Barcelona will finally have a center devoted to smart cities, a strategic project that has finally become a reality. Two large multinational corporations, US-based Cisco and French Schneider Electric, have chosen Barcelona as the location of their innovation center and research lab in the field of technology for smart cities, respectively.
Both companies have just announced a joint investment of more than 37 million euros over the coming five years, which will go to creating a new research hub in the 22@ district, the Smart City Campus.
The former Ca l’Alier factory will be fully renovated for use as the headquarters of the hub that Barcelona aims to promote in the fields of mobile communications and new technology for smart cities. Ca l’Alier will also be home to the headquarters of the BIT Habitat Foundation (Institute of Technology for the Habitat), in which the Barcelona City Council will participate.
The new Cisco innovation center will entail an initial investment of more than 22 million euros and consist in an Internet of Things laboratory. Cisco has chosen Barcelona because the Barcelona city model and the 22@ district are one-of-a-kind in Europe and in the world, according to sources inside the company.
Additionally, Ca l’Alier will also be home to the Schneider Electric center for smart cities, which is the only one this French multinational corporation has in the world. The company is currently working on two hundred projects in this field and this center in Barcelona will be their test bench. Investment is expected to be roughly 15 million euros over five years.
According to the Barcelona City Council, the future facilities at Ca l’Alier will directly create more than 150 new jobs. The BIT Habitat Foundation will also foster links with the university arena. Renovation work will be put to tender this fall and must be finished by late 2016.