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Park-cleaning robot wins TM Forum Hackathon

Smart city initiatives focus at annual software showcase

NICE, France – As the “Internet of Things” revolution picks up and previously static objects are given intelligence, smart cities appear poised to push broad quality-of-life improvements in connected urban areas.

This trend was reinforced at TM Forum Live this week as a company called Internet of Parks, which uses IoT applications to service parks and municipal green spaces, won the event-specific Hackathon.

Internet of Parks built an automated robot that cleans parks in Nice,the fourth-smartest city in the world according to Juniper Research, which ranked the top five global smart cities in February.

The robots can pick up trash from trash cans, automatically order new trash bags and send an alert to operators if the device is experiencing a problem.

The theme of the 2015 TM Forum Hackathon was “smart citizens in a smart city.” The Internet of Parks research and development team used TM Forum APIs, as well as Ericsson’s Connected Car API and IBM Bluemix.

Still in early stages, the Internet of Parks team plans to ultimately tie the robots to a mobile app “so the automatized vehicles can become truly steered by the crowd,” according to the company’s website.

“The Internet of Parks project offers Nice an integrated automatized cleaning solution of the city’s public spaces, including green areas, relying on automatic cleaning vehicles, running both automatically and interactively with the crowd of the city.”

Juniper Research based its appraisal of Nice on smart grid, road traffic, street lighting management, technological expertise and more. The other top five smart cities were Barcelona, Spain; New York; Singapore; and London.

Nice’s achievement is part of a push led by Mayor Christian Estrosi, who began fostering diverse economic development in 2008.

“I wanted Nice to be a pioneering city … I began the economic diversification of the region based on innovation and new information technologies. We are working to make Nice an interconnected and sustainable metropolis that will allow us to make savings in terms of managing the city, but also to create new services to facilitate the lives of its inhabitants.”

Other smart city projects in Nice include a connected boulevard, widespread deployment of near-field communication-enabled devices, environmental monitoring and a smart grid.

“This is the very first Hackathon presenting an integrated ecosystem-to-ecosystem platform for rapid development of smart city solutions,” Joann O’Brien, VP of agile collaboration at TM Forum, said.

“Our sponsors and partners – Orange, IBM, Ericsson, FIWARE and Team Côte d’Azur – worked collaboratively to generate novel ideas that solve some of the biggest challenges for enabling smart cities, and we’re proud to see that the outcomes have the potential to promote cleaner, healthier cities the world over.”

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