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Use Case 6 · Citizens as sensor (Joint EU/JP cross-border use case)

The evolution of smart cities closely has a strong focus on citizen involvement. By inviting citizens to act as “human sensors” and send local governments information about their immediate environment, this creates a kind of city-wide crowdsourcing. Unlike more administrative methods of citizen feedback, citizens are awarded the power to directly engage in the improvement of their surroundings. Photographs, notices and alerts on topics of interest can be submitted by society to drive their involvement, creating a stronger bond between citizen and government and developing a sense of community.

Users can subscribe to certain types of events and therefore meet more people with similar interests to them. For the municipality, it generates insight and promotes initiatives based on authentic citizen demands, and is therefore a true landscape reflecting real issues and interests harboured by the population. It provides a platform for citizens from both cities to see what is happening on the other side of the globe and establishes a playing field to compete and gain rewards based on their participation.


  • Citizens as the end users, participating and collaborating with municipal services
  • Municipal services offering real-time online information to citizens on the status of various incidents/matters, from start to finish, driving more efficient services
  • Fujisawa and Santander Smart Cities providing their IoT infrastructure to conduct the trials

GDPR/PIPA compliance:

On the EU side, GDPR compliance can be easily achieved through asking for online consent, the lack of a registration process and the omission of handling sensitive personal data. However users opting out from the consent form need to be subject to anonymisation and encryption mechanisms. On the Japan side, PIPA compliance is equally achievable through the same methods.

Latest developments:

Uptake in interest from citizens has been identified as the major challenge here, and the use case will therefore focus on app acquisition and usage. Careful attention also needs to be paid to the user experience within the app, ensuring that the rewards system works. The municipalities must also have fast reaction times to solving events or issues arising in the app. Specific research into finalising GDPR/PIPA compliance is also being conducted. Finally, it has been established that this use case is easily replicable in any smart city looking to drive involvement from society in its daily operations. The Fujisawa/Santander solution will test it in a real-life context and refined based on citizen collaboration, pushing towards a complete solution that can be imported and adapted to other cities, thus achieving citizen engagement in a project affecting people worldwide.

How can I join?

Contact Arturo Medela: amedela@tst-sistemas.es

Date 21/09/2018
Category use case 6, use-cases

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