URBANAGE established a solution to foster the adoption of disruptive technologies (i.e. Digital Twin, Big Data, simulation and Artificial Intelligence) towards evidence-based decision-making in urban planning. This solution is composed of several components, which are organised in layers, whose mutual relations are defined in the architecture of the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform. URBANAGE Ecosystem platform offers an integrated environment for i) monitoring, planning, and evaluating the impact achieved by measures implemented, ii) correcting or preventing unwanted results, iii) including into the decision-making loop all the needed stakeholders, especially older people who have traditionally been excluded from urban planning decisions.
The above picture shows the current version of the architecture as the result of three year of investigations about Digital Twin and disruptive technologies in the field of urban planning for more age-friendly cities. It encompasses nine logical layers, which are (from the bottom):
Connectors: the connection points between the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform and the connected data sources (i.e. Data Source box, which includes data repositories, legacy IT systems, IoT devices, etc.).
Data Management: functionalities to manage the data collected by the platform and needed for the provision of the high-level services of the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform.
Data Management API: it acts as the unified point of access to the functionalities and data offered by the Data Management layer.
URBANAGE Middleware: it allows the high-level capabilities of the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform to access the managed data, as well as to orchestrate processes which involve different components of the platform as well.
Data Modelling and Integration: functionalities to transform, model and integrate the data managed by the platform.
Big Data Analytics, AI Algorithms and Simulation tools: it offers a series of Descriptive (i.e. what happened in the past), Predictive (i.e. what is likely to occur in the future), and Prescriptive (i.e. what actions are to be taken) analytics, and AI-based algorithms (to support decision-making processes for urban planners and policymakers, to guide older adults, etc.)
Digital Twin System: it encompasses the different capabilities offered by the whole platform, integrating and making them accessible from a 3D globe interface, to support the users in better understanding the status of the urban environment, and in better urban planning.
UI: it offers the UIs of different components of the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform that requires user interactions.
Security & Identity Manager: it offers functionalities to manage users, their role, access permissions, etc.
The founding pillars for the design of the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform architecture are European initiatives promoting digital transformation of cities; among them, the Living-in.eu movement.
As a matter of fact, URBANAGE considered five of its principles, towards the integration of disruptive technologies into a modular and scalable ICT ecosystem for the public sector, data-driven decision-making, and age-friendly cities:
Citizen-Centric Approach, City-Led Approach at EU Level, and The City as a Citizen-Driven and Open Innovation Ecosystem - the end users' functionalities and capabilities of the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform have been identified and designed leveraging cooperation and co-creation with relevant stakeholders (i.e. public servants and older adults).
Technologies as Key Enablers and Interoperable Digital Platforms With Open Standards, APIs and Shared Data Models - the architecture is conceived to be modular and adaptable, with aim to support the digital transformation of cities, and make it simple for the cities to integrate the URBANAGE Ecosystem platform (or part of its capabilities) into their ICT systems; this is also possible through the relevant initiatives (such as Smart Data Models), and the adoption of open-source solutions with a strong user community behind (e.g. Orion Context Broker from FIWARE Foundation) and European standards (e.g. ETSI NGSI-LD and DCAT-AP).
The complete (and consolidated) details about the architecture, its technological components, and related connections are reported in the deliverable “D5.6 System Architecture Final”, that will be soon available among published deliverables.