Killing old habits with IoT

Trondheim, a mid-sized city in Norway, is projected to continue to increase its population in the years to come. But as the number of inhabitants grows, this progressive city wants to keep the number of car trips taken as today, in order to reduce the burden on the environment and manage congestion.

How can they achieve that? In part, they believe, by using technology that will stimulate the population to walk, take the bus or ride a bike instead of following old habits and jumping into their cars.

Last week, Telenor and Wireless Trondheim ran a hackathon at FAKTRY, the new startup community in Trondheim, to prototype next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that can make the above feasible.

“We partnered with two “problem owners” – the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and Trondheim Municipality – to find out how IoT technologies can help solve the transportation challenges faced by the city,” said Per Jonny Nesse, with Telenor Research in Trondheim.

Smart transportation

In total, 20 hackers, entrepreneurs and students joined the “Smart Transportation” hackathon in the city’s Sluppen area.

The teams at the hackathon

The assembled talents got their hands on next-generation IoT technologies, worked in teams to solve real-world problems, developed prototypes and pitched their solutions to a judging panel of business developers and industry experts. At stake, an award for “Best technical, innovative and business-feasible solution”, which included NOK 10,000, five IoT development kits and three months access to the soon-to-open IoT ProtoLab at FAKTRY in Trondheim.

The new lab, run by Telenor and Wireless Trondheim, will be a powerhouse to boost innovation, build competencies and promote Norwegian competitiveness, and is open to startups, developers and students looking to rapidly prototype and develop IoT products and services.

No more Bumpy Rides on snowy roads

Eventual winners of the hackathon, team Bumpy Ride, consists of Joar G. Harkestad and Mamdouh Eljueidi. The pair’s solution enables bikers to see which roads and bike paths have been ploughed for snow, how long it has been since and when they are expected to be ploughed next. The real-time solution uses GPS sensors on snow ploughs and other vehicles to upload data to a cloud solution which displays conditions for the users.  This solution gained interest from the Public Roads Administration, which is tasked with road maintenance in Norway.

Other prototypes from the hackathon included bitBike, Commute Heroes and yBike. Read more about them here.