Software developers working for KIOS, a public utilities infrastructure research centre at the University of Cyprus, were one of the winners of the ‘Smarter together Vienna challenge’. The event was one of three closely related competitions at ‘ICT 2018 research and innovation’, a conference organised by the European Commission in the Austrian capital on 4 and 5 December.
All of the contestants were required to use components from Fiware, a middleware platform made available as open source and funded by the European Commission. Teams had some 40 hours to come up with a prototype or a minimal viable product.
For the ‘Smarter together Vienna challenge’, participants had to come up with a Fiware-based application similar to a game that would motivate citizens to explore the city and make them aware of climate change and energy efficiency. The solution could make use of the city’s real time data and other open data available on Smart City Wien, the city’s open data portal.
The three KIOS developers demonstrated a basic web application that combined data on GPS location and public transport with route-related information available on the Internet covering museums, stores, restaurants and other attractions. The app also emphasised the benefits of using public transport compared to private automobiles, displaying air pollution, carbon emissions, and the amount of money saved. “Apps like this can motivate people to choose public transport over their cars,” one of the developers told the European Commission’s Open Source Observatory. The KIOS code is not publicly available.
The ‘Smarter together Vienna challenge’ had two winners. A second team, a spur-of-the-moment combination of an experienced software developer named Pekka Nikander from Finland and ICT marketeer Erol Galip Serbest based in Vienna, came up with ‘Digital Citizens’. This is a concept for an open source, smartphone-based game that encourages users to clean up trash, do physical exercises, or help their neighbours.
For every piece of trash picked up, every 3 km cycled and every walk with a member of the community, the game awards points. These can be used to pay for public transport, or to get discounts in local cafes and restaurants. “We coded all night, and managed to create a prototype and got the technical infrastructure working,” says Mr Serbest. “To really develop a game, a lot more would be needed. But cities could adapt it to their local needs.”