Parking, street lighting, and waste management – these are just a few examples of the areas in which M2M solutions can enhance public welfare and reduce costs for municipalities. Not surprisingly, smart cities are emerging all over the world: These cities have a partially digitalized urban ecosystem with ICT-enhanced self-awareness and efficiency. Intelligent transport systems (ITS) and smart street lighting rank among the most promising and beneficial infrastructure projects for connected cities. By using an appropriate smart city application – such as a combination of LED streetlights and intelligent management solutions – cities can cut their electricity costs by 30 to 70 percent and their maintenance costs by 10 percent.
Here’s a short overview of the benefits:
Benefits for communities:
- Lower energy consumption and costs
- Lower pollution
- Remote monitoring and control of property
- Predictive maintenance and immediate repairs
Benefits for residents:
- Increased urban safety through controlled street lighting and surveillance
- Time saved thanks to new services such as parking guidance
Salzburg Research: in the fast lane with M2M
No one likes to be stuck in traffic. This opinion is also shared by Salzburg Research, an independent Austrian research institute focusing on information technology in the areas of e-health, e-tourism, energy, Internet, and mobility. The institute decided to tackle this problem by analyzing the city’s traffic with data collected from vehicles. The vehicles’ GPS modules were equipped with M2M SIM cards from T-Mobile Austria. These cards continuously transmit the collected data to a central platform where the information is then evaluated. This enables a real-time traffic overview for all of Salzburg while at the same time preserving data privacy in accordance with Austrian data protection laws. Every minute, the current traffic situation is examined via the anonymous vehicle movement data. The result is then shown on a real-time traffic map.
The collected data is also used for future traffic planning and made available to the public. The M2M SIM cards from T-Mobile Austria allow seamless management via the T-Mobile M2M Service Portal: Users receive an accurate overview of the data consumption, can avoid the misuse of the cards, and benefit from roaming-friendly tariffs whenever cars travel to Germany, for example.
WSS Infocard Systems: making garbage smart
Public waste is a nuisance – especially if it is not managed cleverly. Deutsche Telekom partner WSS Infocard Systems is a Dutch company specialized in IT solutions for the smart monitoring and management of waste streams. Relying on Deutsche Telekom’s trusted mobile network across Europe, WSS developed a solution that turns regular garbage cans into smart trash containers. In Amsterdam, around 2,000 public garbage cans are now well-maintained thanks to individual emptying plans – the city knows exactly which garbage cans need to be emptied more frequently than others. Some containers are emptied six times a day, for example, and others only on alternate days. So how does this work?
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips are attached to each can and waste disposal employees use a handheld device to read the chip and document the condition of the container. A modem then transmits the data to the WSS Service web portal via secure Deutsche Telekom networks. When logged into this portal, city employees can see the information relayed by waste disposal employees in real time, evaluate the data, and draw up a detailed maintenance and emptying plan. The system has enabled the city to provide this service within budget limits, as special flat-rate M2M tariffs make the costs of data transmission absolutely manageable.