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13 March 2019

Cologne Blog #10 : Lessons learned on Open urban Platforms & mobility stations

The GrowSmarter partners in Cologne are very pleased that they can already say that the goals of saving energy in the Stegerwaldsettlement can be achieved. There is a realistic chance that the settlement will become self-sufficient in the energy sector. To achieve the Co2 emission savings goals however, further efforts must be made.

Integrated Infrastructure: Open urban Platforms as key component for integrated SmartCity infrastructures

The implementation phase has shown that the collection and processing of data from different areas is a very sensitive issue. It is often unclear to individuals and to the community to how to deal with this issue. This resulted in a number of conclusions for the approach to data collection and compilation listed in detail in the GrowSmarter Concluding Report.

The conclusions are intended to simplify reaching a consensus for both data collectors and data owners in order to have a useable solution for all parties involved, also taking into account everyone’s rights and duties. The most important conclusion seems to be understanding the open questions on how to deal with data. What is the data’s value? What is the best way to use it? Is it possible to create a business model with the data? Is the outcome and the result of using free data a better business model or is it best to share all data for free to optimize the quality of life in a city?

We found out that the first step should be understanding how to best use the data, what to do with it as well as finding a win-win situation for all parties involved.  This means creating a so called „Use Case“:

1.    Define concretely the desired result in advance; consider known possibilities, define which data in which quality is needed, and by whom.

2.    Check the financial conditions: which costs are incurred, regularly or punctually and how can they be covered? Create a first Business Model.

3.    Clarify the legal Framework: e.g. legal requirements related to the topic, keywords: enforceable stopping bans, data protection, trade tax exemption, certified smart meter, electricity grid regulation

4.    Define and clarify technical framework conditions: which provider is used, do interfaces/prototypes already exist, is the WLAN network sufficient ? Which innovations in the near future do you have to consider?

5.    The biggest factor of all is: define and clarify the „human framework conditions”: Are the inhabitants of the desired area / or your customers open to this innovation?

These are only a few points of the overall conclusions. It clearly depends on the measure and the individual situation, but overall the most important conclusion is staying flexible and open to new findings and required adaptations - use foresight / look ahead!

Room Air monitoring: The GreenAir service

With GreenAir, Colognes project partner RheinEnergie AG offers a room air monitoring service for tenants and landlords.

Sensors will be installed in the apartments to measure temperature and humidity. The sensors have the size of a room thermostat and are not particularly noticeable. The data transmission is carried out using an innovative LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) wireless technology. Thanks to the long range, no gateway is required in the apartments and will be installed outside of the buildings.

The data is processed anonymously and made available to the tenants via an APP. GreenAir provides tenants with an air monitoring service and with reasonable ventilation and heating recommendations based on the monitoring. This will help prevent the formation of mold due to excessive humidity, lead to a better well-being and at the same time saves heating costs.

Particularly after renovation work, the humidity could rise to a critically high level in the apartments if the ventilation behaviour is not adapted. In order to support the tenants in this new situation, GreenAir offers an app for Andriod and iOS, on which the current temperature and humidity in the individual rooms is displayed, and ventilation and heating recommendations are made. Should the humidity rise above 60%, the tenant receives a push message with a ventilation recommendation. Equipped with the information aggregated in a dashboard, the landlord can supervise the condition in his buildings.

Our project partner [ui!] – the urban institute developed the technical infrastructures, the backend components and the apps for the tenants, the landlords and the technicians, who install the sensors in the flats.

Figure 1: GreenAir views for the tenants

This pictures shows two views for the tenants. The left view provides information about temperature and humidity inside the rooms and outside the building. The right view provides the recommendations what the tenants should do to improve the situation inside. At present the user interface is in German only.

Standardization Activities GrowSmarters steering group decided to put a stronger focus on standardization activities in order to ease replication and roll-out of project results to other cities. Cologne considers standardization efforts as important as well and has welcomed this decision. Together with City and industrial partners, Cologne already developed one standard during GrowSmarter, see the blog entry from June 2018[1], and the development of another one has been started in 2018. [ui!] – the urban institute is coordinating the development of the new standard “DIN SPEC 91367 Urban mobility data collection for real-time applications”. The standardisation committee consists again of cities and industrial partners and the standard will probably be available for a download free of charge at www.beuth.de in March.

GrowSmarter’s Opens mobility stations

Within GrowSmarter, the first mobility stations with all partners (RheinEnergie, KVB, Cambio and Ampido) and the combination of e-bikes and e-cars started in the district of Cologne Mülheim. Until this point there was a lot of work to do because of the complicated civil work and the cable laying. Another important fact was the installation of a switch cabinet just for the implementation of the e-bikes next to the stations. This was needed as the power units for the e-bikes don’t fit into the RheinEnergie switch cabinet. Nevertheless the whole project team did a lot of public relation (e.g. tenant events) especially near the mobility station at the Stegerwaldsiedlung.

The process for signing up for an e-bike is similar to the process for conventional bikes. The costumer can sign up for free by using the homepage www.kvb-rad.de, by using the KVB or nextbike App or register on the phone by using the nextbike costumer hotline.

After the registration and the confirming of a payment method, the costumer can rent and return the e-bikes at any of these stations mentioned above. Enough charging spots are available. The fee for renting an e-bike is 3 € for 30 minutes and 19 € for the whole day. The average distance of the e-bike is 45 km. If the costumer is an owner of the so called mobility card and uses a subscription (e.g. Job-Ticket or Mobile Pass), he can use the conventional bikes 30 minutes for free in the free-float-system. This free-float-system KVB-Rad is very popular in Cologne and covers more than 84 square kilometers on both sides of the Rhine River. To date there are more than 90.000 registered users who drove over 2,2 million kilometers in the past three years.

 

Barbara Moehlendick

Site Manager, Cologne

For the previous blog post, click here