New business solutions and better living with data, IoT and private 5G network

Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere

Tampere Smart City Week was held at the end of January. In the TSCW conference, safe society utilizing data, 5G and IoT solutions was one of the main themes. What are the recent developments and what type of projects related to data, 5G and IoT solutions are currently going on in Nordic cities?

Opportunities and challenges in developing smart city services in a secure way are thriving. On TSCW conference, experts shared their examples of utilizing data, IoT and private 5G network to develop new business solutions and better living for citizens.

5G enables smart transport

Robot cars have been tested in Hervanta since 2018. A test area provides companies a possibility to test and develop smart transport solutions in a real urban environment. Markku Niemi, Senior Business Advisor at Business Tampere, gave an update on Hervanta 5G test zone services. Recently, a digital twin solution was implemented to visualize the area in detail. Digital twin serves companies who are willing to test their products in the area, also from remote locations. Early testing can be done from home and on site when it’s time for real-time testing.

– Why Hervanta? There’s a vivid ecosystem working in the area, a high level of expertise, and public support. Tampere as a city is planning to implement autonomous vehicles in its services. The third reason is to learn more about what the city’s role is in building these networks, Niemi explained.

One of Tampere’s major future transport investments is the Tampere Tramway. Utilizing automatic buses as part of the transport system is one option that’s being discussed.

Secure and fast data transfer

Finland was the first to launch 5G in 2018, and currently 5G coverage in Finnish population is already 40%. Hervanta 5G test zone utilizes Nokia’s cloud-based private LTE test network. Low latency enables real-time remoting needed for autonomous vehicles.

With private 5G network, the data stays local and network capacity can be ensured for critical services. Eetu Prieur, Business Director, Enterprise Mobile Solutions at Elisa, presented examples on other 5G solutions, such as drone applications, process automation and video surveillance. Thanks to faster and faster data transfer, more options for digital solutions emerge.

IoT platform purchase – What to consider?

At the end of Wednesday’s conference, cities of Stockholm and Tampere shared their experiences on purchasing an IoT platform.

Maria Holm, Project Manager, City of Stockholm, presented how Stockholm decided to procure a central IoT platform, according to the city’s smart and connected programme and strategy. Stockholm chose competitive dialogue process for their tender in order to learn about the platform as the process went on. After 19 months of dialogue, the final agreements will be signed this spring.

Maarit Vehviläinen, Project Manager of STARDUST, City of Tampere, shared experiences on Tampere city IoT platform purchasing process where also STARDUST project is participating. The project STARDUST aims to energy-efficiency and carbon dioxide emission cuts. On its way toward carbon neutral by 2030, Tampere needs real-time data to support decision-making.

– The outdoor lighting network forms a natural physical platform which can be utilized to build an extensive sensor network. That’s why it’s possible to combine sensor and lighting systems. We had a vision of what we wanted, to combine lighting with the IoT system, Vehviläinen said.

Combining many services in one platform was seen as a mutual challenge, and both agreed the process was time-consuming. To speed up the process, Holm had found it useful to divide services and purchase process in smaller operational projects. Vehviläinen learned that more documents could help in negotiation phase to support dialogue and discussion.

As many Nordic cities are solving similar dilemmas concerning smart solutions, tight cooperation is key to success. The conference presentations summed up the high level of Nordic collaboration, between cities as well as businesses, citizens, researchers, and authorities.

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