GDL Smart City Living Labs network

Victor M. Larios


Figure 1In September 2014, as part of the strategy for developing the Guadalajara Smart City and to create an environment of innovation, the state government and its ministry of innovation, science and technology requested IEEE Guadalajara section with their local working groups in smart cities to support the creation of a Living Labs network.

One of the first steps for a smart city is to create different networks of sensors and actuators to feed the city open data repositories. The gathered data from sensors will be later analyzed in order to identify, characterize, optimize the city operations and properly control the different actuators in order to prepare a pull of local talent and to support an environment of innovation mixing the government requirements with those of the industry, academy and citizens. Creating a living labs network appeared to be one of the first steps of such an endeavor. Moreover, in October 2014 during the first IEEE Smart Cities of the Future kick-off meeting held in Guadalajara city, with the participation of IEEE experts, a set of roadmaps were outlined for the development of key technical areas of smart cities. Those roadmaps established the creation of working groups for Guadalajara with the purpose of driving the achievement of outlined goals and milestones. The plans already envisioned the creation of local living labs with the intention to introduce new technologies and create opportunities to interact, experiment and secure the smart city environment.

By definition, a living lab is an open innovation environment centered on users to test concepts and ideas on real scenarios with multidisciplinary research teams. One concern for the city government was to connect entrepreneurs, mature industry, academy and citizens in the smart city development process. Creating a living labs network in the city could deal with previous government concerns when looking at related successful stories around the world. In addition, before deploying the technological innovative solutions identified for the smart city, existing public policies may allow, regulate and support innovations. In many cases, such public policies do not even exist or must be adapted. The living labs network initiative in the city could serve to test, adapt, develop the right public policies and regulations for the different smart city technologies as well as innovative solutions.

Figure 2

GDL Smart City: leveraging innovation through living labs.

The first step was to create a call for participation in order to collect different living lab proposals from the industry, academy, entrepreneurs, and civil society as main actors, as living labs must leverage innovation for the city and foster partnership among the various actors. Moreover, as expected for a first project to integrate a living labs network in the city, each proposal should state the level of innovation, the social impact and the related specialized human resources including professionals, researchers, students and entrepreneurs. With a schedule of one year starting in January 2015, an initial infrastructure and exhibition area should be identified; metrics for the success should be established as well as the appropriate support to guarantee sustainability of the living lab for consequent years. All requirements have been worked along with the local leaders of the IEEE Smart Cities working groups at GDL.

The call for participation was opened on September 15th and closed on past November 7th. Then projects were submitted integrating initiatives from four universities, one from the city government and five from the local industry and entrepreneurs.

An IEEE GDL Section group of volunteers from the smart cities working groups proposed an evaluation system for the submitted projects and supported the entire process. As a final result, six main projects were selected. The project from the city government was related to the development of a City Farm in cooperation with the MIT Media Lab as a solution to create a sustainable offer of food in the city. A consortium of nine companies and entrepreneurs proposed a sensor network in the city to detect mobility patterns. The local universities proposed different living labs for smart buildings, sensor networks for environmental metrics, smart parking slots, smart security with video surveillance, and smart logistics in the city. All the selected projects were announced on December 2nd, starting operations in January 2015. The city government will make the network of living labs official and should work along with the projects to develop the proper regulations and public policies to guarantee success in the implementation of final solutions for the smart city. Also, institutions as well as government will collaborate to find the required financial fundings to consolidate the living labs. The IEEE Smart Cities Initiative’s local GDL groups will go hand to hand to ensure that the living lab experience will create a knowledge base to be shared and connected to international communities to enhance the value of innovation and to support the pull of talent required to support the smart cities of the future.

We expect this initiative will leverage GDL as a smart city and consolidate the ecosystem connecting the industry, government, entrepreneurs, academy and citizens towards innovation, all contributing to the first phase of the living labs network. The IEEE Smart Cities initiative has become a reference and landmark for quality for the Guadalajara city government and local technological ecosystem.



Victor M. LariosVictor M. Larios has received his PhD and a DEA (French version of a MSc program) in Computer Science at the Technological University of Compiègne, France and a BA in Electronics Engineering at the ITESO University in Guadalajara, Mexico. He works at the University of Guadalajara (UDG) holding a Full Professor-Researcher position at the Department of Information Systems and he is the director of the Smart Cities Innovation Center at CUCEA UDG Campus. Besides, Dr. Victor M. Larios has been leading projects focusing his research on data analytics and visualization, serious games and smart cities. Since July 2013, Dr. Victor M. Larios, as volunteer, is the Guadalajara City Local Leader for the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative. In addition, Dr. Victor M. Larios is an IEEE Senior member with a valued membership of 23 years. Contact Dr. Larios at


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