City: Madrid, Spain
Created by: Via Inteligente
Being “connected” in the city means many things to many people. Real estate agents highlight how connected to the city certain residential areas are via transport links. Business people and friends want to be sure to connect with each other when they are in the city. Cell phone users and laptop-based workers celebrate or bemoan how able they are to connect when in a cafe or public space, while walkers and bicyclists talk of feeling more connected to the city when personally navigating the streets on foot or bike. Connectivity and the urban environment are intrinsically linked.
Madrid-based information technology company Via Inteligente is taking urban connec- tivity to a literal technological level. Their flagship product, iPavement, embeds wire- less technology in the city’s paving stones. With its own operating system and a line of custom apps, iPavement integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity in functional urban paving tiles.
By doubling the functionality of the city’s functional surfaces with the ability to deliver essential Internet connectivity, Via Inteligente sees iPavement as a means to increase economic development in urban areas that are underserved by traditional municipal and commercial Internet connectivity. iPavement is designed to also receive and share information from its install points. The company has plans to use connected paving stones to enable the city to monitor pedestrian traffic and usage patterns to allow more efficient responses and developments according to the use of its public surfaces and public spaces.