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Act responsibly. Enable sustainability.

Living well
in the city

Just imagine, you open the window of your city apartment in the morning – and instead of traffic noise and polluted air you’re greeted with fresh air and birdsong. On the way to work, traffic flows smoothly and your electric car finds a free parking spot in no time – with a charging option, of course.

SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities.

These measures are our contribution to Goal 11 of the United Nations Agenda 2030.

Back home, your apartment is preheated to a pleasant temperature. Your tomatoes on the balcony have plenty of water. You can see that the garbage has been picked up: The garbage collectors always come when the bin is full. And on your evening stroll through the park, the street lamps light up just where you are.

That’s how life in a smart city could look. Digital solutions improve the quality of life and ensure that urban life becomes more sustainable by reducing energy consumption, light and noise pollution, and lowering CO2 emissions. And it’s urgently needed, because cities are responsible for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. That’s why it’s a good thing that smart cities are not a distant vision of the future. Below, we present some exciting solutions that already exist today.

Shining smartly

At night, our cities beam thousands of meters into the night sky – and create fascinating light scenes when viewed from above. Seeing this, it’s easy to forget that the lighting for buildings and streets consumes vast amounts of energy. What’s more, artificially bright nights disturb the natural behavior of nocturnal insects, which means death for many of them. As a result, plants are not pollinated. And all that light can also have negative effects on us humans – by causing sleep disturbances, for instance. Smart light masts equipped with sensors from Deutsche Telekom can reduce the negative impacts of street lighting. They only turn on when a pedestrian or car approaches and are only as bright as necessary at the moment. They can also serve as a basis for charging stations, air quality sensors, cameras or WiFi hotspots.

Bin calling garbage pickup

Another overflowing garbage bin on the roadside. Because there’s no more room, passersby have creatively stacked their waste around it. Wouldn’t it be great if the garbage can could simply send a message to the garbage pickup service: “I’m full – stop by soon and empty me.” What sounds like nonsense is technically possible today: Garbage cans with high-tech sensors from Deutsche Telekom transmit their fill level to the garbage pickup service. The service can then plan its route so that only full bins are picked up. That saves unnecessary trips and reduces environmental pollution and scattered garbage by ensuring enough space in the bin.

Getting from A to B with low emissions

In the smart city, we can choose from a host of mobility solutions. Many of them are not only practical, but also eco-friendly.

Bike sharing

Rent a bike on the spot with an app – you can with bike sharing. Deutsche Telekom offers package solutions for bike-sharing fleet operators – from the bike and the app and software for managing the rental bike fleet through to the payment system.

Parking app

Experts estimate that some 30 percent of the traffic volume in cities is solely due to people looking for a parking spot. The “Park and Joy” app helps drivers find a space easily and thereby helps reducing CO2. It’s already available in around 90 German cities.


For electromobility to really take off, it’s critical to expand the charging infrastructure. Everyone is familiar with Deutsche Telekom’s “gray boxes” by the roadside. In 2018, we began upgrading them as rapid charging stations for electric vehicles.

No more trips to government agencies

By 2022, services provided by German government agencies – such as driver’s license applications or passport documents – must be available online. This is stipulated in the Online Access Act. Deutsche Telekom and the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (DStGB) are working together to support administrative authorities in their digital transformation. One tool the authorities can use is the “Smart Cities” app: It bundles digital services provided by administrative authorities, such as address registrations, driver’s license applications, citizen participation, or arranging appointments online.

The future is already here

In 2019, Deutsche Telekom was involved in smart city projects in more than 20 cities throughout Europe. Several examples illustrate the diversity of solutions for the digital city:


In the “Digital City Darmstadt”, we have set up Germany’s first digital monitoring network for air pollutants. We are also involved in a research project for an automated tram based on 5G technology.


Bucharest uses smart city solutions specifically for visitor management at Tineretului Park img. As a result, the city can offer its park visitors better services – including smart parking, free internet hotspots, improved security and smart lighting.

Gijón (Spain)

In Gijón, a coastal city in northern Spain, citizens benefit from connected lighting solutions that help the city save up to 100,000 euros in energy costs each year.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, mobile data is used to analyze traffic flows at 40 locations with a particularly high volume of tourists. The police, fire and emergency services use the data to prepare emergency plans for major events.


In Bonn, street lamps and recycling containers in the city center are connected. Street lamps are controlled by motion detectors, allowing them to automatically dim and brighten. That cuts operating costs by up to 60 percent.

A3 near

Research on an early warning system for bridge damage is underway here. Connected sensors embedded in the concrete detect damage long before the bridge might turn into a major construction site. The sensors send an alert at the first signs of corrosion or vibration.


percent of the world’s population lives in cities - 80 percent thereof in cities that do not meet the air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization.

Green all-rounder

Today, 55 percent of the world’s population lives in cities - 80 percent thereof in cities that do not meet the air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization.  That has an impact on our health: Poisonous particles can not only lead to pulmonary diseases but also be responsible for heart conditions or strokes. Clean cars and better urban transport networks are an important approach to improving air quality. Our contribution is our parking solution “Park and Joy”. Our CityTree is another solution that can help improve air quality. The four-meter-high “tree” uses the ability of mosses to filter particulate matter.  With around 1,700 moss cultures, it reduces fine particulate air pollution in the environment by up to 80 percent. But it can do more: It has a pleasant cooling effect, contains a WiFi hotspot, measures the air quality and offers a space to sit and relax for a while. The CityTree therefore combines the benefits of plants with those of the Internet of Things (IoT) img. We have set up this all-rounder in Darmstadt.

Smart, but secure

When it comes to smart cities, data security is especially important: After all, digitally connected cities are also vulnerable to cyberattacks. With our integrated Cyber Defence and Security Operating Center, the largest and most modern in Europe, we are setting standards in terms of public security for smart cities and regions. We are bringing together measures to prevent, detect, and combat security incidents – to ensure the protection of digital infrastructures, data, and privacy in the smart city.