At CNR in PISA the Smart Area is a reality

The smart area of the CNR was born in Pisa, baptized with an event held at the Auditorium of the National Research Council on Nov. 30, 2015, in which ICT applications were presented that make smart the CNR area in Pisa, being this the largest area in the overall panorama of the CNR research centers in Italy. In its 130 thousand s/m, 13 CNR institutes operate, and other research centers are housed, such as the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, the Ericsson, the Enea and and the G. Monasterio Foundation. Every day, the CNR Pisa is attended by more than 5 thousand people. For the Smart Area, innovative solutions were developed for car parks, smart shared mobility, monitoring and automatic optimization of energy consumption, presence recording via smartphones, and (internal and external) area navigation. For supporting these applications, the whole CNR area in Pisa has been covered by a wireless infrastructure. All the developed applications merge their data into a cloud of area, where data can be crossed to add new features to already developed applications and to create new ones.

The Smart Parking application was developed in collaboration between the Institute of Information Science and Technology (CNR-ISTI) and the Institute of Informatics and Telematics (CNR-IIT). By using two different technologies, the smart cameras and the embedded cameras -developed in the SILAB and NEMIS laboratories of CNR-ISTI, respectively, the status of occupation of the stalls in the parking area of the rear zone of the CNR area is monitored. In fact, each technology monitors a large number of stalls and transmits the "semantics" of the scene observed, the parts of which indicate the status of occupation of a particular stall. The first technology, the smart cameras, use Raspberry computers equipped with a video camera, on which an appropriate software for the recognition of empty/full stalls has been developed. The other technology, the embedded cameras, is constituted of low cost and low power hardware components entirely developed by the Silab laboratory. To these two technologies, in 5 stalls ground sensors (commonly used in parking lots) were also installed (covering the a small area also covered by the cameras), as a comparison review of a state of the stalls. The data collected by the cameras and by the ground sensors are processed by the Smart Parking application, developed by CNR-IIT, and transmitted to the display at the entrance of the area.

The Smart Navigation application, developed by CNR-IIT, allows staff and visitors to consult from the personal computer or smartphone the complete map of the area and to navigate in it. Smart Navigation helps the search for classrooms or offices and gives graphic to drive to the final destination. Thanks to an experimental system of indoor localization, developed by CNR-ISTI, the map can be used to display the indoor real-time position within the area. At the current time, the application maps the entire outside area and only some inland areas of CNR-IIT and CNR-ISTI Institutes.

The Smart Building application, based on a network of sensors developed by the CNR-ISTI, allows monitoring the energy consumption of the offices where the sensors are installed; it uses remote control techniques of the entire sensor network, it implements energy saving policies, and it helps to optimize the maintenance operations and it recognises f the presence of people within the settings monitored; in this latter case, the network of sensors installed is a useful tool in the case of emergencies. This application is reserved to the CNR staff that can access it with different access privileges. As an example of the potential of the application, they are being monitored 11 offices of two different institutions of the area. On request, any office can be monitored.

The Smart Badge application was developed by the Institute of Clinical Physiology (CNR-IFC) and combines multiple technologies, as Qrcode, Otp and Saml. Once the smart badge app has been downloaded on the smartphone, after the phase of recognition and initialization, the screen will display a QRcode that is recognized by a small camera at the entrance of the area. The smart badge is easy to use, inexpensive, effective and allows viewing and consulting the "historic" of the entrances/exits of the interested person. This application is restricted to personnel CNR only and can also be used to register their presence in the work place outside the official venue.

The Smart Shared Mobility application allows visitors and employees of the CNR to share a trip to or from the area of research based on particular interests and habits. The application is provided in both web and mobile versions (GoTogether is the name of the mobile application available, at the current time, for Android devices only); it allows the staff or the visitors of the Area to share urban and extra-urban travels according to the Car Pooling paradigm. To ensure a personalized usage of the application, a short registration is required, which also allows access to the Smart Parking application. In fact, inside the GoTogether app, the current availability of parking in the area is shown and, sharing the travel, credits can be accounted for reserving a parking space in the area.

The Cloud has the function of data collector from all the applications developed for smart area and plays a vital role in terms of the integration of multiple sources of data for the future development of additional smart applications. Data can also be shared with other organizations in the area for the study of mobility and energy consumption in the medium and long term, to better understand how to use the available resources.

All applications and technologies used for Smart Area are open source and made in CNR. At the disposal of the Smart Area and of those small industries that may want to experiment with new technologies, by using the CNR know-how, the area has provided a laboratory (smart area living lab) for developping and testing innovative concepts that can be taken as a model for smart cities, for public administrations and for individuals who want to optimize resources in the areas of mobility, security and energy consumption.

To learn more, please refer to the smart area web page:

For information, please contact Dr. Erina Ferro, CNR-ISTI;