Limerick selected as case study for €500,000 smart city project

19 Oct 2016

From left: Markus Helfert, Lero investigator; Beatrice Heneghan, programme manager of digital strategy; and Dr Mihai Bilauca, head of digital strategy, of both Limerick City and County Council. Image: Denis Tierney

The city of Limerick could soon be one of Ireland’s smartest cities after the Irish software research centre Lero announced it will invest €500,000 in a smart-cities case study project.

Over the past few years, Limerick has grown to become one of the data capitals of Ireland. Just this week (17 October), news came that real-time electronic payments company ACI is to bring 50 new jobs to Limerick as it opens its new data centre in the city.

Now, the city is the setting for a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) national case study to develop the IT and enterprise architecture needed to create smart cities of the future.

A coup for Limerick

With an investment of €500,000 from Lero, the focus of the study will be on facilitating an internet of things (IoT) infrastructure to facilitate data capture from thousands of sensors and devices; from water, soil and air quality to traffic, cycling and pedestrian movement.

Those involved in the study hope that the benefits brought by this access to real-time data will be passed on to the people, communities and businesses of Limerick.

Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, mayor of the city and county, has described it as a coup for Limerick.

“Our goal is to make Limerick an increasingly attractive location for foreign direct investment as well as indigenous investment which will boost jobs.

“At the same time, we want to make Limerick a positive experience for locals and visitors through better transportation solutions, reduced traffic, a cleaner environment and a safer community,” he said.

Elaborating on the study

Dr Mihai Bilauca, head of digital strategy for Limerick City and County Council said: “We aim to build Limerick’s reputation locally, nationally and internationally as a digital ecosystem, where innovation and digital technologies empower our communities and create new opportunities for all in the knowledge economy.”

Elaborating on the scope of the research project, Lero investigator Dr Markus Helfert said: “The objective is to develop the Limerick enterprise architecture. Successful development of a smart city requires a unified ICT infrastructure to allow sustainable economic growth.

“The unified ICT platform must be suitable to model, measure, optimise, control and monitor complex interdependent systems of urban life.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic