It is well known that a good indoor climate has a huge impact on the well-being and learning of children and young people. This is precisely the challenge that the Danish IT company Leapcraft has taken up. They are behind the sensor, Ambinode, which measures all the parameters that are important for the indoor climate. This applies to everything from air quality to sound and light levels.
Ambinode is used in a number of English schools and is part of the Clean Air School District (CAST) project. Here, Leapcraft not only provides hardware and software as well as the data analysis needed to support schools. They have also designed a guide for teachers to use the indoor climate data correctly while focusing on indoor climate in their teaching.
Since indoor climate is a universal thing, it is obvious to export the hardware and software across borders. But connecting a sensor is not without challenges, as European cities do not necessarily use the same standards and technical platforms.
Leapcraft has therefore been part of the EU project SynchroniCity, which over the past three years has developed a common and open smart city platform. According to Vinay Venkatraman, CEO and founder of Leapcraft, this has made it much easier to scale their sensor. He explains:
The biggest benefit of the collaboration is that it allows us to scale our solution quickly across new markets. The common data platform makes our solution work seamlessly, and it has great value for a company at our stage where we have a mature product that needs to be scaled up quickly.
Tested in three cities
The purpose of SynchroniCity has just been to show that you can scale in many cities and across organizations, explains Thomas Gilbert, Senior Software / ICT Engineer at the Alexandra Institute. He has been a mentor for Leapcraft and has helped implement their solution in the shared platform. Specifically, it has been tested that the sensor now operates in three cities, namely Helsinki, Antwerp and Carouge in Switzerland.
This means that Leapcraft can now push a button, and so their sensor also works in the 21 other cities participating in the project and running on the same open platform. There is, of course, a business perspective in that, with access to a much larger market, he says, elaborating:
It goes both ways after all. After all, cities must also be tempted to use these open standards-compliant platforms. It is therefore important that, as a city, you demand that these standards be met when demanding and providing solutions in the smart city area.
The reference platform is free. All you have to pay for is implementation and operation if you need it. There have been 50 so-called “pilot trials” in the project, which have gone from not complying with any standard to today’s compliance with the same standard. The pilot trials range from measuring air to handling parking and waste.
Thomas Gilbert hopes that the reference architecture can be a beacon for other cities to develop and develop the smart city area:
We have shown that these cities can run on it. It also means that you can scale it out all over the world. After all, not everyone has a smart city platform yet, but there are many who have a strategy for getting it, and I hope they will take a look at SynchroniCity and see that it can actually do well .
See also features from Kokkedal School when the CNN television station visited the school to see how they measure air quality with the Ambinode sensor.