The City of Tampere invited companies to develop ideas on how to make the city carbon neutral by the year 2030. Three companies – Attido Oy, Moprim Oy and RoadCloud Oy – were selected as winners of the innovation competition ’Sustainable Tampere by means of Data’. In the near future, the city will commence negotiations to test the solutions.
The innovation competition was launched at the beginning of October at an event where the participants learned about the needs of the city. Energy-efficient and cost-effective, as well as sustainable solutions were sought in the contest in order to better exploit data, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to streamline processes. The aspiration was to find a solution that utilizes the existing data or produces new information.
The contest culminated in the final event on 30.10., where 11 companies presented their proposals for solutions. The ideas included, among others, simplification of the investment decisions concerning the energy efficiency of buildings, impacting on the bus drivers’ driving procedures, reduction of inedible food waste in staff restaurants, and the visualisation of air quality.
Looking for effective solutions
Three companies progressed to the next stage of consultations. The emphases in the selection were innovation, impact, feasibility and the ability to steer Tampere towards sustainable activities.
We received many great ideas, so it was a difficult choice. We selected solutions that displayed the potential for long-term impact that also chimed in with the themes of the ongoing development projects, says Maarit Vehviläinen, Project Manager, City of Tampere.
Reduction of traffic emissions is a challenging task. The data collected from electric buses was drawn upon in the solution of Attido Oy. If implemented the idea could help e.g. in the future planning of the routes of the new electic buses and the improvement of services.
“We offered the city an analytics solution that exploits machine-learning to achieve more sustainable public transport, lower emissions and cost savings”, says Samuli Luostarinen, Attido Oy. “We got involved, because the idea was interesting and fitted our company’s core competencies. At the same time, we got the opportunity to toy with the idea of how the environmental challenges could be solved by means of technology”, Luostarinen adds.
Also, another suggestion that was selected to go forward was linked to traffic. RoadCloud Oy’s solution would increase the flow and safety of traffic, as it enables the monitoring of the slipperiness on the roads and mapping their condition. Traffic emissions would also be reduced, as there would no longer be the need to go and verify the slipperiness on the spot.
“We provided real time information on slipperiness that is produced by the movements of commercial vehicles. With the help of sensors and data, the condition of the road surfaces around the Tampere area would be analysed and the danger-spots on the roads would be identified”, says Ari Tuononen, RoadCloud Oy. “Automatic data production reduces the need for separate measurements and the use of road salt. We have access to data that consists of approx. 350,000 kilometers of measured road network in Tampere”, Tuononen adds.
In order to develop services, the city needs information on how and where the people move around. MOPRIM Oy’s suggestion helps collect information on the travel chains that people actually use, and the users’ carbon emission load.
“In our solution the information on people’s movements is collected by means of the sensor data from mobile phones. It is used to analyze and interpret the user’s movements, whether as a pedestrian, driver or commuter”, says Hannu Anttila, MOPRIM Oy. “Combined with the city’s own traffic data we will produce a picture of movement around the city that is more versatile than ever before.”
The sustainability theme is of interest to companies
Many participants said that the reason to get involved in the contest was mainly the interesting subject where the substainability targets were connected to open data. In the IT field there are many companies whose values include the promise to improve the world. Especially for the younger generation of employees it stands to reason that sustainable development should be taken into account.
It was great to hear about other companies’ ideas, because other themes besides sustainable traffic are close to my heart. I feel it is important that these kinds of contests are organised so that new technology companies are able to show their true colours, Tuononen states.
It was established, in the discussions, that too often it is money that is the main driver of IT development. The more sustainable choices do not necessarily create savings, at least in the short term, so they end up not being considered. On the other hand, the companies present felt that in the background of the IT field there is energy consumption that is caused by the way that data is being stored and moved. According to the participants, savings potential, e.g. with artificial intelligence, could be created here.
The participants also imagined what a dream project within the theme sustainability of the cities would be like. Among the groups’ suggestions for a project were the creation of a comprehensive artificial intelligence, promoting ecological aspects and aimed at the allocation of resources; or the construction of a digital life partner which presents the impact one has, through one’s own actions, on the environment. In various fields the efforts to find solutions for sustainable decisions are being made by the cities in small steps rather than by radical changes.
The innovation competition and procurement are a part of the 6Aika Future Operator Independent Data Integration Platform Project (CityloT), financed by the European Regional Development Fund, and of the STARDUST Project that has obtained funds from Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement N° 774094).