Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal—the second largest city in the country—known for its stately bridges and port wine production. More than 200,000 people call Porto home and countless tourists visit it every year. The city of Porto is one of the major urban areas in Southern Europe. Porto has over 250,000 inhabitants and it’s the center of a large metropolitan area with around 1.8 million inhabitants and an area of 2040 km2. The historic center of Porto was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1996.
Porto is a major research and innovation center, with a rapidly growing sector of creative and technological industries, and it is Portugal’s hub regarding exports. Porto is well placed to develop its smart city aspirations, building on its existing portfolio of projects, the commitment of the municipality and its strengths as a center for start-up and scale-up innovative businesses. In 2016, the city of Porto ranked first on the “Smart City Index Portugal 2016.”
Porto wanted to minimize the digital divide by providing expanded Internet access for its citizens. When considering how best to accomplish this, the city also hoped to use any infrastructure enhancements to help improve city operations and to efficiently use critical city resources.
Porto officials became interested in a solution developed by AWS Partner Veniam, which offers a low-latency, real-time, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication solution. Veniam’s “smart city” solution enables municipal departments and transportation authorities to share data that was previously locked in each department’s silos.
Each vehicle included in the solution contributes to improving the network as a whole, and the data that each vehicle collects is stored and shared on an easily accessible, common cloud-based platform. This can speed the development of web and mobile applications to improve the operations of different municipal and transportation authorities. It can also foster the development of applications to address social, citizen, and environmental issues.
The city deployed Veniam’s solution to Porto’s 400-plus public buses and municipal service vehicles turning them into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile urban sensors. This provides high-quality internet access to thousands of passengers every day, helping to bridge the digital divide among Porto’s citizens. At the same time important traffic data is gathered that can be used for future improvements, including passenger mobility patterns, bus stop locations, and traffic profiles of Porto’s streets. Each month, terabytes of data move through the cloud from Veniam’s vehicular network, with vehicles constantly updating Veniam’s Network Operations Centre and Client Dashboards with real-time location, vehicle, and network information.
The solution provides the Municipality of Porto with high-value urban data, which increases the efficiency of the municipality’s services. The mesh vehicular network is working as a complementary infrastructure to the already existing fiber and Wi-Fi networks, thereby increasing the range and quality of free internet connectivity provided to citizens. In addition, Veniam’s international visibility and success contributes to the city of Porto’s reputation as an entrepreneurial, innovative, and smart city, and also as a living lab, where companies can test solutions on a city scale.
Veniam’s cloud infrastructure runs on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), together with Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), for reliable, scalable storage solutions. Core to the availability, resilience, and reliability of Veniam’s cloud communication is Amazon Route 53. Veniam deploys and manages containers on Amazon EC2 Container Registry (Amazon ECR), making it easy for developers to store, manage, and deploy Docker container images. Veniam uses geographical routing to route requests to the closest data center and to guarantee failover.
“We build on the flexibility, manageability, and easy-to-integrate features of Amazon Web Services to create a common-based cloud platform that enables city players and stakeholders to access and share data," says Ricardo Matos, director of IP, Veniam.
“Being able to store and process terabytes of data is essential to learn from our deployments,” says Daniel Moura, director of data analytics at Veniam. “Our data scientists need to be able to run queries over large amounts of data across multiple databases in multiple geographic locations.”
Through standardized interfaces using the same cloud infrastructure, Veniam collects and combines data from multiple information sources that are accessible along different transportation paths within a specific city. This data is then easily accessible in the cloud through web APIs not only for customers but also for partners. Thanks to Amazon’s prolific data centers, Veniam can deliver its service anywhere. “Deploying on top of AWS enables data collection, large-scale storage, and transport,” says André Cardote, engineering director at Veniam.
Using AWS makes Veniam’s cloud-managed services reliable, efficient, compliant, and highly scalable. Veniam can deploy its solutions in any city with little effort, creating citywide vehicle mesh networks and deliver smart city applications around the world.
The Municipality of Porto and Veniam enjoy a strong working relationship that offers benefits to Porto’s citizens and visitors alike. “We are constantly discovering new insights and new angles regarding our data because we can store everything we collect in a cost-efficient way, allowing assessments that were not possible at the time the data was gathered,” notes Moura.
With offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, Veniam provides a platform for moving massive amounts of data over mesh networks of connected vehicles. It builds and operates city-scale vehicular networks that expand wireless coverage and collect terabytes of urban data for smart city applications. In controlled spaces with a large number of vehicles and moving machines, in locations such as ports and container terminals, Veniam's game-changing solutions ensure that all mobile workers and assets are securely connected, regardless of location or speed.
Learn more about AWS for Smart, Connected and Sustainable Cities