Digital Networking of Cities with LoRaWAN Technology

On 25 September 2020, the Founders Foundation hosted the first interdisciplinary LoRaWAN Round Table with high-ranking representatives from business, science and administration, organised by the Open Innovation City project. The panel included representatives of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, the Bielefeld public utilities, the city of Delbrück, Phoenix Contact and Arvato, as well as the international Smart City flagship project Smart Tampere and the Startup Evomation. They all shared their experiences with the panel and more than 350 spectators who followed the event in the livestream. In addition to an exchange on the state of technology and possible applications, the questions of data sovereignty and responsibility for technology implementation in cities were discussed.

Start: 25.09.2020 - 10:00
Ende: 26.09.2020 - 16:45
Founders Foundation

Key Results of the Event  

Litter bins report their fill level to the public utilities themselves, parents can see free parking spaces in front of the day-care centre in advance on their smartphone and the water meter is read remotely - these are just some of the applications made possible by LoRaWAN technology. It is often mentioned in the context of the discussion about networked cities, so-called Smart Cities. However, the fields of application of the technology are much more extensive and only rudimentary information is available about its possibilities. 

At the first interdisciplinary LoRaWAN Round Table in Bielefeld, experts from the fields of business, science and administration discussed for the first time the wide range of possible applications in the municipal context, possible business models and the potential for industrial and commercial products. With the help of LoRaWAN technology - Long Range Wide Area Network - small amounts of data can be transmitted over longer distances in an energy-saving way. Therefore, experts consider it to be one of the key technologies of the Internet of Things (IoT) and so-called Smart Cities. All panel participants and online viewers agreed at the event that the technology is currently developing from a smaller community of experts, spreading inexorably in German cities and, despite its low public profile, has already enormous application potential. 

Jens-Peter Seick, Project Manager Lemgo Digital, representing the Fraunhofer IOSB-INA research institute, firstly presented the technology from a scientific perspective. Dr. Neusel-Lange, Head of the Networks Division of Stadtwerke Bielefeld (public utility enterprise), and Miriam Mattiza, Head of the Digitisation Department of the City of Delbrück, provided an insight into the implementation status of LoRaWAN in their municipalities. Mrs. Mattiza participated together with Delbrück's project partner regio IT, represented by Simon Wilbertz. In his presentation, Mr. Wilbertz also raised two of the key questions for the future of LoRaWAN: "Cities will change in the context of their general public provisions, because many things will become simpler and restructured. This leads us to the question of who will shape change in cities: Do we, as local authorities, want to do this ourselves or do we want large companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Co. to take over the implementation, which is particularly controversial in terms of data security. In my opinion, the change towards the Smart City is solely in the hands of local authorities, especially because of the data sovereignty that we have to guarantee". 

From a company perspective, two well-known companies from OWL, Arvato and Phoenix Contact, presented their current LoRaWAN projects. The start-up Evomation from Bad Salzuflen showed why the technology is on the verge of entering the mass market. Particular attention was attracted by the international presentation: Markku Niemi, the person responsible for intelligent connectivity from Smart Tampere in Finland, one of the world's leading Smart City projects, joint the event. 

After the event, the result of the constructive exchange at the first interdisciplinary round table was formulated by Prof. Dr. Ingo Ballschmieter, Scientific Director Open Innovation City: "We have seen today that the digital networking of our cities is in full swing, the technology has been tested in many places and there are now concrete issues that need to be resolved on the way to the Smart City, especially in the area of data sovereignty and data protection. We at the Open Innovation City project are very pleased to take up the wish of the experts to discuss this topic in greater depth.” 

Dirk Ludewig from NerdStar UG moderated the event. 


Part 1 - 25.09.: Science and the future of cities 

  • 10:00 - 10:30: Welcome & Introduction - Prof. Dr. Ingo Ballschmieter, Scientific Director Open Innovation City, Fachhochschule des Mittelstands (FHM) - University of Applied Sciences-  
  • 10:30 - 11:00: Fraunhofer IOSB-INA: LoRaWAN- Technology, opportunities, outlook - Jens-Peter Seick (Project Manager Lemgo Digital, Fraunhofer IOSB-INA) 
  • 11:00 - 11:45: Smart City Tampere - Markku Niemi (Senior Business Advisor Smart Connectivity, Business Tampere) 
  • 11:45 - 12:15: Stadtwerke Bielefeld: Digitisation of Bielefeld using LoRaWAN  - Dr. Neusel-Lange (Head of Networks Division, Bielefeld Public Utilities) 
  • 12.15 - 12.45: City of Delbrück & RegioIT: LoRaWAN 2.0 - LoRaWAN in the municipality - Miriam Mattiza (Digitalisation Unit, City of Delbrück) & Simon Wilbertz (Project Manager/Consultant, RegioIT) 
  • 12:45 - 14:00: guided discussion round followed by lunch 

Part 2 - 25.09.: LoRaWAN @ Business 

  • 14:00 - 14:45: Arvato Bertelsmann: Urban Space Platform - Robert Teschendorf (Management and Process Consultant & Founder Urban Space Platform, Arvato Systems) 
  • 14:45 - 15:30: Phoenix Contact - Smart Street Lighting Solution - Fabian Pasimeni (Manager Infrastructure Applications & Projects, PHOENIX CONTACT Electronics GmbH) 
  • 15:30 - 16:15: Evomation / Leos Leiterplatten - Nodes / Peering vs. Roaming - LoRaWAN's Leap Into The Mass Market - Michael Meese (Co-Founder, Evomation - Meese & Sawatzki GbR) and Christian König (Managing Director, Leos Leiterplatten GmbH) 
  • 16:15 - 16:45: Round table discussion