Modular smart city units to be trialled in the Netherlands 


During the 2019 Smart City Expo in Barcelona, the City of Rotterdam and the developer, Lightwell, launched the CENT-R, a multifunctional and modular unit that is set to become the standard platform for all smart city applications in the Netherlands’ second largest city. 

CENT-R stands for City/Connective Energy Network Tool – Rotterdam, and its unique feature is that it can be equipped with an array of smart city and IoT (Internet of Things) applications which, due to the modular design, can be adapted to fit changing needs and new applications on an ongoing basis. The CENT-R unit can be used for electric vehicle (EV) charging, converting uninterruptible power to a DC power network, 5G cellular networks, CCTV or traffic cameras, LED-based smart street lighting, parking availability monitoring, and a carrying a variety of sensors, such as air quality and sound monitoring. 

A pilot project is expected to start at the end of January 2020, with three CENT-R units deployed in Rotterdam’s Reyeroord district, home to numerous startup companies, which is being used to showcase and trial multiple innovative smart city technologies. The CENT-R pilot will enable the city to work towards a future-proof outdoor space equipped with multifunctional infrastructure that will serve as the basis for a large-scale rollout of smart city applications. The CENT-R has been developed in a unique co-creation project between the City of Rotterdam and Lightwell, in partnership with the Da Vinci College Dordrecht and Hogeschool Rotterdam educational institutes. 

With its circular and modular design, the CENT-R combines different masts and electrical equipment into a single unit, allowing it to continuously adapt to the latest technological innovations. 

“The CENT-R has come to characterize Rotterdam’s approach to digitization,” said the city’s Alderman for Economy, Barbara Kathmann. “Rotterdam is highly ambitious in this area: we want to be a prime example of a sustainable and accessible digital city by 2025, where people enjoy living and working. We are building on that with the help of the latest digital developments. We are partnering with the business community and knowledge institutes. With the CENT-R pilot we are showcasing the technical capabilities to the citizens of Rotterdam and are talking to community residents about management, safety, data management, 5G, mobility and the energy transition.” 

Rotterdam’s public works administrator for public lighting, Peter Wijnandssaid, “The process will only begin in earnest once the first units have been installed in Reyeroord. We will provide a future-proof, plug-and-play solution for combined charging applications and smart city/smart lighting applications. We will examine the issues that must be resolved so that we can make a large-scale rollout in the city a reality. We will bundle many objects with an electrical plug into a single standard object. The pilot will run until late 2020. The experience we will have gained by then will be extremely valuable for the city’s roadmap to 2030. That is the year that we, as a city, want to be truly climate neutral.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.