1. Connected wheels make city life smarter


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Connected wheels make city life smarter

Couples of bikes over the canal of Amsterdam

From its humble beginnings as a 13th-century fishing village, Amsterdam today is a major hub for business, tourism and culture and has a long and well-respected tradition in the arts. In this post I’ll talk about some of Amsterdam’s ambitious plans for making urban life smarter.

A little history about Amsterdam: In 1323, the city owned the exclusive right to import beer from Hamburg while at the same time the herring trade grew rapidly allowing fishermen to increase profits. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company was founded which the city owned a majority share in. The 17th century was a period of unprecedented prosperity during which Amsterdam underwent massive urban development resulting in, among other things, its famous canal system. Art also flourished during this time and the number of artists, art dealers, as well as the amount of art produced, grew enormously. Amsterdam had become a thriving cultural city, producing masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen.

Today, Amsterdam is a metropolis of more than 800,000 inhabitants (excluding the suburbs) with nearly 12 million international tourists visiting the city in 2012. It is also a smart city, where fiber, broadband and LTE networks are widely deployed and where anyone can enjoy free Wi-Fi access anywhere in the city.

Many initiatives for making the city smarter have been launched in recent years. One of them is the Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) spearheaded by the Amsterdam Economic Board, the City of Amsterdam and various private business interests. It’s a partnership between businesses, government, research institutions and the citizens of Amsterdam to develop the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area into a smarter city.

ASC connects the needs and wishes of users, residents, government and business and provides a platform for testing innovative products and services. By establishing the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area as an urban living lab, ASC has made it possible for businesses to test and demonstrate innovative products and services.

Many of these projects have already been launched. One of the most original is Ring-Ring. Amsterdam is known for its biking tradition (there are more bicycles than inhabitants in the city) and cyclists make a significant contribution to city health, clean air, social interaction, improved accessibility and a more pleasant public space. Ring-Ring rewards every cyclist for each kilometer cycled! With an innovative technique, the smartphone app counts all the cycled kilometers (Fkm) automatically. Each Fkm = € 0.10. The Fkm that are saved can be redeemed, using the app, at a Ring-Ring affiliated connected business, which are good for making purchases or for getting discounts on products or services.

This is a great example of innovation – empowered by ICT, technology and people – in order to reduce carbon emission and make the city life much better.

Written by Sami Dob

Sami is Program Director, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, for the Ericsson Group worldwide. An engineer and economist, he is interested in innovative business solutions that make great social impact. Also an advocate of redefining the practice of capitalism, Sami believes that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play an important role in addressing global challenges in areas such as poverty, development, climate change and human rights.

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