Claus Popp Larsen
Fokusområdesledare för Uppkopplade städerContact Claus Popp
A rather non-descript street in Kista north of Stockholm is the backbone of Urban ICT Arena. Here, startups and larger companies get help in testing potential products and services in an urban environment in collaboration with government authorities, citizens, other companies and academia.
The basic concept behind Urban ICT Arena is to serve as a testbed for new solutions that can contribute to smarter, more sustainable cities.
Urban ICT Arena is particularly popular among smaller companies that want to test their product ideas in a real urban environment. Thousands of people go to and from work in the neighbourhood, with bus stops, nursery schools, shops and workplaces.
– "The digital infrastructure is in place here, with access to everything from fibre and 5G to WiFi and LoRaWan," says Karin Bengtsson, COO for Urban ICT Arena. "If you want to test something that requires technology, it's available here, even at the bus stops. We also help with the structure and contacts needed to get underway."
The information structure includes all the practical and administrative processes necessary to carry out tests in an urban environment.
– "For example, if you are going to use sensors, how do you choose which poles or facades they can be put on? Which permits are required? We have established collaboration with the city's various authorities, such as the traffic authority, the environment authority and other entities so that it is easy for the entrepreneurs to get up and running."
If everything is connected, how can we handle all the data that is generated in smart and secure ways
Creating new information flows and decision-making data has been essential in many projects. Data and IoT enable us to understand the needs of the city and its citizens in new ways. One example is the Smart Waste Management project, which tests and evaluates solutions for smarter waste management in the Rinkeby-Kista district in collaboration with Urban ICT Arena and two service providers. Sensors on 155 litter bins in green spaces, parks and along foot paths and bike paths, send data on how much litter is in the bins.
Urban ICT Arena also facilitates larger collaborative projects. For example, projects have been initiated with 5G-connected, self-driving vehicles together with Ericsson and Telia, among others, and with support from Drive Sweden and Vinnova.
– "In the vast majority of cases, companies are interested in getting into the right context for their products and services, not least meeting their potential customers or finding other companies that are interested in building on what they are doing or even joining forces with them and working on something together."
Some projects involve research or student projects through collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology or Stockholm University.
Urban ICT Arena can be seen as a one-stop shop where innovative companies can turn for help on moving forward, and where municipalities and regions can connect with quality-assured startups and create exciting collaborative projects. Urban ICT Arena understands the needs of municipalities, regions and government authorities, which enables the kinds of collaboration that promote sustainable cities.
The vision for Urban ICT Arena is cities that benefit from "everything" being connected and measured.
– "What we are particularly curious about is how data can be combined to create even more sustainability. If everything is connected, how can we handle all the data that is generated in smart and secure ways so that it can create new services and benefits for citizens? And what infrastructure do cities need? Kista is a district where innovation is at the backbone – we want more people to know about this and build on it," says Karin Bengtsson.
Behind Urban ICT Arena are Ericsson, IBM, the Royal Institute of Technology, Region Stockholm, RISE, the City of Stockholm and Stockholm University.