Sabugueiro is one of the highest villages of Portugal. It is a parish located in the Municipality of Seia at Serra da Estrela in the Region Centro of Portugal. This village is also part of the Network of Mountain Villages. It is a touristic area visited by thousands of people each year, specially during winter as a holiday destination. It has a very special scenery, stunning mountain landscapes, cultural heritage with hundreds of years and ancestral traditions. Serra da Estrela is a Natural Park, a region characterized by mountain economy, where exist natural values associated with altitude, many of them with an exclusive character. Sabugueiro is called the first Smart Mountain Village. It benefited from the implementation of a pilot project with the support of Vodafone Foundation. The installation of fiber-optic enable the adoption of and technological solutions, contributing to improve the community's quality of life and leverage environmental improvements and economic development in the rural area. Connectivity: installation of 12Km with fibre-optic cable; 400 termination points with last generation fibre optic (including buildings and local businesses). It was a challenge, as the nearest place with fiber optics was 7km away and far from the main roads. As such, the work had to be carried out without the aid of heavy machinery. In addition, the work had to be planned in function of the cold and the snow.
Through the installation of technological solutions, the project objectives were to:
- make the village of Sabugueiro a showcase of good practices and innovation in terms of environmental sustainability, creative economy, urbanism, mobility and new technologies;
- value the potentialities and the socio-economic assets of mountain areas and rural populations, anticipating the future technological needs that inhabitants increasingly have in terms of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. The project is characterized by a holistic perspective, integrating interventions in several areas benefiting inhabitants, visitors and tourists. Always respecting the traces of the village and its surroundings, the Vodafone Foundation and its partners have implemented functional and utilitarian technology in areas as diverse as Energy Efficiency, Mobility, Health and Water management. On the ground, there was the installation of M2M (Machine to Machine) and IoT (Internet of Things) solutions.




mountains, remote, sparsely populated areas

Degree of urbanization


population of 405

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Village Solutions

Water management efficiency in water supply

A telemanagement system was installed that allowed for increased operational efficiency, through the monitoring and control of the various variables of the water supply in real time, such as the volume of residual water flowing into the effluent treatment station. The centralization of all information provided better management of resources and improved the quality of service provided to residents. With the implementation of this system it was possible to significantly reduce the response time in cases of anomalies, the reduction of losses caused by leaks and the increase of the life of the network due to the accuracy of the data. This system led to an improvement in the service provided to customers, by reducing logistical and human resource costs, as well as reducing maintenance costs (the timely detection of anomalies made operations more effective and efficient).
In terms of technical and operational management, the system has the main advantages of allowing real-time treatment of network operating parameters, thus ensuring greater stability of water quality even in adverse conditions, greater safety conditions and a reduction in impact. environmental damage caused by leaks and ruptures that were difficult to identify.
In terms of economic management, the system has the main advantages of ensuring the development of the service in the best conditions for profitability, the optimization of human resources, materials and energy costs, as well as the rationalization of subsequent investments.
The result obtained points to a reduction in the real losses of the water distribution network in the order of 12%.
The system implemented in Sabugueiro served as a lever for the migration of the monitoring and control process of the various variables of the water supply process to other locations in the municipality where water management is the responsibility of the Municipality of Seia.


e-Health services

The project created and installed a remote Intellicare system to monitor vital signs in the village's retirement home. The measurements are made through a blood pressure and blood sugar meter and a digital scale. The data measured is sent to the monitoring tablet via Bluetooth, then subsequently transmitted, in an encrypted and secure manner, to a server and stored in a database. The monitoring data are sent through a tablet using 3G module. The data are published on a web portal, where they can be consulted by doctors at the Seia Health Care Centre.
Initially, the primary care app was not easy to use. Adjustments were needed (e.g., alteration in the buttons’ size - which were very small -, and decrease of the amount of text to be more intuitive) to reach the final version. It took two years to be approved by the National Data Protection Commission because it was an innovative network of primary care. To use correctly the innovative system, the City council provided training actions to employees of the private social security institutions and other entities involved in the project in a method of “training trainers”. These employees offered, then, “hands-on” training to end-users (make use of the tablet and procedures for the remote monitoring of vital signs).

Living | Mobility & connectivity | Services

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency in domestic and public buildings . Installation of 40 consumption measuring devices covering a total of approximately 10% of the domestic buildings and the village's Senior Residence (Charity Association). These devices provide users a detailed real-time monitoring and accumulated data on electricity consumption. The monitoring and control of energy consumption is done from any device with internet access (PC, smartphone and tablets). By using the Enerbook platform, users can visualize and control the consumption of energy and receive advice on how to reduce it. The system also allows to know, in real time, the energy profile and the ecological footprint of the houses, identifying out of the ordinary consumption, as well as enabling the early adoption of corrective measures to promote efficiency and reduce the energy bill.
The measurement and monitoring of consumption is an essential tool to know where and how much energy is being spent and, consequently to adopt strategic and resource rationalizing behaviors. The access to energy consumption data led to change of habits and optimization. It increased energy savings of 20% in domestic buildings and of 41% in the public building.

Energy efficiency in public lighting As a pilot project, in a first phase in August 2013, in the historic area of the village of Sabugueiro, 24 high-pressure sodium vapor fixtures were replaced with LED technology. The lanterns combine a traditional design with the most advanced LED technology, aimed not only to achieve levels of light quality but also to reduce operating costs associated with the entire infrastructure.
In parallel and in cooperation with EDP (Electricity of Portugal), consumption monitoring equipment was installed. This equipment has shown a daily energy consumption reduction of 8.8% compared to the previous lighting system. This initiative has contributed to leverage other initiatives that are now materialized in a comprehensive Municipal Energy Efficiency Plan that covers the entire municipality.


Contact Information

City Council of Seia – Office of Management of Special Projects and Community Funds,

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