The European Shopping Center Where Technology’s Future Is Being Tracked Today

A shopping center on the fringes of Ljubljana, Slovenia resembles those in virtually any European city. But it’s different in one significant way: BTC City, as the development is called, is part of an experiment aimed at changing how we live.

The 117-acre agglomeration of shops, restaurants, office buildings, a movie theater, and waterpark houses a huge network of sensors and video cameras. The point is for the 18-month-old development to serve as a testing ground for emerging technology.

AV Living Lab, the name for the digital ecosystem, has managed 30 tests within the shopping center for companies such as Google and Toyota that are hoping to create cutting-edge technology. But to do so, they must understand how real people go about their daily lives.