On November 16, 17, and 18, we participated in the Smart City Expo World Congress 2021 in Barcelona, ​​the world’s leading fair in technologies for Smart Cities.

SIARQ has been invited consecutive for the third time to exhibit at the stand of the Generalitat de Catalunya and has been mentioned in several newspapers among the 6 technologies that will lead Smart Cities today.

Over three intense days, the SIARQ team has presented to more than 400 people, among professionals from the sector, institutions, goverments, and municipalities around the world, the Solar Hub Solution, showing the quality monitory of the air in real-time and of the acoustic contamination that was in the fair. We have been able to demostrate the reliability of the data that Solar Hub can deliver, with integrated PM, CO2, and noise detection sensors. And that the Urban Brain platform is capable of collecting, teaching a unique user experience: being able to download easy and automatically environmental reports in less that 5 seconds.

The organization of the congress assured that “this year’s edition is one of the most necessary since the event began in 2011. Not only is it the tenth anniversary, but it comes at a time when cities need to be closer together than never” pointed out the director, Ugo Valenti. “The pandemic has changed the urgency of some improvements and has made the rapid deployment of some technologies a priority”, says Valenti.

SIARQ has begun to deploy a network of Solar Hubs throughout Spain, starting in Barcelona. Three representatives of the Siarq team went to Sant Cugat (Barcelona), last Friday, October 15, to support the installation of Solar Hubs, located in the strategic points of the municipality.

Thanks to technological innovation and the collaboration of engineers, designers, sales teams, and environmentalists, it has been possible to implement the Solar Hub, a system to measure air quality and noise levels. Our main goal is to improve the quality of life of citizens. To give tools to carry out their daily activities while being respectful to their health and nature.

Solar Hub Solution, data as a service, has environmental sensors and highly efficient LED lighting, also powered by the photovoltaic energy of its solar infrastructure. The dome-shaped photovoltaic panel also offers an aesthetic by its environment, with the elements integrated into the structure, which simplifies its maintenance.

Establishing indicators and compiling them into information systems allows us to validate data, make decisions and manage reality. As William Thomson Kelvin, a British physicist and mathematician (1824–1907), puts it: “What is not defined cannot be measured. What is not measured cannot be improved. What does not improve, degrades forever.” And it is that what is not measured, cannot be managed. So simple.

On September 22 and 23, we participated in the Expo For Public Space; in Utrecht, Holland. This fair offered a common ground for professionals interested in smarts, sustainable, and future-proof cities.

In this meeting, we have been able to meet more than 600 professionals and projects with whom we shared concerns about public space with a sustainable perspective on the future. It has been a meeting point for designs and experiences in the fields of sports, games, and recreation, lighting, sustainability, urban furniture, paving, architecture and landscape design, subsoil, advice, and management, all under the criterion “cities smart, sustainable and futureproof”. Utrecht, and the Netherlands in general, is known for being a pioneer in sustainability. The Netherlands is a country with its personality, which is committed to renewable energy projects, such as Zon-op-Zee. This innovative project translates as The sun in the sea, being explicit with its objective: to obtain energy from solar panels located in the sea. Utrecht, and the Netherlands in general, is known for being a pioneer in sustainability, a lover of bicycles, and a constant promoter of the use in her country; for the health of its citizens, and, in turn, to minimize the carbon footprint and decongest the city. The Netherlands is a country with its personality, which is committed to renewable energy projects, such as Zon-op-Zee. This innovative project translates as The sun in the sea, being explicit with its objective: to obtain energy from solar panels located in the sea.

After months of working on the Solar Hub, the Siarq team has shown their complete experience. The objective is twofold, on the one hand, to publicize the Solar Hub project, under the slogan Data as Service, to the professionals of the fair, and, on the other, to soak up and inspire us with its innovative knowledge.

