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Smart Cities: Eliminating Data Silos with Open Source Technology

A freely accessible digital twin for smart cities enables functions and services for cities in real time – EDAG PS implements pilot project in Paderborn

EDAG Production Solutions GmbH & Co. KG (EDAG PS) is a "gold member" of the FIWARE Foundation. This groundbreaking, global open source initiative enhances the design of sustainable digital platforms for the smart city ecosystem. Cities and municipalities benefit from standardized data models and interfaces (APIs) based on transparent and standard open source technologies. EDAG PS has already used these to implement successful smart city concepts.

FIWARE is a non-profit-making association which was founded in 2016 with the aim of promoting smart solutions in a faster, simpler and interoperable way. The members of the initiative are committed to "building an open, sustainable ecosystem based on public, free of charge, implementation-oriented software platform standards. These should facilitate the development of new smart applications in various fields."

Working on this basis, EDAG PS brings the city, its citizens and the mobility of the future closer together. With the EDAG CityBot and its integration into the complete ecosystem of tomorrow's urban structures, the largest independent technology developer in the field of mobility is one of the pacemakers of the smart city. The particular focus here is on software and digitalization. As a "gold member" of the FIWARE Foundation, EDAG PS is now applying these skills to its global ecosystem.

"With our CityBot and Smart City projects, our aim is to work together with municipalities and civic institutions to further improve the quality of urban life," explains EDAG PS CEO Dirk Keller. A crucial point here is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), which nowadays make it easier than ever for cities to build data platforms.

"This means that the digital foundations have been laid to enable people to obtain real-time information about what is going on in their city. What is more, in smart government, decisions can also be made and optimizations carried out on the basis of concrete datasets. This is a win-win situation for everyone and takes the quality of the relationship between citizens, government and service providers to a new level."

Paderborn uses dashboard for smart cities

One of the greatest challenges in implementation is that many data providers and IoT devices only have proprietary interfaces. This means that connection to a central data platform, if feasible at all, is a very complex and expensive undertaking. "This problem was detected some time ago, and gave rise to FIWARE, the open source platform technology for our smart digital future," explains FIWARE CEO Ulrich Ahle. "Our solution involves freely usable software components for processing context data, which facilitate communication between different subsystems in and on the data platform. As this is an open source initiative, the strengths and special skills of our more than 500 members from 77 nations - now including EDAG PS - are put to effect here for the benefit of everyone."

In Paderborn, for example, where in cooperation with the city, EDAG PS has helped to get the open-source project "Dashboards for Smart Cities" off the ground. The dashboard displays city functions and services in real-time, so involving interested members of the public in the improvement of everyday city life. Using a simple ticket system in the citizens portal, the dashboard can be used to report cases of garbage or damage (such as trash cans that have fallen over, broken sidewalk slabs) in the city.

"The digital twin provides digital support for different areas of urban life and a complete reference architecture for smart cities," emphasize Dirk Keller. "This enables us to make it as easy as possible for municipalities to host a data platform and connect up to a dashboard. This, in turn, can be easily adapted to the CI of the municipality concerned."

For the CEO of EDAG PS, this marks an important milestone: "The smart city and its digital twin are successful because they follow the principle 'from practical experience for practical application'." The data was collected and processed on an open source basis in accordance with the FIWARE concept. As a result, it is just as easy for other cities and municipalities to use the dashboard as it is for additional new services to be connected.

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