Watch: Smart parking project planned for Luqa

A smart parking pilot project is planned for Luqa.

This was announced during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Government and Vodafone Malta. Vodafone Malta chief executive office Sonia Hernandez said that since the iBins were started 700 bins were deployed around the island.

Miguela Xuereb

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation Silvio Schembri and Vodafone CEO Sonia Hernandez on Tuesday afternoon at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Parliamentary secretary Schembri explained that the smart parking project will see sensors installed in parking bays and a free app which will indicate to users which parking spots are available in real-time.

When asked how the locality was chosen, Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation Silvio Schembri, said that Vodafone’s headquarters are based in Luqa, and which is how the choice of the locality came about. He added that the project will be eventually extended to other localities.

“Obviously when you have pilot projects you need to start somewhere, and Luqa was therefore chosen,” Schembri concluded.

Schembri added that this project will contribute to the reduction of emissions, and users will avoid traffic congestion and fuel costs as they will be directed to the next available spot.

Vodafone CEO Sonia Hernandez in her comment to explained that first of all the memorandum of understanding will help to increase the awareness of disruptive technologies citing IOT (internet of things) as an example. Moreover, Hernandez explained Vodafone Malta will be cooperating more on blockchain, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

She further explained that secondly the memorandum of understanding will also see internship opportunities opening up for students so that they may get a hands on experience. Hernandez said that the most important aspect of the memorandum of understanding would be to bring these disruptive technologies to implementation so that society would value such technologies.

Hernandez cited Vodafone’s role in deploying the iBins which are being used by many. She explained that by bringing connectivity to the bins, people could see where is the nearest bin and whether it is full. She added 800 bins have been deployed in Malta and Gozo. Hernandez said that through the statistics collected by their partner, it has been shown that the amount of plastic that has been recycled has doubled.

“Bringing disruptive technologies to traditional industries, that everyone would resonate with, I think is the best way to prove the value of how technology is going to improve people’s life,” she concluded.

Vodafone CEO Europe Cluster Serpil Timuray during her address asked whether Malta could act as a test bed for innovation. She observed that products designed in Malta could be scaled from here to bigger markets. Timuray highlighted the importance of being recognised as a partner of choice, and added that everyone should be included in this digital transformation.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat also addressed the press conference during which the memorandum of understanding was signed. He spoke about the use of technology to improve people’s lives.

Video: Miguela Xuereb