for the latest blockbuster release on the 55-inch screen and offer buy-one-get-one-free ticket promotions to attract customers; tickets could then be purchased directly at the kiosks using NFC and pushed to mobile devices. The customer can then use their mobile device to navigate to the venue.

The CityBeacon is expected to make a splash when kiosks are deployed: "Working on CityBeacon deployment has been an amazing project. The 4 metre high kiosks are a sight to behold and really grab the public’s attention when they are walking down the street. People naturally gravitate towards the kiosks and are pleasantly surprised when they are able to access valuable public services," continued Ubert.

"Many cities around the world want to make the transition into a smart city. They want to offer citizens easy-to-use solutions that can be managed via one platform and this is where CityBeacon excels. The next step is to scale so that the platform is deployed around the world. We are in discussions with major cities in Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, UK, Nordics and even outside Europe," he added.

*Trademarks are the property of their owners

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