A series of small but essential interventions will turn Naxos into first “smart island” in the worldAmazon emphasized during the presentation on Tuesday of the “Naxos, Smart Island” plan.
This is an idea proposed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to Amazon’s main shareholder Jeff Bezos, during their meeting in Antiparos in the summer of 2021, to turn the Aegean island into a “smart” island.
During the presentation on Tuesday, in which the Minister of Development participated Adonis Georgiades and the Minister of Digital Governance, Kyriakos PierrakakisAmazon officials referred to solutions for “smart” management of the island’s marinas, applications for the distribution of goods via drones in the Aegean islands, but also applications for telemedicine and high connectivity.
From today, Naxos is digitally upgraded through new infrastructures in areas such as telemedicine, smart mobility, but also through strengthening the digital skills of the inhabitants”, Mr. Pierrakakis emphasized and added that “the target is Naxos to develop into a point of reference regarding the utilization of modern technological means”.
Regarding the selection of Naxos as the starting point of the program at the international level, he said that “it is recognizing and rewarding extroversion and dynamism which has been developing in recent years. At the same time, it reflects the overall progress of Greece over the last three years both in the digitization of the state and the economy, as well as in its ability to attract large investments and innovative projects. Greece has changed its scale and this is a reality that is reflected horizontally, throughout the territory and in the daily life of every Greek woman and every Greek. “Greece is succeeding triple record: Record tourism receipts well above 2019. Record exports to reach 47 billion euros. And an all-time investment record”, noted Adonis Georgiadis in the presentation of the project
“Amazon Web Services is one of the largest companies on the planet, and what Amazon Web Services is piloting today in Naxos, in collaboration with a multitude of great companies, from large banks to large technology companies, will not only benefit the daily lives of citizens – as is obvious and we all understand – but it will be the first issue internationally from tomorrow. It will be a model for the implementation of such technologies in all the islands of the world and will advertise Naxos, the Cyclades and Greece at the ends of the earth. That’s the power of a company like Amazon Web Services. It is much more than an investment and much more than an everyday news item”, he said.
With a bunch of 17 different actionsall related to modern digital technology, Naxos is turning into a Smart Island.
Trial flights of drones have been underway for months, which are expected to transport biological material and medicines not only between different locations on Naxos, but to and from the nearby islands.
Drones will complement the already established telemedicine system, even saving lives if an emergency occurs.
At the same time, different types of drones, equipped with cameras and transmitters, will be used by the Naxos Coast Guard for the immediate control of ongoing incidents in the marine area around the island and at a distance of up to 12 km from the coast. It goes without saying that in cases of maritime accidents, the use of drones can prevent a threatened disaster.
Particularly important is the fact that the drones that will be used in the “Naxos, Smart Island” project are Greek design and construction, heavy military type and with enhanced capabilities. They cope with extreme conditions (in winds of 6-7 Beaufort, gusts up to 12 Beaufort) exceeding the specifications set by NATO for unmanned aerial vehicles of this category. The plan also foresees the upgrading of the island’s port facilities and their adaptation to the standard of the smart marina.
One is created on the island Internet of Things (IoT) circuit by placing, for example, electronic sensors in the parking spaces which are reserved exclusively for PWDs or Coast Guard vehicles. The waste bins will also be equipped with similar sensors, so that the collection and recycling process can be completely streamlined. The plan even includes the training of the island’s residents in the use of today’s digital tools in order to simplify their relationship with the Greek State and, consequently, achieve an economy in time and energy.
The whole project “Naxos – The next Greek Smart Island” is based on technical infrastructure offered by Amazon Web Services, which has undertaken the coordination of many other companies (Greek and multinationals, startups, etc.), as well as public bodies involved as partners in the implementation of the project, such as the ministries of Digital Governance, Development, Maritime and Island Policy and the Local Self-government, with the South Aegean Region and the Municipality of Naxos, etc. Among other things, the project in Naxos is planned from the beginning with the logic of the model, since the broader perspective of the plan is the inclusion of many other Greek regions, island and non-island, in the Smart Island/Smart City category, etc.
From the Mitsotakis and Bezos meeting to implementation
The initial idea for Naxos was discussed during Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ informal meeting with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in Antiparos last summer. Then, its Greek section Amazon Web Services (AWS) undertook the investigation of the implementation prospects and now its staff has already completed the design of the architecture for the whole project, a process that is extremely sensitive but also fundamental in terms of the further implementation of the project.
Moreover, the operation of most of the planned smart actions in Naxos is based on the services and know-how of AWS – especially in cloud computing technology.
In the company of spouses, partners and famous friends such as Tom Hanks and Diane von Furstenberg, the Greek prime minister and the American croisos discussed, among other things, the possibility of creating a model center of digital culture in the Aegean. In the next phase, the former US ambassador to Greece, Jeffrey Pyatt, had a meeting with the general manager of the European Public Sector of Amazon Web Services, Cameron Brooks, also present were the senior executives of the Greek department of AWS.
Mr. Pyatt conveyed the concept of “Smart Island”, focusing on AWS’s involvement with drones for various uses around the world: from maintaining wind turbines in hard-to-reach places to spraying agricultural crops in different parts of the world. Ultimately, after considering alternatives, AWS concluded that Naxos is the ideal point of the Greek territory. AWS then began systematic contacts with the Ministries of Digital Governance and Maritime and Island Policy, as well as Deloitte. The company, which operates in a very wide range of business services, proved to be a key factor in accelerating the design and implementation of the project.
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