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Ilmakuva Matkakeskus

Article categories: News

Intelligent Vaasa: IoT platform reduces carbon footprint, streamlines travelling and saves costs

Published: 7.5.2024

The City of Vaasa’s new IoT platform brings cost savings and tools for reducing carbon footprint and makes travelling around the city more streamlined. The platform also deepens collaboration between the city and educational institutions. The system is based on the IoT-TICKET service developed by the Vaasa-based software company, Wapice.

The City of Vaasa selected Wapice Oy as the service provider for the IoT platform that manages traffic situation awareness and monitors property energy data. The project is funded through the European Innovation Ecosystems programme, with a total value of 105,000 euros over a two-year contract period. The project will commence in April 2024.

– By acquiring the IoT platform, the City of Vaasa and the region’s universities took a significant step towards data-driven decision-making and sustainable development. The developed service not only supports the city’s carbon neutrality goals and data-driven decision-making but also opens up new avenues in the world of research and education, comments Tomi Salo, project manager from the University of Vaasa.

Previously, properties and heating constituted the largest carbon footprint in Vaasa. Since then, the situation has evolved significantly through cleaner district heating and more environmentally friendly methods of electricity production. Now, transportation is becoming the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions.

– Data-driven decision-making is the way to work in this day, and I believe that the IoT platform will become an excellent tool for the City of Vaasa across multiple areas. We start with transportation, but we have many other areas to explore. I would also like to see smarter control of systems, such as traffic lights, by integrating various data types, said Jukka Talvi, Director of Municipal Engineering for the City of Vaasa.

The platform brings together data in one place

With transportation becoming the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions, it is clear that emissions must be reduced. But how to do this optimally? This is where the city’s development becomes a question of the information system level.

The IoT platform gathers essential real-time and forecast data in one place, making it possible to plan reforms based on data. Wapice’s IoT system implemented for the City of Tampere was awarded as the year’s international smart city innovation precisely due to its practical benefits.

– The data provided by the IoT platform offers a unique opportunity to study the dynamics of the city, energy efficiency, traffic flow, and many other key themes of promoting sustainable development. This project not only advances Vaasa’s position as a smart city but also strengthens its role as a pioneer in sustainable development and innovation, says Tomi Salo, project manager.

At this stage of the project, the focus is on developing the traffic situation awareness, but utilising property energy data also offers interesting development opportunities.

– Real-time monitoring and the system’s predictive capability in buildings and other monitored locations introduce new opportunities. Continuous intelligent monitoring enables rapid detection and response to special situations, such as emerging faults and other deviations that typically increase energy consumption or cause other damage and additional costs, lists Johanna Punkari, energy and climate expert for the City of Vaasa.

– The system’s further development possibilities are also interesting and can create new tools for both the city and its residents and businesses. The same principles apply to other monitoring, such as adaptation work to climate change, Punkari continues.

The project’s impact on the region’s research and education sector is significant

The project has significant potential to strengthen the competitiveness of Vaasa’s research and education sector both nationally and internationally.

– Gathering relevant data for research projects is often a challenge, but with the IoT platform, universities and research institutions gain access to valuable, real-time, and diverse data. This enables not only high-quality research but also in-depth learning and practical skill development for our students in projects that utilise local data. For Vaasa’s universities and research institutions, the platform opens doors to new types of collaboration, where we share knowledge and learn together, envisions Salo.

For Wapice, the project is close to the heart due to its connection to their hometown.

–  It’s fantastic to bring our award-winning smart city solutions to Vaasa. I look forward to getting the basic services up and running and then building smart control services on top of them. Especially around traffic data, I see many opportunities for things like intelligent street lighting and traffic light control, commented Jari Kuusisto, Product Manager for Wapice’s smart city solutions.

Through Vaasa’s electricity alliance, the technological solutions of many partners can be integrated into the new IoT platform.

– For example, the expertise of our partner Destia in traffic and maintenance sectors can be excellently combined with our technological expertise. This is really good news for Vaasa and will undoubtedly bring concrete benefits to traffic and the city’s carbon footprint in the long run, Kuusisto concluded.

– Digitalisation and artificial intelligence have transitioned from hype to practical solutions, and IoT-TICKET is a good example of this. With a modern digital platform, it is easy to build an information ecosystem that can accommodate both the research and educational needs of universities and universities of applied sciences and service providers from the public and private sectors in various industries. We are particularly pleased that we can develop the environmental sustainability of our surroundings while simultaneously improving the area’s service level and efficiency. Collaboration is the key, and the city’s expertise combined with the expertise of the region will enhance everyone’s quality of life, commented Pasi Tuominen, CEO of Wapice.