Flexible and widely applicable solutions for data platforms enabling "Smart Regions”.
Many cities and communities are growing, and as a consequence the challenges for local administrations are growing as well. Where is this leading? How to deal with it in an organized fashion? How can it be brought in alignment with ecological goals and goals of sustainability? These are some of the questions that arise. Answers are to be found in concepts such as "Smart Regions" or "Smart Villages," which aim to expand digital and smart technologies even for smaller communities. In this context data platforms for IoT (Internet of Things) applications play a central role. Such platforms are, on the one hand, connecting sensors (converting information or action into electrical signals) and actuators (converting electrical signals into movement) and, on the other hand, processing the resulting data and making it accessible. Overall, they are complex networks - consisting of connectors (transmission channels which link data together), databases, services, user interfaces - which have to be organized into units that form a functioning system.
Most data platforms for IoT applications are customized solutions. This undermines their general applicability and poses the risk that they become a data silo, which might be difficult to access in the long run. In contrast to that, FiWare's platforms allow more flexibility and can be applied more broadly - also to problems that arise when developing concepts for smart cities and infrastructures as in the present project. With this in mind the current "Smart Communities" project focuses on applications and public services that benefit municipalities and rural areas.
The main research focus of this project is to enable data exchange across and between different, regionally available LPWAN service providers and provide users with meaningful and interactive visual representations that help them to better understand complex data created by sensor networks. A system-of-systems concept including various providers and use cases lays the foundation for smart services that can be used by municipalities, associations, and administrative bodies of the state. The project pursues the following sub-goals:
• Transparent connectivity across different regionally available LPWAN service providers
• Data exchange between different platforms
• User interfaces and visualization methods that are easy to handle
• Smart service management based on a low-coding approach
• Introducing decision makers to the latest technologies used in IoT research
• Demonstrating the potential of the developed solutions by implementing concrete use cases in Lower Austrian municipalities
The design of the developed platform makes it possible to run it on all common systems (on-premise, Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS). Moreover, the municipalities are provided with the necessary means to operate it on their own. The whole system is planned to be organized into single building blocks that can be reconfigured and adapted to the needs of the use cases. To accomplish this, it has to be researched how such a modular systems can be constructed at the micro level and how its complexity can be translated into user-friendly components. The building block concept is applied to all levels of the IoT project (the acquisition, transmission, storage, processing, evaluation and visualization of data). On top of that we investigate how data can be exchanged between different platforms with different functionalities (system-of-systems connectivity) and how it can be made readily accessible without compromising data security. We also put great emphasis on building front-end interfaces with visualizations that are easy to understand. For this purpose, configurable dashboards are created that allow monitoring of the current data and how it developed over certain time periods.
The university partners integrate the knowledge accumulated during the project into their teaching and students who participate in the project (via project, bachelor or diploma theses) gain research experience. The outcomes of the project open up opportunities for follow-up projects and result in scientific contributions in international journals and at conferences. In addition, the research focus on machine learning, predictive control, energy management and simulation is strengthened. The project results will also benefit the ecoplus cluster, the Lower Austrian Technopoles and the House of Digitization. The technical and methodological groundwork done sets the stage for a regional municipal ecosystem where new businesses can thrive. A first step on this path are the test communities, which can serve as best practise examples to push innovation in the municipalities and regions.
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Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies
Department of Media and Digital Technologies
- Universität für Weiterbildung Krems (Lead)
- IMC FH Krems