03 September 2021

Last week, Business Planet visited the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) city of Amsterdam Metropolitan Area in a short episode which showed off its innovative projects and proved why it is one of the selected ICC mentor cities.

This historic city hosts millions of visitors every year and has innovated to become a smart city through tech projects like Public Eye – which is one of the solutions available on the Tech4Good Marketplace. Public Eye is a crowd monitoring solution that collects data on pedestrian movement, density and overall size via video camera and Wi-Fi sensors. This data is captured through an AI algorithm and is sent to municipal employees and facility managers, who then use the information to better regulate traffic. They can suggest alternative routes and redirect pedestrians to minimise congestion.

Two locations are currently piloting the tech: Johan Cruyff Arena and Marineterrein. The data that is collected here is also shared with visitors on site through digital information boards and a smartphone app. This way, visitors can see for themselves how busy the areas are and adjust their actions accordingly.

This innovation comes in response to the effects of the pandemic, specifically concerning the need for social distancing. Amsterdam Metropolitan Area realised it must balance its desire to be a tourist hub with its need to comply with capacity regulations in order to ensure maximum safety for all citizens and visitors. In other words, the city cannot look the same as it did in 2019, when it hosted around 20 million visitors, under these new circumstances.

Public Eye is a premier example of a smart solution that all participating ICC cities are striving for. The project meets the smart city goal of connecting, protecting and enhancing the lives of citizens through environmentally conscious and digital technology.

Other cities should turn to Amsterdam Metropolitan Area for advice and consider how a similar solution could be implemented in their own cities, especially those cities that are facing a similar challenge of balancing tourism with safety regulations. Public Eye’s involvement of citizens through granting access to crowd data on the app and the digital boards provides inspiration for cities working on the thematic track of Citizen participation and digitisation of public administration.

We look forward to seeing how Amsterdam Metropolitan Area continues to lead the way with inspiring solutions on the ICC journey.