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  • 2017 Corporate Responsibility Report

Smart cities: Innovative solutions for smart urban spaces

The majority of the worldwide CO2 emissions come from cities – an effect that is being intensified by increasing urbanization. At the same time, cities can also be the driving force behind and the origin of sustainable solutions. Deutsche Telekom wants to use innovative solutions to help bring about sustainable transformation of cities. Some examples of this are intelligent, energy-saving street lights and connected waste containers that measure their fill level and report this to the public utility company. In order to bundle these approaches, we opened a European Smart Solutions Center (ESC) headquartered in Budapest in 2017. The ESC advises cities on the use of EU funding and develops Smart City solutions and platforms. What's more, we participate in numerous international projects on this subject. We have already installed Smart City solutions in 18 cities in 10 European countries.

Our contribution to the SDGs

mySMARTLife in Hamburg
The city of Hamburg, together with the cities of Nantes and Helsinki, were awarded the EU lighthouse project mySMARTLife in 2016. Numerous measures intended to launch the Smart City transformation are slated to be implemented by 2021.

The core topics of these lighthouse projects are increased use of renewable energies, climate-friendly living and environmentally friendly mobility. For example, use of electric vehicles will be promoted in the Hamburg-Bergedorf project region. Intelligent street lighting will also be employed. All projects involve active citizen participation. The Hamburg project proposal was backed by a total of 14 partners, including the borough of Bergedorf, HafenCity University, the HAW Hamburg university of applied sciences, electricity grid operator Stromnetz Hamburg, public transport operator Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Schleswig-Holstein and Volkswagen. The project is subsidized as part of the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation program. The project results will be compared to other lighthouse projects in the EU. The project will also examine which measures can be implemented in the next mySMARTLife project cities – Varna (Bulgaria), Bydgoszcz (Poland), Rijeka (Croatia) and Palencia (Spain).

Kick-off for Smart City Bonn
Bonn was added to the Smart City project as another partner city during the reporting period. In November 2017, we began connecting street lighting and waste containers with intelligent sensors and measuring air quality.

The street lamps can now be dimmed and, with the help of motion sensors, automatically become brighter  when pedestrians approach. The public utility company is also notified when a bulb is damaged or needs to be replaced. This technology saves up to 60 percent of the street lamps' operating costs. Additionally, we measure the fill level in a number of recycling containers using installed sensors. The municipal garbage service need not come for the container until it is actually full. Another sensor measures the air quality of the inner city. We also provide the associated analysis software.

PARK AND JOY – Digital park management
Preventing traffic jams and reducing CO2 emissions – these goals pose major challenges to cities and communities. Digital applications can be of help here, as they can be used to improve traffic flows and lower harmful emissions with a small amount of administrative effort. One example of this is the PARK AND JOY app, which we launched in Hamburg in October 2017. Some 100 parking spaces have been equipped with sensors there, and the plan is for this figure to increase to 11,000 within the entire inner city area by the end of 2019. This will allow the app to immediately show drivers where there are empty parking spaces and navigate them to the exact spot. What's more, users can directly pay their parking fee using the application. PARK AND JOY can be downloaded for free in app stores. Bonn, Duisburg, Dortmund, Darmstadt and Moers are also planning to introduce PARK AND JOY in 2018.

Hackathon: Idea competition on life in the city
Implementing ideas for a liveable city of the future – that was the topic of Hackathon: Smart Public Life in the fall of 2017 in Bonn. A total of 220 developers, designers and concept developers from 10 countries took part in the competition in small teams, including both professionals and amateurs. Their task was to implement their own program idea within 24 hours by using the potential of the Internet-of-Things to create a liveable, smart city of the future. The Hackathon was a great opportunity to make new contacts and enhance skills. The best teams were given the chance to refine their project idea later on in the Telekom Incubator.

Navigation stick for the visually impaired in Czech Republic
As a socially responsible company, T-Mobile Czech Republic aims to support visually impaired people. We have been cooperating with the Czech Technical University to develop a unique navigation solution for the blind. Connecting up global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and wireless data transfer networks has created one of the most advanced orientation solutions for visually impaired people. T-Mobile Czech Republic has supported the development of this navigation solution by providing connectivity in 3G img and 4G, data SIM cards and modems. The newly developed navigation stick for blind people is connected to a smartphone and the navigation center. Based on a 2G-4G app, the service enables navigation data, voice communication and images to be transferred. It also utilizes a camera for orientation in buildings where GNSS does not work. A testing phase was completed in 2017. After a redesign and various improvements, a complete prototype of a new-generation stick has been completed. This new improved stick is being tested in 2018. We plan to launch the product at the end of the year.

Smart Cities in Croatia
In May 2017, Hrvatski Telekom installed the first smart payphones in the Croatian city of Zadar. The payphones are intended to provide all the local information required by citizens and the increasing number of tourists, while they are simultaneously given a broad range of next-generation innovative ICT img services. The solution provided by the Croatian Postal Bank enables citizens to pay securely using their credit and debit cards.

The City of Rijeka, in partnership with Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Hrvatski Telekom, Smart RI, Autotrolej and Rijeka promet installed two smart bus stops for Rijeka's citizens and numerous tourists. The smart stops offer a range of functionalities for a more efficient and enjoyable experience on city transport. They represent the world's technological breakthrough to the smart cities of the future.

In collaboration with its partner EcoMobile, Hrvatski Telekom kicked-off a pilot-project for a smart electronic record system for municipal waste collection in Velika Gorica. This system will optimize business operations at the Municipal Centre VG Goričanka and bring savings for citizens. 

Smart Cities in Romania
In Bucharest, Romania, Telekom successfully rolled out the first integrated Smart City project in 2016. It combined four technologies: smart parking, WiFi img connectivity, city safety, and smart lighting, all integrated through an Internet of Things platform.

Telekom Romania launched a second Smart City project in Constanța, and a third one in Piatra Neamt, in 2017. The solutions are part of the “Smart Street” concept, and they address urban needs such as efficient lighting, public safety, internet access, efficient parking, and electrical recharging for cars. They also enable the municipalities to provide useful information for citizens in real time, and to monitor environmental factors such as air quality.

A parking lot in Constanta with 50 places was equipped with sensors that allow drivers to track the availability of parking places in real time. In addition, the municipality can monitor the level of occupancy, and based on the statistics generated make an evidence-based decision on where parking lots should be supplemented.

The pilot project in Piatra Neamt foresees implementation of several innovative components, including a smart piece of street furniture. The solar-powered park bench will enable visitors at the park to charge their mobile devices and they can connect to the Wi-Fi internet services. As in Constanta, a Smart Lighting solution has been installed that offers the ability to reduce the light output according to predefined scenarios, resulting in lower energy consumption. The project also includes implementation of a station that charges two electric cars simultaneously.