Big Data and Cities

It is an amazing time for the cloud to offer incredible opportunities to enhance the power of big data. More and more governments realise the power of open data and allow developers to access useful information about a city in order to create new solutions to a variety of issues.

Large cities often confront themselves with traffic congestions, an impressive number of tourists or very busy times such as festivals, when the entire city’s infrastructure is extremely hard to manage. A lot of companies now focus on analysing big data, defining patterns of what people are doing or intend to do in order to do public good. There are dozens of issues analysing big data can address from improving citizens’ quality of life to uncovering investment opportunities or promoting public safety and health. Below is an incredible example of what Microsoft is doing to help Barcelona’s city council manage such a large and renowned tourist attraction.

I’ll keep you posted on many other ways in which the cloud technology will open new perspectives in the technology world. We have seen last week at Microsoft’s Build Conference 2014 in San Francisco just how much developers can gain from cloud services. Stay tuned!


Barcelona, Spain

Three days in Barcelona – that is all you need to fall in love with the beautiful Catalan capital, a pure expression of sound, music, colour, life and creativity. I felt a really strong connection with this city, as it reminded me of home, of a subtle latin vibe. I felt complete.

The soft sand and chilly sea breeze helped me recover from missing my beloved Black Sea. The friendly and inviting people reminded me how warm and helpful are people from the south. The guitar music playing in the background of Parc Guell sounded heavenly and went straight to my heart.

Of course, I believe that a true trip to Barcelona would only be complete by watching a match on the Camp Nou stadium. The game I was lucky to catch during my stay was between FC Barcelona and Osasuna, a game from the La Liga championship. This was the first football game I’ve been to in my life. And I am sure it was pretty .. Awesome!! As soon as I saw the huge stadium I was extremely thrilled, taking hundreds of photographs, acting like crazy. As soon as I finally cooled down a little bit, the game was just about to start. And there was no time for cooling down, except from the 15 minutes half break. Messi scored his 369th and 370th goal for Barcelona just in front of my eyes, becoming the best scorer this team has ever had. The whole stadium went crazy, singing all types of songs, making waves or shouting different players’ names as loud as they possibly could. It was a beautiful game, although Osasuna represented no threat at all for the catalans. It only made them stand out and allowed them to score no less than 7 goals. The experience was, however, totally unique. And the fans, well, the fans amplified everything by 1000.

Returning to another spirit of Barcelona, I can say I was completely amazed by an authentic catalan experience in the Gracia area. A bohemian neighbourhood, it preserves the true spirit of Barcelona. It is a place for creativity, relaxation, culture and colour. Small cafes or local restaurant offer you the best selection of dishes, carefully prepared. I enjoyed an amazing Sangria with the traditional seafood paella. It was simply delicious. Could not be anyway better.

Definitely another thrilling experience was the trip with the Vespa. Barcelona has an amazingly fluid traffic, compared to other large European cities and this allowed novices like us perform great with a Vespa throughout the entire city and not only. We also managed to reach one of Barcelona’s highest points and that is Tribidabo, which offers a breathtaking view over the entire city.

I will leave you with some photos I’ve taken and I truly recommend you to visit this wonderful place which has so much to offer than the renowned tourist attractions. I will surely come back to explore it again and again and again. It convinced me 100%.

Camp Nou

Camp Nou

Before the match

Before the match

Iniesta training before the match

Iniesta training before the match

Barcelona training

Barcelona players after training

Before the match

Before the match

Barcelona - Osasuna

Barcelona – Osasuna

Messi

Messi

View from Mirablau Cafe

View from Mirablau Cafe

Unique Gaudi Architecture on Passaig de Gracia

Unique Gaudi Architecture on Passaig de Gracia

Beautiful boat in Barceloneta Port

Beautiful boat in Barceloneta Port

Barcelona's Beach

Barcelona’s Beach

In front of Sagrada Familia

In front of Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sculpture on Sagrada Familia

Sculpture on Sagrada Familia

TIbidabo Amusement Park

Tibidabo Amusement ParkĀ 

Tibidabo Amusement Park

Tibidabo Amusement Park

Hiring a Vespa for the day

Renting a Vespa for the day – best idea ever!