Paving the Road to a Smart City
The Papagos-Cholargos Municipality Project
February 2021 Manthos Papamatthaiou,
Senior Product Marketing Engineer, ICT Services & Solutions Marketing, Intracom Telecom

Christos Raptis, PMP
Project Manager, Intracom Telecom

Intracom Telecom has proudly completed the installation and commissioning of its largest Smart City project in Papagos-Cholargos Municipality, in Athens, Greece.

Papagos-Cholargos is a suburban city in the east of Athens, with an area of 8.6 km² and a population of 44,500.

The project was awarded in September 2019 following an international open tender, commenced in May 2020, and was completed in time and within budget, in November 2020, as a result of the excellent cooperation and coordination of efforts with our partners Globiled Ltd and Globitel S.A.

Under the Energy Service Contract scheme, the union of the above companies has undertaken the implementation and 12 years maintenance of all the smart cities systems and software.

The project in numbers

5,372 new lights installed

€880,000 savings from power reduction*

64,800 m2 free Wi-Fi coverage

6,154 tons less CO2 emissions*

228 smart lighting group controllers

162 smart parking spaces

*Calculated for a 12-year period
Energy Savings - The ESCO Model

The Energy Service Contract scheme gives the opportunity to municipalities and large facility operators who wish to avoid CapEx, to proceed in major energy saving interventions at literally zero cost. In the case of Papagos, Intracom Telecom undertook the effort and cost of all the design, procurement, installation and 12-years operation and maintenance of the system, being compensated by a share of the value of the achieved power savings in the municipal outdoor lighting network.

The poor condition of the existing lighting system along with the careful selection of the most suitable and efficient LED streetlights available, resulted in astonishing savings of 82%, which corresponds to a reduction of 5,356 GWh and 6,154 tons of CO2 emissions annually. The city already benefits ~€880,000 annually from reduced power bills; part of these savings are used to compensate the union both for the initial investment and for the 12-years operation and maintenance services.

An important extra benefit for the city is the fact that it is relieved from all the maintenance works for the duration of the contract, therefore all the corresponding human and financial resources can be re-allocated at will.

Project Scope

The project consists of three smart city applications, the IoT platform and the maintenance software.

Smart Lighting

The city street lighting had deteriorated to a quite problematic condition following decades of poor maintenance. The detailed design, conducted by Globiled Ltd, according to the strict standards of ΕΝ 13201:2015, started with the recording of all the city lighting network characteristics, including topology, power distribution and control equipment, down to each and every installed bracket, luminaire and bulb. The calculations and simulations that followed revealed an impressive power saving potential, while improving light intensity and distribution characteristics.

Legacy lights, consisting of high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (HID) lamps, varying from 23W up to 1,000W each, consumed vast amounts of energy and delivered inadequate lighting performance, posing a danger both for pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

Within just six months, 5,372 luminaires have been substituted, with high efficiency Globiled LED ones. Note that white light sources, such as the LED used, have been shown to double driver peripheral vision and improve driver brake reaction time by at least 25%. Showcasing unique environmental sensitivity, special care was taken, altering the initial design and installing special orange color (2,000oK) streetlights in the streets adjacent to the protected area of mountain Ymittos, in order not to disturb local wild fauna.

All the smart lighting infrastructure operation is wirelessly monitored, logged and managed by the uiTOP™ Unified IoT platform, which also records the power consumption and automatically detects malfunctions.

Smart Parking

Intracom Telecom installed 162 parking spot IoT sensors, much more than the 100 requested in the RfP, with no additional cost for the city, in order to maximize the effect of the application. Several installation sites were evaluated in cooperating with the city authorities, ending with the selection of both a big part – 1,040m – of a major city avenue and a municipal open space parking with a capacity of 25 parking spots. Special care was taken in the redesign of the open space parking, to improve both the internal traffic and the capacity, resulting in 36 parking spots including two special spaces for people with disabilities.

A very reliable and trustworthy vendor (Urbiotica from Spain) supplied the underground spot sensors along with 8 repeaters and 2 gateways. The mesh network design was tailored to the specific local conditions, tested and optimized to provide the required redundancy and reliability.

