Andalusia Smart Region uses Context Broker for intelligent irrigation system

The city of Osuna, Spain, built a smart irrigation system for remotely managing parks and gardens, and for optimising the use of one of nature's most precious resources, water.

@Photo by FIWARE Zone

Eight parks around Osuna were installed with IoT devices for intelligent irrigation, cutting water consumption by up to 45%. 

Quick facts

  • Location: Osuna, Spain
  • Organisation: The Parks and Gardens Service of Osuna City Council 
  • Project: 'Andalusia Smart Region' under 'FIWARE Zone' initiative
  • Challenge: Build smart applications for the better management of cities
  • Solution: Smart irrigation system for parks and gardens enabled by a platform powered by FIWARE Context Broker
  • Building Block: Context Broker
  • EU funded: No

The challenge of managing precious resources

Osuna is a municipality in southern Spain, in the province of Seville, and has about 17,000 inhabitants. It is located 87.4 kilometres from the capital. Its climate is characterised by cold, frosty winters and very hot summers, with temperatures reaching as high as 40 °C. The Parks and Gardens Service of Osuna City Council is responsible for the conservation and maintenance of green areas, whether they are landscaped areas or urban parks in the city. Water is the city's most precious resource and its intelligent management is one of the main challenges faced every day. Their objective, therefore, is to improve the efficiency of municipal water services by reducing and adapting the use of water to weather conditions and the needs of each garden.

To establish smart irrigation, eight parks were selected for a pilot under the Andalusia Smart Region project: San Arcadio, El Maestrito, Rector Miguel Florencio Lora, Plaza de las Flores, Parque de las Autonomías, 8 March, Vice Rector Juan José Iglesias and Mohedana.

What is Andalusia Smart Region?

The objective of the ‘Andalusia Smart Region’ project is to deploy smart city and smart agro pilots in different provinces of Andalusia, so that public administrations can test and analyse different smart solutions and their suitability for the management of cities. The project was carried out under ‘FIWARE Zone’, a Spanish joint initiative between Telefónica and the Regional Government of Andalusia to promote the development of smart, IoT-based solutions using the NGSI-LD API specification. The European Commission partly funded the creation of FIWARE and promotes their work with the Context Broker Building Block, a comprehensive Commission solution offered by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme with documentation and support services to help European organisations adopt FIWARE based technologies.

Integrating IoT with Context Broker

The smart irrigation management system consisted of various technologies to manage the maintenance of the eight gardens and parks in a centralised manner. The solution is explained below - tech talk alert!

The Internet of Things (IoT) devices needed to measure conditions such as rain, wind, humidity and temperature are called IoT sensors (1). The IoT devices that are able to take action, such as solenoid valves capable of turning water on and off, are called actuators (2)

Several remote units or secondary nodes (3) were installed on light posts to help forward measures from sensors to the signal hub or main node (4), which further transmits them to the irrigation server (5). In the other direction, remote units are also able to forward commands from technical operators to actuators as they come through the irrigation server via the main node. The remote units are connected over a low-power radio frequency (ZigBee) meshed wireless network.

The concentrator (6) is connected to an alternating current source and transmits the information to the Thinking City platform (7) via a 2G/3G connection, although it could take advantage of any existing IP connection (WIFI, ADSL, etc.). The information sent to the Thinking City platform first goes through the IoT Agent (8), which uses the Ultralight (UL) 2.0 protocol to translate and send the parameters to Context Broker (9) in standard NGSI format. Context Broker can then finally send the readily-standardised information to be displayed in the city management dashboard, called Urbo (10)

Technical operators at the Osuna Parks and Gardens Service manage and control the irrigation system through a technical operators' software (11), while the city's municipal managers use Urbo to make informed decisions. Any other future smart services can also be integrated into the same platform using Context Broker.

Results and benefits

The main benefit of using Context Broker is that the information coming in from the different IoT devices can be standardised and centralised. This way it is possible to analyse all information collectively through a control panel that facilitates the management, not only of irrigation, but of all smart services to be deployed in the city in the future, too. Context Broker is vendor neutral, and can incorporate new technologies in other locations without having to modify the management platform.

The smart irrigation solution in Osuna has significantly improved irrigation programs and enabled cutting down the use of water by up to 45 %. It has, therefore, proven to be an intelligent irrigation control system that allows the municipality to conduct sustainable park and garden management thanks to real-time information and remote irrigation controls. This enables the use of water resources to be optimised in an efficient, automated and centralised way. In addition, the solution can detect abnormal water consumption and automatically generate alerts for possible leaks or breaks in the network.

The investments made in software, development and hardware equipment will be returned by saving water and reducing manual labour. Furthermore, the municipality will enjoy the following benefits:

  • To be able to centralise and monitor information in a single management platform.
  • Access irrigation information from any computer, tablet or smartphone.
  • To have a complete vision in real time of what is happening in the irrigation systems.
  • To be able to immediately detect possible leaks and incidents in the network.
  • Minimise response times in case of incident.
  • Remote programming irrigation sequences for public gardens and green areas.
  • Efficient planning of the facilities’ maintenance and operation.
  • The ability to improve preventive maintenance and reduce maintenance costs.
  • Increase the efficiency of irrigation systems.
  • To guarantee the scalability of the intelligent irrigation platform.
  • Have the ability to replace and/or expand the system with other technologies and suppliers without the need to modify the platform.

More smart services in the same platform

Andalusia Smart Region has done similar IoT-based pilots in Dos Hermanas for waste management and Lucena for street lighting and citizenship participation. In the future, they are looking to integrate more smart services into the Thinking City Platform to improve the way that Andalusian cities are managed.

How can you get started?

The Context Broker was established in 2018 to help organisations share data in real time at the right time. The documentation and support services are described on our website and available to all. We would be happy to help you get started, visit us at Context Broker to learn more.

Context Broker on CEF Digital

Last updated on  Apr 25, 2019 09:42
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