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Comprehensive Ecosystem View for Smart City Development
Teppo Rantanen, Executive Director, Tampereen Kaupunki
What smart city is to me and how we have defined it in my home city Tampere, is a citizen-first resilient city using latest technology to help improve everyday life of our citizens. This means we are looking through the lens of our citizens as to how we can better use technology and new processes in our city ecosystem.
Our city ecosystem is consisting of companies (big and small, global and local, established and start-ups), universities and other schools, research institutions, public sector organizations (local and state) as well as civic organizations (third sector). We have defined six focus areas (verticals) as follows: Smart industry, Smart infrastructure and buildings, Smart health, Smart mobility, Smart education and Smart government. Crossing as horizontals, we have defined AI and analytics, Connectivity and Safety and security.
As part of our holistic approach, we have been keen to identify new technologies that can help us in various sectors to move the smart city initiative forward. First, we wanted to emphasize the importance of connectivity, and enhance and promote Wi-Fi, 5G, NB-IoT and other technologies. Second, 5G networks now in the city make number of pilots and tests more possible than before. We have also been actively promoting City-IoT and the use of it with, for example, street-lighting, trash bins and other sensors. Robotics has been part of our technology strategy, we have used robots doing interviews for all unemployed, and teaching kids in schools in both languages and mathematics. AI has been utilized in 15 projects of our Smart Tampere 70+ pilot projects with great success, including smart mobility themes like Mobility as a Service, traffic lights, way-finding pilots, and smart indoor parking.
One key element to make this successful is to offer different kind of platforms for testing and pilots, where companies and city can join forces. Examples of these are our new modern Wtram, new multi-purpose arena and our Hiedanranta district.
The key to succeed is looking the holistic big picture first and then understand how this will shape the development to become a smart city
The tramway will change our mobility ecosystem fundamentally. That is why both companies and the city are combining efforts to ensure that the ecosystem will be efficiently geared to benefit from the tramway.
Also supplementary construction and land development is planned along the tramway. So the tramway will offer a perfect testing ground for smart mobility, smart building and smart infrastructure solutions. There are already plans for the new ticket and passenger information systems, robotic buses and city bikes for connection traffic, camera and information window/glass technology amongst others. Number of companies have joined this initiative to build the smartest tram.
Together with the tram initiative, a whole new concept of way finding in the city has been developed using multi-purpose screens, AR/VR technologies and sensors, including outdoor and indoor location services and geofencing.
Finland’s largest multi-purpose arena is being built in the heart of the city on top of rail tracks. In this new arena for concerts, sports, events, a combination of hotel, shopping centre, offices, and housing will give unique opportunity to try new technologies. One specific area is technology related to safety and security on large public events having thousands of people. Camera detection, people flow movement and sensors will be part of these technologies where arena will give a platform, when it becomes ready also in 2021.
Another example of opening smart opportunities and involving a wide variety of participants is an old pulp factory area Hiedanranta right on the shore of Lake Näsijärvi. It is being built into a sustainable and innovative residential area that will offer housing for 25,000 residents and jobs for 10,000 people.
A whole new neighborhood has really no limits on possible smart city solutions. At the moment the experiments vary from paper mill sludge research and sludge mass stabilization testing to Finland’s largest dry toilet system and a circular economy concept that can be scaled to other city districts. New energy innovations will actually make this whole area not only carbon neutral but actually absorb more carbon than the consumption. The tramway will also reach the area in the 2020’s with all its opportunities for mobility solutions.
A smart city ecosystem can bring a lot of opportunities for using new technologies in a meaningful way, not only pilots but also scaling up solutions to be used more broadly and around the world.