Do Not Let Digitization Happen, but Help Shape It!
The Smart City sector will soon reach its full potential thanks to the proper use of the Internet of Things for resource management, operations optimization, and innovation in services.
The case of Allgäuer Überlandwerk
Energy suppliers are among the most innovative actors of digitization in our cities. They have often been involved in local network services such as the rollout of glass fiber networks, providing key infrastructure for different city players in the region.
The Allgäuer Überlandwerk (AÜW) in Bavaria is among those innovative actors.
With the motto Do not let digitization happen, but help shape it! (Digitalisierung nicht geschehen lassen, sondern mitgestalten!), the AÜW is looking to ensure sustainability and increase the quality of life in the Allgäu region through the conscious use of IT.
To this purpose, AÜW has defined the “Smart City IoT” as a potential growth sector and thus started identifying new business areas and optimization opportunities for existing operational processes. During the initial phase of the project, a small team from AÜW and partner companies from the public sector was given the task of assessing the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) for different areas of applications, to better understand its market potential, and to create internal knowledge about IoT in the Smart City sector.
AÜW identified LoRaWAN as the most appropriate technology to support its new initiative. LoRaWAN-based sensors allow the measurement and transmission of data over long distances at a low cost and low power.
Choosing the right IoT infrastructure
Building an IoT solution is a complex endeavor. Fortunately, there is nowadays no need to develop every single piece of the IoT infrastructure from scratch. By collaborating with strong partners such as Loriot and akenza, AÜW was able to minimize costs and reduce time to proof of concept in this initial phase while focusing on its own strength, building valuable solutions for the regional community.
Loriot supplies AÜW with its secure LoRaWAN network technology and lays the foundation for smart connected devices.
The akenza platform ensures the management of the whole IoT device fleet as well as the LoRaWAN network in one system. In addition to the integration with Loriot and device management, it enables the reading and visualization of the data, as well as advanced data processing (via the Akenza Core rule engine). The user can visualize the device data on predefined Business Intelligence Modules or develop interactive IoT applications via the dedicated REST API. The rule engine is particularly useful to react instantly to events from devices and trigger specific actions (e.g. alerts, remote control).
The pilot project
During this collaboration, AÜW, Loriot, and akenza successfully assessed several potential use cases. The first example concerns the monitoring of recycling points. The remote measurement of the fill level of such recycling points enables planning and optimizing the waste collection process. Thanks to the plug-and-play capabilities of the akenza core, AÜW could install a Sensoneo Single Sensor with little effort and measure the fill level efficiently.
Remote reading of heat and water meters also shows clear optimization benefits for energy suppliers as it removes the need for manual intervention from a technical expert. Here, the AÜW could perform some tests with the DZG Smart Meter and Landis & Gyr sensors.
Indoor environment monitoring was tested as well with Elsys ERS Eye and Elsys ERS CO2 sensors. These sensors are key in ensuring a better usage of office spaces by measuring the occupancy of specific areas (e.g. meeting rooms) as well as the air quality (CO2 levels).
Parking space occupancy monitoring is an area where IoT can have a positive impact as it enables better guidance and eventually can assist cities with urban planning. In the current case, this was assessed with the Bosch PLS sensor.
The rapid deployment of pilot projects enabled by our IoT system allowed for generating the first learnings in a lean way, i.e. before spending significant R&D resources. The results of this initial study will be used to develop and scale production-ready use cases fitting the regional needs of AÜW and the Allgäu region.
The integration of the Akenza Core was a key element of our pilot project. It enabled us to test several use cases and connected devices without dealing with the complexity of the whole IoT infrastructure.