An Innovation Challenge Inspired Company Teams to Create Ideas for Smarter Tampere
The Enlighten Tampere innovation challenge culminated in the beginning of June when the teams presented and pitched their solutions for judges at demo fairs in Kampusareena. The teams had worked intensively for the last one and a half days, and had also planned their solutions earlier on their own, after a kickoff event. Now was the time to announce the results; which of the teams would be selected to pilot their ideas together with the City?
Enlighten Tampere challenged the company teams to provide innovative solutions as to how Tampere could utilize data from different sources, especially for the street lighting network to become smarter. The participants were also encouraged to create new, data based service concepts for the citizens. An interview round at demo fairs indicated that this challenge was what got the ideas ongoing.
A good way to meet new ideas and people. According to Leo Salomaa, from Arcventure Helsinki, they wanted to participate in Enlighten Tampere because they were interested in smart city solutions and tempted by the idea of utilizing the city infra in a pilot. Their solution, that enables switching the street lights on and off where they are actually needed, was presented to the judges.
– Our system controls the street lights of a city district through crowdsourcing. Citizens can ask more light via an app and the system will learn from the data. The concept can be adapted to other issues beyond lighting, says Salomaa.
One of the projects that organised the event (6Cities: Reboot the City) offered a unity-based 3D model of the City of Tampere for the teams to use. Arcventure utilized the model in their solution.
– I have worked a lot with city models, and the question is always, what is the benefit compared to a map. In our solution it enabled showing the information in three dimensions – and usually places are easier to recognize from 3D model, tells Salomaa.
A solution that we ourselves would want to use. The idea created by Geniem from Tampere comes straight out of local living. Public transportation works, but the applications that are meant to ease using it require some improvement.
Thus, Karlo Tuominen gathered a team “Golden Nuggets" from Geniem and presented an idea for an effective user application.
– The application would bring together information about timetables and route guides, a bus ticket and later even have different events with entrance instructions. When people use the app, the City could also collect data about crowd flows and utilization rate of services, Tuominen says.
Tuominen thinks that innovation challenges such as Enlighten Tampere could be organized more often, especially in his home city region. The smart city solutions develop so fast that keeping track requires some effort.
– A hackathon is a good way to develop any area, and the City gets many useful ideas from it with relatively small input, Tuominen states.
The first industryhack, and already we are having fun. Hannes Junnila from Remod team from Oulu says that the theme of the challenge worked well in their field, and in addition the event gave interesting know-how, no matter what the outcome of the challenge was.
At first, the team had an idea to improve the service level of public transportation, but then they decided to concentrate on street lighting. Remod wanted to utilize single controllable led street lights in the city of Tampere.
– We used laser scanning material, and created a model in which you can calculate every single light pole’s lightness circumstances – is the pole in a bright or dark place, how does the weather and visibility impact – and react on them precisely, Junnila says.
The model saves energy, especially during sunrises and sunsets. Shadows define, where the light is really needed.
– The idea is that if we proceed in cooperation with the City of Tampere, many other solutions can also be connected to the model, Junnila says.
There would have been even more to demonstrate. The work done in the hackathon culminated in a ten minute session with the judges, one team at a time. Anu Tolvanen from Nokia Smart City team says that because all the ideas would not have been able to be presented, their team focused on solutions which improve the safety of buildings.
– We presented a program that can be used for monitoring the building’s air conditioning, temperature and other data gathered from different sensors. The system notices dangerous or seemingly abnormal situations, such as if too many people are packing up in a certain space. The system also helps to define what is going on and how to solve the situation, Tolvanen says.
Already when preparing for the event, the Nokia team had a clear view of what products they could offer the City of Tampere. During the hackathon they specified how these products could serve the City.
– That was the really interesting part: to imagine how the products and ideas could be combined in a way that the City could best utilize them. Also the team cooperation was interesting, because we came from different organizations within Nokia, Tolvanen said.
Public procurement as an innovation challenge – count us in! Perfektio from Helsinki worked late into the night, in order to choose which of their several solutions they would want to present for the judges. 15 hours of creative problem solving led to a new view on lighting.
– In our solutions the lighting is targeted. Persons and cars are identified in order to create optimal lighting for them. Elsewhere the street lights can be set for minimal lighting. We saw, that this solution is one we believe in and one we can further develop through other routes, if the City of Tampere does not select our initial solution, says Henri Malkki.
Perfektio has participated in many innovation challenges. Malkki calculates, that in their company the number of the events they have taken part in is already near two hundred, and has led to opportunities such as cooperation with new companies. When Perfektio saw that in Enlighten Tampere, the City was making a public procurement through an innovation challenge, this created an immediate interest.
– We hoped that innovation challenges would spread in the public sector, now that it is possible in the light of the new procurement law. So we were happy to see this happen here, Malkki says.
Nordic cooperation. Swedish Triona also operates in Norway and in Finland. The challenges of a smart city are quite similar in the Nordic countries, and the Trinovation team were at Tampere to remind all that we do not always have to invent every solution from the very beginning. At the hackathon Trinovation presented their transportation know-how.
– With some Triona products we are able to build a service that contains the whole road network and its features. As an example we took the parking spaces, where the service could guide drivers towards free spaces, says Niko Rosenquist.
According to Rosenquist Enlighten Tampere offered an opportunity for new contacts with participating teams and city representatives. The innovation challenge seemed an interesting and constructive way to handle public procurements.
– This is more personal and informal way to discuss solutions with the city representatives. Compared to the usual “call for bids and deck of paper" style, it’s far more fun also, Rosenquist says.
The hackathon was organized by three EU funded projects of Smart Tampere program of the City of Tampere (6Cities: Reboot the City; 6Cities: City IoT; EU Horizon 2020: STARDUST). The challenge was facilitated by IndustryHack Oy.
Text Päivi Stenroos, translation by Carita Isomäki
Photos Päivi Stenroos