Get to know our colleague Catrin Braun – Smart city expert at Deutsche Telekom
What I do
I work as a smart city expert for Deutsche Telekom IoT.
My task is to make cities fit for the future. This is necessary because more and more people are moving to cities and cities are bursting at the seams: too much traffic, constant traffic jams, so much trash, and poor air quality.
To ensure that the people can lead good lives while living so closely together, we need new ideas for existing infrastructure. Smart cities and the Internet of Things may provide the answer. The objective: cities and regions must conserve resources, become more sustainable, and defy climate change.
Therefore, my team develops digital solutions that reduce energy consumption, optimize traffic flow, and enable efficient management. And all of this combined, increases the quality of life of our citizens.
Why I do what I do
The quality of life of a city heavily depends on how easy it is to get from A to B, how long you spend in traffic jams, and how long it takes you to find a parking spot. In the Smart City Unit, we are constantly looking for new ways to improve mobility in large and small cities as well in as rural areas.
And I would like to present two of our “mobility” solutions:
For people who live in the countryside and commute to the city, public transport is often an unattractive option as they don’t know whether they will be able to find a space to park their car at a park-and-ride station. In the Hanover region, our sensors monitor whether the park-and-ride spaces are occupied or not, this information is aligned with public transport. As a result, commuters have an attractive alternative to traveling by car and a seamless route can be planned.
On a test path right in the middle of Berlin, vehicles communicate with each other as well as with sensors located on the edge of the road, on lampposts, or on traffic lights. The vehicles detect weather conditions, free parking spaces, and changes to the traffic light color and are managed in such a manner that they have to stop as infrequently as possible. This reduces emissions and improves the entire traffic flow.
Our big objectives
We are motivated by the positive consequences of our projects. Let’s take climate change as an example.
Climate protection is one of the central challenges of our generation. Cities are responsible for 75 percent of global energy use. This means that we know where we need to do more – the cities.
Our intelligent lampposts are one answer to this problem. We are upgrading lampposts to energy-efficient LED lighting. Now, the light can be dimmed and is only activated when someone is on the road/sidewalk. In doing so, smart lampposts reduce energy consumption and the CO2 emissions of a city.
Equipped with sensors or camera, smart lampposts provide data on air quality and traffic. This data is transmitted to an urban data platform. Algorithms evaluate them and calculate the level of pollutants. With this information as a foundation, those responsible for the cities can make better decisions on how to make them better to live in.