Vienna is one of the top ICT cities in Europe. Around 6,200 ICT companies (8 percent of all companies in Vienna) generate annual sales of more than 20 billion euros. To make optimal use of the location’s potential, the Vienna Business Agency acts as an information and cooperation platform for Viennese technology developers. It networks companies with development partners and leading economic, scientific and municipal administrative customers, and supports Viennese companies with targeted monetary funding and a variety of consulting and service offerings
According to various studies, Vienna achieves especially high marks for innovative strength, comprehensive support for start-ups, and its strong focus on sustainability. Vienna is also at the forefront in several “Smart City” rankings. Enhancing the location’s appeal still further are its research and technology-friendly climate, its geographical and cultural proximity to the growth markets in the East, the high quality of its infrastructure, the education system and the highest quality of life worldwide. However, these achievements did not happen overnight. The high quality of life is also the result of an ongoing long-term vision that focuses on putting the human dimension of the Smart City at the heart of solutions. The overarching goal of the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy is to combine maximum conservation of resources with social and technical innovation to safeguard our city’s outstanding quality of life.
One of the major challenges in smart city projects is to bring together relevant contextual information, collected and managed by different actors and in many different ways, in a single place in a harmonized way, without requiring specific customizations for each source of contextual information. The FIWARE Context Broker enables both public administrations and private companies to collect, manage and exchange information. It is a dynamic system that provides real-time updates on what is happening in a city, providing data ranging from road traffic status to air quality.
Vienna was looking for a data platform for smart city requirements and found it in FIWARE. The smartdata.wien platform was able to process the data generated as part of the project very quickly and make it available for monitoring. Consequently, the Vienna Business Agency has been a member of the FIWARE Foundation together with the City of Vienna since 2017.
The Vienna Business Agency has been involved in the EU project CEFAT4Cities together with the FIWARE Foundation since April 2020. The project aims to create a technology that enables citizens to use multilingual services for the Smart City area. Existing FIWARE developments are used and expanded. The main objective of the CEFAT4Cities Action is to develop a “Smart cities natural language context”, providing multilingual interoperability of the Context Broker DSI and making public “smart city” services multilingual, with pilots in Vienna and Brussels.
Within this project, the Vienna Business Agency and the City of Vienna organized a virtual hackathon. The objective was to improve the City of Vienna’s FIWARE Model (Smart City Wien, powered by FIWARE, built with LEGO(R) bricks), create new ways of visualization and enable multilingualism in the presentation of data. Participants had to use the sensor data of the model, Open Government Data and Vienna’s OGD map (basemap.at, tree cadaster, real time date of Vienna’s public transportation services, POI or any other open data from Data.gv.at or the European Data Portal.
The Smart City Vienna – powered by FIWARE & built from LEGO® building blocks – was presented for the first time at the Digital Days 2019 in Vienna. The city hall, the Ferris wheel, a city bike station, the subway, LEGO components of Bestattung Wien (Funeral Services Vienna) and MA 48 – waste management, street cleaning and vehicle fleet were integrated in the model. It is a physical image of the smart and digital city of Vienna and is intended to represent the connection between the digital and the physical LEGO building blocks [sensor, interfaces, FIWARE app, etc.].
City of Vienna’s FIWARE Model (Smart City Wien, powered by FIWARE, built with LEGO(R) bricks), ©City of Vienna
For the virtual hackathon, the Vienna Business Agency and the City of Vienna recommended to use the FIWARE Context Broker, eTranslation Building Block or any other CEF Building Blocks. Three teams from France and Austria were selected as winners. They developed new approaches and ideas to tackle this challenge. The presentation of the winners will follow soon.
Part of the CEFAT4Cities project was also the development of demonstrators. One demonstrator application for CEFAT4Cities is a “smart” chatbot. The underlying goal is to enable chatbots to integrate a multilingual knowledge system. With great support of the project partner Coreon the Vienna Business Agency was developing a smart chatbot for it is funding programs. Users can ask for specific funding opportunities and thereby get more information.
These first results are so promising for the CEFAT4Cities partners that the technology will be enhanced from a “demonstrator” status to a “pilot” project. So far, the content work was focused on the German language (first and most important language for the Vienna Business Agency). The next step is to cover English and to prove how a multilingual knowledge system, as a language-agnostic knowledge graph, makes the development of multilingual chatbots more efficient.
Video about the demonstrator: https://hub.coreon.com/s/QGs2LeDMX2SaQXx
The CEFAT4Cities partners want to share their insights and are happy to show in a free 90 minutes online session how a municipality can make use of the possibilities of open data sources and free framework solutions to improve smart interaction with citizens in a multilingual way. There are advances and training meetings available. Register online and learn more on how to make a Smart City multilingual: https://cefat4cities.eu/2022/02/02/cefat4cities-focus-meetings/