The bIoTope project, coordinated by Aalto University, uses and develops open standards for providing service interfaces (APIs) and data required by smart cities, so the computer systems of different operators can understand each other. This increases efficiency and reduces costs.
‘Open and standardised services can be compared to the internet and its standards, which have been a prerequisite for the emergence of companies such as Google and Facebook,’ says Professor Kary Främling from Aalto University.
The bIoTope project has developed several services based on these interfaces across Europe. One of these is an AirBnB-style app for parking spaces, which has been developed for the City of Helsinki in a project led by Forum Virium, in co-operation with Parkkisähkö Oy.
Thanks to the app, electric car owners don’t need accounts with every charging company in town, but can use any charging point without having to have a separate account with whoever owns the point. When the driver arrives in Helsinki, the application will automatically find available parking spaces and charging locations.
‘The new system also includes a user interface that allows anyone to rent out their own parking space or charging station when it is not in use. We now introduce this business model and solution to all the companies for free’ says Veli Airikkala, Project Designer at Forum Virium.
Other tools developed in the bIoTope project include a system for improving the collection of empty bottles in Lyon and increasing school children's’ safety in Brussels. The system provides access to shared information and services, regardless of the company or application.
‘Thanks to standardised and open service interfaces, urban procurement has become more flexible. Private and public sector companies no longer have to buy just one small part of an intelligent system from one company. For example, cities are no longer dependent on a single supplier in the procurement of smart lighting or parking spaces for an area,’ says Främling.
The international bIoTope project has created an innovative service platform that companies and public organisations can take advantage of when developing products and services based on the Internet of Things.