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An intelligent and connected public space collects data in public areas and displays or reacts on the data. The data can be securely transferred via Wi-Fi or other similar technologies to be, i.e. combined with a central system. The data that is collected with sensors can be data on the air quality, the movements and people in the public space or safety relevant information. With this, particular importance should be paid to privacy rights, i.e. by using non-intrusive sensors.  Often implemented sub-services are Wi-Fi-hotspots or guidance beacons for blind navigation. Public displays can i.e. provide access to local maps, a store and service registry or multimodal route-planning. These mandatory and additional functions of the intelligent and connected public space are shown below. The sensors and technologies used to realise the different functionalities can be attached to, i.e. Smart Lighting poles and make use of the underlying backbone infrastructure.

Main Benefits

  • Enhanced data collection

  • Encouraging digital entrepreneurship

Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.

Mandatory Functions

Potential Functions

Business Model

Market Overview

Intelligent and connected public spaces can have different goals, offer different services, use different system architectures, and have developed different organisational forms and business models. This variety is related to the various social contexts in which digital cities have developed. The solution is, for example, able to increase security, save money or generate valuable data. Since the end of the 1990s, an increasing number of cities implement intelligent and connected public spaces. As the advantage of such solutions increases with the implemented and interconnected number of solutions, exponential growth is expected.

(Gregory S. Yovanof and George N. Hazapis, 2009)

Marketable Outcomes

Intelligent and Connected public space can include various applications as an omnipresent emergency detector or smart streetlights – each with its business model. But the workflow of each system is similar.

  1. Low-energy surveillance mode: the environment is scanned by low energy and low data sensors to identify relevant events
  2. Reasoning mode: The generated data is analysed and a decision about a reaction is made
  3. High information surveillance mode: if no doubtless decision can be made further information has to be collected


Possible marketable outcomes of an intelligent and connected public space are:


  • Enhanced the experience in public space
  • Advertising
  • Collecting data
  • Increased security
  • Measuring environment
  • Providing information to citizens
  • Improvement of public services as waste collection
  • Increased personal efficiency

Driving Factors

Supporting Infrastructure

As intelligent and connected public space is mostly about (almost) real-time reaction on data a good data backbone, in the best case a fibre backbone, is required.

Government Initiatives

Intelligent and connected public space applications often are implemented by municipalities or in cooperation with such as one requirement is the availability of public space. Decisive for such applications are often problems that have to be solved, as a limited budget or the lack of security. Besides the municipality, the inhabitants have to accept the solution. Therefore, open-minded people and a sufficient data security are needed. This can be achieved by using privacy by design. Thereby only, the relevant parts or conclusions of the data are saved or sent.

(Shane Mitchell, Nicola Villa, Martin Stewart-Weeks and Anne Lange, 2017)

Use Cases

Public Sound Sensor Safety Project
The Public Sound Sensor Safety Project consists of sound sensors in the public space that are attached to the smart light poles in the area. This enables to detect specific sounds such as fighting and sound levels in bars or cafes in the main bar street in Eindhoven.
Location-based marketing as part of the Smart City App Reutlingen
The smartphone applications provides local businesses and restaurants with the opportunity to market offers towards visitors and inhabitants based on geo-localisation technology. The scheme was rolled out within the historic city center of Reutlingen.
Digital Communication System in Wuppertal
The city of Wuppertal aimed to create a digital infrastructure as a communication medium between city and citizens in public space. To support the municipality, Stroeer Media provided the city with the necessary digital infrastructure to setup digital city communication system.
Live laB TOOLKIT FOR Participatory design in Public Space
The Strijp-S district in Eindhoven was used as a testing ground for a 2 week process to organise public consultation using integration of multiple information technologies. The Live Lab, a virtual and physical platform for sharing knowledge and ideas was used to co-create a green square in Strijp.
Smart and Intelligent Street Kiosk
By placing high-tech city beacons, Eindhoven presents revolutionary, multifunctional and interactive information system. The city beacons replace the old (advertising) information displays giving residents, visitors and entrepreneurs access to number of digital and interactive, basic functionalities
Public Wi-Fi
The goal of the use case is to provide open free Wi-Fi to inhabitants and visitors of Strijp-S.

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