She flew in to attend the Barcelona festival, the largest of its kind in Spain. She couldn't wait to see the streets filled with people watching processions of massive gegants, 12-foot tall papier-mâché medieval puppets. Or the correfoc, a wild fire run by crazed costumed pyromaniacs.
She soared down the street and found the perfect parking spot.
"I might be in time to see the castellers!" she gasped, anticipating a unique feat where gymnasts create human towers so tall, they'd give typical cheerleaders nosebleeds.
She entered the gates, and her head was spinning. In all her excitement, she hadn't eaten all day. Then she saw food as far as eye could see.
"Is this place reading my mind?" she thought.
Barcelona has long been a major tourist attraction. Millions attend La Mercé every year, and the city is always abloom with open-air flower markets. Tourists peruse kiosks stocked with bright, luscious fruit, and stroll down to the city’s architectural jewel, the Sagrada Familia.
Unfortunately, until 2011, underneath this magical city was an infrastructure that drastically needed to be updated.
Since the city used different systems to manage business intelligence, every piece of information had to be entered manually to make heads or tails of it all. There was no way to analyze information critical to tourist enjoyment.
The city needed to get serious about data.
- Luis Sanz Marco, Director of Barcelona Municipal Institute of Information
The city partnered with Bismart, which built a hybrid cloud to bring the disparate information together. Built on Microsoft Azure, it could display everything that affects tourist experience together, like street maps, public facilities, population, and businesses.
Now, the city can analyze them all in one, simple place. If a certain purse-snatcher is affecting a certain corner, the city will know it. And if a specific neighborhood is underserved for restaurants, they'll be the first to hear.
The system is great at compounding existing city data, but it also takes advantage of a more recent source of information: social media.
It culls near-limitless real-time feeds and petabytes of data from Twitter and mobile apps. Thanks to the GPS embedded in phones, the city can track how tourists move, which lets them know the best places to put bike stations, security cameras, restaurants, and ATMs.
If people are digging an event, the city will know. And if traffic is a nightmare, they'll get on it. All from the photos and comments people are leaving online.
By using cloud technology, Barcelona has guaranteed that its famous allure will endure. The needs of citizens and tourists alike are shaping city development like never before possible.
And Camila? She's swaying to the beat of her favorite EDM band. "How did the festival know?" she wonders.
Because she tweeted about them last month.
Bismart, a Business Intelligence and big data specialist awarded for excellence in innovation and implementation of customer-based solutions.
See how Bismart boosts collaboration between Barcelona, its citizens and businesses, and other global cities.
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