SmartPoliTech aims to transform the Polytechnic School in a large experimental ecosystem, living-lab where technology contributes to the welfare, energy efficiency and research experimentation.
The project’s goal is to turn University of Extremadura’s Polytechnic School in a large experimental ecosystem, a living-lab for the design, implementation, integration and validation of systems capable of creating smart spaces by SmartX technologies development; an energy efficient space, to make easier social and academic life in campus, and that appeals to the personal development of its inhabitants and users.
The Polytechnic School has ideal conditions for the implementation of this ambitious project. Numerous research groups in ICT, environmental sciences and civil engineering are established there, as well as several spin-offs and technological start-ups. We are gathering all this creative potential to create SmartPoliTech, with the support of hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students who give life to these facilities every year.
The project is planned as a gradual process of sensing and automation of different areas of the center aiming to introduce increasing levels of intelligence in each of them and as a whole. The installation of sensors and actuators in confined spaces and controlled by elements of local intelligence links clearly with the concepts developed in robotics over the past decades which have been adapted and extended in newly established fields like Ambient Intelligence, Building Automation or Ubiquitous Computing. Each space should be aautomated based on its usage and each group of spaces should incorporate new elements to the system’s intelligence. The objectives to be achieved by this intelligence are multiple and sometimes conflicting, so it is necessary to include algorithms for automatic scheduling and multi-objective optimization, combined with learning techniques that increase the system’s knowledge.
Taking all this into consideration, SmartPoliTech follows an incremental approach to these objectives, iterating through three phases: selection of sensors and actuators, predictive space modeling, and planning and control. All the technologies involved will be evaluated and tested for reliability and durability during each cycle of this process.
All information collected by the sensor system and the records of the actions carried out, will constitute the social and environmental digital heritage of the Polytechnic School, information of great importance to validate and further the improvement of technologies as they are incorporated.
This project involves different technological challenges to the path that goes from a traditional space, no tech, to a smart space that interacts with its inhabitants through web applications and services accessible from mobile devices. SmartPoliTech is based on the philosophy of Open Data to allow all those who inhabit this public space to imagine and create new applications and services every day. This requires developing technologies in five areas: sensor connectivity, mass storage and high availability of data, visualization, modeling and planning.
Progress on these areas requires research in open technology communication middleware very flexible, scalable, and secure allowing communication between hundreds or thousands of heterogeneous devices with a storage system in the cloud for high availability, the introduction of NoSQL databases, to explore the intersection of the Internet of Things with Building Automation, the Open Data philosophy with data mining, and to bet on uncoupling between the data storage and end-uses. All these are challenges that require the coordinated participation of groups with expertise in electronics, communications, information systems, data engineering, software engineering, artificial intelligence, machine learning, statistics, acoustics, building, facilities, etc.. working on a common scenario.
Planned impact involves immediate and measurable reductions in energy costs of the Centre. This saving of resources and the consequent contribution to environmental sustainability justify, by themselves, the human and financial effort. Nevertheless, SmartPoliTech intends to go beyond, creating an experimental ecosystem in which the Polytechnic School becomes a living-lab where interested stakeholders may install, use, integrate and compare their technologies collaborating with the research groups that are creating that smart space. This synergy will achieve in the short term a high technological potential and will be directed to an emerging market with exponential growth.
In this line, SmartPoliTech aims to generate a new image of the Centre as an international reference point in SmartX technologies and to provide stable funding for research through industrial contracts, agreements and RTD projects.