At the age of 81, Elvira Fernandez is confident that the streets of the town where he has spent his whole life will be filled with people. "Many young people were in Molinaseca, but perhaps now coming back because technology has greatly improved things. If you return, you would be stone to see how it has changed everything," he says while strolling through this town of 880 inhabitants located in the region of El Bierzo (León), which has already been applied to the internet of things (IoT, in its acronym in English), street lighting and waste management. A large part of this transformation is due to the inclusion of Molinaseca in the project Territory Rural Smart promoted by the Junta de Castilla y León and led by Telefónica, whose objective is to revitalize through technology those areas of the country that have been depopulated by the migration movements to urban centres.
"In the past 45 years, the Spanish population has grown by around 36%, but this increase has been focused in the big cities, so it is necessary to convert the rural world and a pole of opportunities for the new generations," says Santiago Sierra-Llamazares, consultant of business development in the area of Smart Cities, Telefónica Empresas.
According to the expert, the technology is an enabler to improve the quality of life in these areas because citizens can use it to launch new projects from a triple perspective: improvement of services to residents, boost the rural economy and innovation in the field.
"The two major challenges are tackling the digital divide in terms of connectivity and scan sectors that have traditionally driven the economy of the rural world, such as agriculture or tourism. This will help many people to choose a people as his place of residence and to encourage creation of new companies or business models," says Sierra-Llamazares.
as to the challenge of the digital divide, the urgency is clear. Not in vain, while the total coverage of the ultra-fast broadband connections-above 100 Mbps) is about 81%, in rural areas it is only from 38.3%, according to data from the Ministry of Economy and Digital Transformation. While it is to remedy this situation, Sierra-Llamazares highlighted alternatives such as the technology Narrow Band IoT (NBIoT), that connects devices using a low power. "These networks of narrow band allows to put in place projects to sensorizar rural environments and test models of efficient management and sustainable thanks to the internet of things (IoT)," said the expert of Telephone Companies. The sensors deployed to control aspects of the water supply (consumption patterns, quality, leak detection, determination of policies of irrigation and pumping), allow the optimization of routes for waste collection, help to save energy and, even, in the future, may be applied to the care of the elderly or people with varying levels of dependency. "By combining technology with management models more sustainable not only overcome problems inherent to rural areas, but that gives them strengths," says Sierra-Llamazares.
with regard to the digitization of traditional industries, the expert of Telephone Companies points out that the analysis of the information collected by these sensors and from other sources helps to detect patterns with which to optimize business. For example, city councils can get to know in detail from where they visit and how they behave the tourists that arrive to their municipalities to provide services more in line with their preferences.
In short, the solutions for IoT and big data is configured as one of the possible antidotes against Spain depopulated because they not only improve the day-to-day of the citizens with digital services, but also offer new opportunities that result in benefits for their family lives and professional.Updated Date: 22 January 2020, 16:00