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System Integration in Smart Cities

A smart city is a configuration to develop, promote and apply sustainable development practices to address growing urbanization challenges, which include a variety of applications in different environments: power & energy, transportation, telecommunications, factories, housing & buildings, farming, healthcare, among others. The next figure presents a comprehensive summary of the applicable fields in smart cities, classified into “hard domain” (yellow) and “soft domain” (blue) [1].


A set of information and communication technology (ICT) devices – such as sensors and Internet connectivity – are used to interconnect environments and, thus, allowing users, manufacturers, service providers, and government managers to optimize the flow of information towards the improvement of quality of life and sustainable economic growth [1].

How citizens engage with smart cities?

Usually, centralized decisions and actions take a long time to be implemented. However, society and local authorities can be major players on the transition of traditional elements into smarter platforms and solutions. For example, citizens can use smartphones to find parking spots and electric vehicle charging docks, to trace the best route and avoid traffic congestion, or even as a digital ID card with appropriate authenticity credentials [2].

The role of the ETOPIA project 

Renewable energy is on the rise, especially with solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power. Also, the increasing deployment of electric and autonomous vehicles, the electrification of transports (electric trains and ships), industry 4.0, the telecommunications system (5G). All these systems are increasingly interconnected and experiencing large-scale transformations.

The ETOPIA project, in this context, comes to improve the techniques for modelling, measure, predicting, and managing electromagnetic risks associated with power converters and telecommunication networks. Thus, ensuring a more reliable, safer and more resilient operating environment for electrical-electronic systems, communication systems and related components. Many critical infrastructures use electromagnetic waves to transmit/receive information and, thus, perform this fundamental role in the fields of security, economy, social activities, which are key areas to make smarter cities.


Development and application of standards 

The application of standards is one fundamental step to minimize risks of interference between systems and to ensure better performance of these systems. On the other hand, it may not cover the latest technologies, such as the disruptive ones. It is a complex issue, standards should be regularly updated, but they should not delay technological development as a whole. Therefore, it is necessary to keep a close collaboration between academia, industry and society to find a balanced solution in this development.

The main regulatory bodies and standards for electromagnetic compatibility are the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) 61000-X series, the European Standards (EN) from the European Committee for Standardization, and the CISPR (International Special Committee on Radio Interference). However, substantial research is needed to extend the normative methods applied for the frequency range 2-150 kHz, also known as “supraharmonics,” since increasing issues were reported in this frequency range [3]. In this context, the Technical Committee 7 (TC7) of the IEEE’s Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Society is dedicated to fundamental research on low-frequency EMC in electric power and adjacent systems.

For additional content, please check this great discussion panel about “Integrating energy and communication systems in smart cities,” where I took part along with the engineer Carlos Bertolassi (ABB-Brazil) and moderated by MSc. Eng. Hermes Loschi (Project SCENT / University of Zielona Góra). 


1. L.-D. Radu, “Disruptive Technologies in Smart Cities: A Survey on Current Trends and Challenges,” Smart Cities, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 1022–1038, Sep. 2020.
2. THALES Group. Secure, sustainable smart cities and the IoT. Available on: <> Accessed on 28.09.2020
3. F. Leferink, "Conducted Interference, Challenges and Interference Cases," in IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Magazine, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 78-85, 2015, DOI: 10.1109/MEMC.2015.7098517.

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