The majority of 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. New offerings such as car and bike sharing, as well as measures such as setting up green zones are helping to reduce CO2 emissions. However, these alone are not enough to achieve the climate targets set by the global community in the Paris climate accord. Smart city concepts provide opportunities for additional, urgently needed efficiency improvements. In this context, Deutsche Telekom offers various solutions of its own as well as products developed jointly with partners. These include the parking app Park & Joy that shortens the time spent looking for a parking spot, smart street lighting that lowers electricity consumption, or connected waste containers that help avoid waste pickup when the containers are empty.
Starting with one of our first Smart City projects, “T-City” Friedrichshafen, our activities in this field have continued to develop. In 2016 we joined the mySMARTLife EU initiative, in 2017 we established the European Smart Solutions Center, and in 2018 we launched the cross-segment initiative Leveraged Smart Cities with the goal of combining our activities in this field. We have already supported the implementation of Smart City solutions in 18 cities in 10 European countries.
Partnership with the smart city program of the United Nations
In 2018 we entered into a partnership with the United Smart Cities program of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The program has been running since 2014 and connects existing smart city activities across the globe. It helps cities and other players work together, share solution concepts and drive forward smart city projects. It will thus, among other things, make a contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We support the program with our expertise in networking and smart solutions.
Digital Cities and Regions: working together on challenges
Together with the German Association of Towns and Municipalities we launched the Digital Cities & Regions initiative in the spring of 2018. The goal of the project is to jointly advance digitalization in municipalities and develop intelligent solutions. The top priority in this is to improve the quality of life and benefits for the local citizens. More than 23 cities and communities were involved in the development work. In the future, we plan to look at individual aspects of a digital city and develop specific solutions at quarterly Design Sprint meetings.
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-Holstein and Volkswagen. The project is being funded as part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 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).
Digital City Darmstadt
In June 2017, Darmstadt won the Digital City contest. The aim of the competition, organized by Bitkom, is to create a model digital city in German and Europe. Darmstadt won out against the competition and since then has implemented various solutions in connection with its #Digitalstadt Darmstadt program to make the city more sustainable, easier on the environment and more livable. Deutsche Telekom is providing support, among other things, with networking solutions, sensors to measure air quality, intelligent parking sensors and infrastructure for operating autonomous trams.
Smart City Bonn
In Bonn, we began connecting street lighting and waste containers with intelligent sensors and measuring air quality at the end of 2017. The street lamps can 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 needs to be replaced. On average, 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.
Smart Cities app
By 2022, Germany must provide online access for all standard administrative services such as driver’s license or passport documents – as required by the online access law. Deutsche Telekom and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities are helping local administrative authorities with the development and implementation of digital services. These should be as simple, citizen-friendly and standardized as possible.
The city of Monheim am Rhein laid the foundation in 2018 when it commissioned Deutsche Telekom to develop the Monheim Pass. The app bundles digital services for the public sector, such as adjusting registration details or applying for a driver’s license and, in the future, will also enable the use of mobility solutions such as car and bike sharing, for example. The app also provides information on local recreational activities.
Developer community for smart cities and municipalities
At the Mobile World Congress telecommunications fair in February 2019 Deutsche Telekom called on cities and municipalities to join a developer community for the Smart Cities app. After all: Challenges such as scarce resources, legal requirements and ongoing operations are easier to overcome when the community works together. Dortmund and Bonn have already joined the developer community.
Park and Joy – Digital parking management
Preventing traffic jams and reducing CO2 emissions – these goals pose major challenges to cities and communities. Digital applications can help improve traffic flows and lower harmful emissions with a small amount of administrative effort. One example of this is the “Park and Joy” app we launched in Hamburg in 2017. In 2018, users could search for around 30,000 parking spots in 45 cities with the app, thus exceeding the target of 28 cities set at IFA 2018. The app displays available parking spaces and navigates drivers to them. Users can also pay the parking fee directly on the app and even extend their parking time flexibly while on the go. Expansion of the app to numerous other cities is planned for 2019. With the help of sensors, the forecasting capacity of the algorithm to find a parking space will continue to be improved. The first sensors have already been installed and more are planned.
Hackathon: Ideas competition on life in the city
Implementing ideas for a livable city of the future – that was the topic of Hackathon: Smart Public Life in the spring of 2018 in St. Pölten, Austria. Within 24 hours, 60 developers in 13 groups created their own ideas for an innovative city. In the end, 13 ideas for minor adjustments in the city were presented that aim to simplify the life of residents in St. Pölten. The Hackathon was a great opportunity for the developers to make new contacts and enhance their skills.