From the Smart City to the Cyber-Physical System
If the city is an organism and the urban infrastructure its organ, we see how, over the years, these organs work in an uncoordinated manner, because there is no control system to improve their functioning.
The following three components are essential for cities to make another evolutionary leap:
- the senses: capable of perceiving what is happening in the city by collecting air quality, noise and traffic data, etc.;
- an advanced nervous system: capable of transmitting the signals that the senses have generated;
- a brain: capable of collecting and processing the data coming from the transmission network.
The integrated application of these three types of infrastructure constitutes the city’s Cyber-Physical System,
a set of technologies that generate an autonomous, smart system capable of facilitating integration between different, distant entities.
The functions of a Cyber-Physical System can be summarised in five ascending levels of data and knowledge development:
- Smart connection level: managing and acquiring data in real time with smart sensors and transferring them;
- Data-to-information conversion level: the ability to group data and convert them into information;
- Cyber level& Digital Twin: the ability to represent the real domain in a digital setting in real time;
- Cognition level: the ability to identify different scenarios and to support a decision-making process;
- Configuration level: the ability to provide feedback for the real situation from the virtual situation.
This system can be applied both to air quality and to waste collection, the use of energy and, in general, the eight urban development topics proposed in the Bologna charter.
To be more precise, we have developed a tool designed to guide this transition: an IT platform called the ‘PUNTOnet Board’, which integrates services and provides a dynamic view of the information.
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