Furthermore, the operation was showed and explained with the complete experience. The Solar Hub service is made by an infrastructure part, with points of detection and control of environmental data, and a platform developed, called Urban Brain.  This complete analysis gives environmental and acoustic data and, in turn, sunlight. The data makes us know the reality of the air in the area in which we live and allows us to make decisions to improve the characteristics of the air, and, consequently, of life. At Siarq, we understand Solar Hub and Urban Brain as a service that goes further its light function. We are talking about it as a service that offers the quality of life of the neighborhood, the community, and the city where it is, thus speaking of connotations of self-care, comfort, and, ultimately, human.

The main objective is to promote environmental awareness of the air, a central aspect for the growth of sustainable cities, and the healing of the articulation of the social and neighborhood fabric of the city’s neighborhoods. For its development, Solar Hub has the participation of a team of designers, engineers, and environmentalists, recognizing the pedagogical aspect in its determination and, at the same time, promoting and fulfilling national and state goals aligned with the objectives of sustainable development (ODS).

Siarq in Expo for Public Space 2021.
Siarq in Expo for Public Space 2021.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has created a serious public health concern worldwide. Although most regions of the world have been affected by the virus, some regions are more affected than others in terms of infections and death rates. The exact reasons for these variations are not yet clear.

The results of most of the studies reviewed here demonstrate that short- and long-term exposure to air pollution, especially PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), can contribute significantly to higher rates of infections and mortality, and to a lesser extent also PM10. A significant correlation between air pollution, infections and mortality from COVID-19 has been found in some countries around the world.

Available data indicate that exposure to air pollution may influence virus transmission. In addition, this exposure may increase vulnerability and have a detrimental effect on the prognosis of patients affected by infections such as COVID-19.

The hypothesis that the new coronavirus could take advantage of the “highways” formed by atmospheric particles is a challenging point that, in our opinion, deserves more immediate and in-depth experimental investigations. It is hoped that prompt action will be taken to clarify the dynamics involved in the current pandemic.

In the first weeks of the global Covid-19 pandemic, people desperate for good news received a small glimmer of hope: the Himalayas were once again visible, spanning the northern Indian horizon for what could be the first time in 30 years.

As cities around the world came to a standstill in March and April to curb the rapid spread of the virus, many urban residents saw a silver lining where air pollution was concerned. Kenyans reported seeing the jagged peaks of Mount Kenya from behind Nairobi’s skyscrapers, and NASA satellite data showed a drop in pollution on roads through the northeastern corridor of the United States.

“This is stark confirmation of the contribution of our daily activities to the sources of emissions of the air pollutants we breathe and the greenhouse gases that drive global warming,” the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Science Advisory Group and invited experts wrote in May. “The speed with which emissions have fallen demonstrates how quickly we can improve our environment when motivated and how vulnerable we are to living in degraded environments.”

As the Acting Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) said: “The air may be clearing in Italy, but the damage has already been done to human health and people’s ability to fight infections. Governments should have tackled chronic air pollution long ago, but they have prioritised economics over health. Science tells us that epidemics like COVID-19 will occur with increasing frequency. So, cleaning up the streets is a basic investment in a healthier future. Two images taken by NASA’s Sentinel-5 satellite show the concentration of nitrogen levels over China before and after the closure of COVID.

Clean air is a human right. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for a large part of the world’s population. Globally, around 9 in 10 people are exposed to air pollution at levels above WHO air quality guidelines.

As a result, some 7 million people die each year due to ambient or household air pollution. While this figure is impressive, it is only the tip of the iceberg, as there is also a huge burden of illnesses, hospitalizations, reduced life expectancies, and the associated social and economic impacts of lost productivity and health care costs.

Although the problem of air pollution is increasingly recognized and addressed by both governments and civil society, action is too slow, especially in the most affected regions of the world. Most countries suffer from constant unhealthy levels of air pollutants and regular acute peaks.

To communicate the risks associated with air pollution, it is necessary to have information that is not only accessible to the public, but also easily understandable. The risk must be made more visible and detectable at the local level. People are motivated to control their environment and their destiny, and this motivation should be reinforced.

SIARQ plays a key role in the monitoring and control of atmospheric emissions. It provides the key tools to visualize data in real time, download environmental reports and always inform citizens about the air that they breathe.