How to Protect Smart City Cultural Heritage

What do the Arc de Triomphe, the Coliseum and the Brandenburg Gate have in common? They are all iconic landmarks that have defined the landscapes of their cities for hundreds of years and their artistic and cultural worth is invaluable. How do we combine the protection these city assets need with the features of a Smart City?

Cultural heritage is one of the biggest magnets for cities to attract visitors from all over the world. The European Union alone estimates that this is a 335 billion euros-per-year business that generates directly or indirectly nine million jobs. Cultural Heritage Conservation is a huge industry itself, worth five billion euros per year in Europe alone. It is focused on improving preservation conditions if the assets are damaged in any way, anticipating problems by developing innovative conservation strategies, and integrating cutting-edge technology in order to ensure that preservation is carried out in a sustainable, efficient and safe way within the parameters of a Smart City.

We talked a while back about smart heritage projects in conditions of isolation or at least unrelated to other urban technological efforts. It makes all the sense  to apply technology to preserve cultural heritage within the scope of a global connected urban strategy.  Smart City initiatives regarding cultural heritage are focused primarily on preventing damage or decay of city assets.

IoT Smart Heritage Platforms display data collected in real time from many combined sensors. Its control panel manages preservation operations for movable and immovable assets. Deployed Smart Heritage Sensors have multiple purposes and features:

  • Non-intrusive wireless connections
  • Standard parameters measured (temperature, humidity, or light conditions)
  • Special sensors when needed (presence of xylophages, pollution levels or structural stability)
  • Designed to be concealed or barely noticeable
  • Valid for indoor or outdoor use
  • Apt for use in any kind of premises (religious or not)
  • Can be located in restricted and/or hazardous areas
  • Collected data can be polled via web or through a local management system

Big Data management allows Smart Heritage to have undeniable benefits that support this type of investment. We will point out the four advantages that make the case for Smart City authorities and decision makers:

  1. Preventive Management: anticipates possible decay of cultural assets.
  2. Heritage Preservation: offers sustainable and optimal management in terms of management and conservation.
  3. Cost savings: like in every efficient technological use case, there is a considerable cut in resources required to supervise and maintain assets.
  4. Customized solutions: since every cultural asset is unique so are the projects designed to manage their preservation and protection; every landmark has its own conditions and problems which must be addressed on a case by case basis.

As an additional benefit, Smart Cities add augmented reality features to their most relevant landmarks, allowing visitors and residents to know more about a particular street, square or fountain simply using their smartphone and specific apps. A cultural asset has many stories and a great deal of history enclosed waiting to be told. Technology preserves the space while enrichening citizens’ experience ensuring that these story and history itself do not fade in time.


Original source: Telefónica M2M

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