Free Public Wi-Fi

Twelve outdoor access points (AP) were installed in five areas of high citizen traffic, like the city hall area, public squares and sports fields. Detailed survey and preliminary study was conducted in no less than 12 candidate sites prior to the final selection, in cooperation with the city authorities, of the application areas. The selected hardware was the highly reliable and configurable outdoor access points AP-375 of Aruba. Special care was given to the selection and design of the cabinets that house the supplementary equipment (routers, PoE injectors etc.) in order to ensure maximum reliability in outdoor harsh conditions with minimal maintenance needs.

Internet connectivity is supplied by wired VDSL connections, whose cost is undertaken by Intracom Telecom for the whole duration of the contract. The public Wi-Fi access network cover a total of more than 64,800m2, and is already serving hundreds of citizens and visitors every day.

uiTOP™ Ηardware Infrastructure

The top class characteristics of Intracom Telecom's uiTOP™ IoT platform defined the specifications of the relevant hardware. The use of dedicated servers was decided following a detailed cost analysis of the cloud alternative. The highest security and reliability standards, imposed by Intracom Telecom’s best practices and not from the RfP requirements, dictated the use of redundant, quality hardware in a highly secure environment.

In order to ensure maximum reliability and performance, the uiTOP™ hardware was installed in Intracom Telecom premises in Peania. A state of the art server room was selected, featuring double power supply supported with UPS and emergency power generator, double internet connectivity, enhanced dual climate control, fire detection and suppression systems and access control.

The servers, firewalls, switches and all the hardware used were from top class vendors and were all connected in cluster so as to ensure uninterrupted operation in case of any single failure.

uiTOP™ unified IoT platform

To provide a complete solution a platform has been installed that collects, processes and performs extensive analysis of data received from different type of sensors currently including Wi-Fi, parking & lighting. The platform is cloud native, micro service, and serverless based. The ultimate goal of the uiTOP™ platform is the improvement of the Quality of Life and the creation of a measurable benefit for the citizens and the businesses of the Municipality, without administrative burden of the executives of the Municipality.

The platform provides a dashboard where the overall picture of the Municipality operations will be captured in an intelligible and comprehensible way on a single screen, in order to minimize the operational complexity between the services of the Municipality and to assist the decision makers in the database of "real-live" data.

The ability to communicate with various external software, such as AIMMS, CMMS etc., through APIs (Application Programming Interface) increases the possibilities, as well as the quality of the provided information. In this way, the Municipality has the opportunity to make the appropriate decisions and/or to take actions based on the prevailing conditions at any given time. Both the maps and the generated reports can be customized and expanded according to Municipality needs.

Unique Project Management Challenges

Various challenges had to be addressed within the project. The association of three companies jointly implemented the works, being supervised by an independent consultant appointed by the Municipality. At the same time, in the daily life of the project, there had to be close cooperation with the municipality monitoring committee, supervising the implementation process. All the above factors had the inevitable consequence of complex communication channels that had to be established between all the involved parties.

The issue of communication was also exacerbated by the special conditions created by the pandemic crisis. It was crucial for all parties to handle all the problems that arose from remote working and other restrictions, such as delays from suppliers. The project execution phase required additional procedures and great attention in daily communication. The adjustments had to be made swiftly, with an effort from all involved parties. Note that, although it was a major concern, no time extension was requested due to the special COVID-19 circumstances.

In addition, quality, cost and time were crucial factors, which despite all adversities and difficulties, were all improved in comparison with the initial design.

Next Steps

The project brought unprecedented challenges which were transformed to valuable experience in all the fields of design, implementation and management of projects with high technical complexity, involvement of many parties and strict time constrains. It now constitutes a showcasing live reference given its position in Athens, quite close to Intracom Telecom’s headquarters. Experience was capitalized and shall be immediately exploited in upcoming smart city projects both in Greece and abroad.

Intracom Telecom, following its early involvement in the sector, has developed the most comprehensive and technologically advanced portfolio of integrated Smart City solutions.

Check our Smart City solution portfolio at