KW 12: Smart cities are being privatized in Japan, New funding initiative for smart cities wants to beat the Covid crisis, Telekom publishes “Magenta SmartHome” app version 6.3


Smart cities are being privatized in Japan: Two smart city projects in Japan are currently providing a chilling example of the price that cities and municipalities may have to pay for digital progress. There, a project that had aimed to improve the lives of all residents as a communal service is becoming privatized by a few „global players“. The car manufacturer Toyota, for example, laid the foundation stone for its “Woven City” smart city at the end of February. It is to become a kind of “open-air laboratory” for technologies and ways of life of the future – but it is aimed at the needs of the car company and not that of all residents. In some areas of Tokyo, privatization under the command of local firms has already been completed.

New funding initiative for smart cities wants to beat the Covid crisis: Germany would profit immensely from a well functioning digital infrastructure – the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that much. It is no coincidence then that this year’s new edition of the nationwide funding initiative “Smart Cities” is taking place under the motto “Together out of the crisis: Room for the future”. A total of 300 million euros are in the funding pot and are intended to benefit municipalities that want to boost digitization in their area. One of the first applicants is the city of Delmenhorst near Bremen, which is applying for financial support of 1.4 million euros for the “Smart City DEL – digital Skills” project.

Telekom publishes “Magenta SmartHome” app version 6.3: Telekom has updated its smart home app. Version 6.3 has moved the „Add devices“ command from the settings area to the main navigation of the start page. In addition, heating profiles can now be created that complement the previous division of only „home / on the road“ and thus provide users with more options for automated heating. The app also supports a large number of new smart devices such as the Miele warming drawer or the Miele vacuum robot.

Halle is applying for Smart City pilot project: The German city of Halle an der Saale in Saxony-Anhalt wants to become a digitization pioneer. To this end, mayor Bernd Wiegand wants the city to take part in the federal “smart cities” competition. Funding of up to 2.5 million euros a year is tempting. In the east of Halle, which is characterized by heavy commercial use, innovative and digital instruments for the future-oriented design of commercial areas could be extremely helpful. Wiegand has an eye on the development of a data-supported, digital commercial space monitoring system with benefits for investors and residents.

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According to figures from Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the data volume used on the internet was around 76 billion gigabytes, 16 billion more than in 2019.


How energy savings can be optimized through smart gadgets: How big the savings in energy consumption in smart homes really are is controversial. Critics accuse the technology of being ultimately even more resource-intensive due to the digitization of formerly analog areas of life. The fact is that the greatest potential for saving energy lies in the hands and behavior of people. In an investigation of various areas of application of smart home gadgets such as smart meters, however, the “Spiegel” newspaper found that if used correctly, the technological helpers can very well draw attention to old resource-guzzling habits and thus make an environment-saving difference.

Alexa is now an inspector: Smart devices such as loudspeakers or fitness wristbands are now an integral part of the investigation of criminal offenses. The gadgets can provide important evidence, as they record a large number of data and sounds live and inconspicuously. For investigators, the information is literally worth its weight in gold. In police circles, for example, the term “smart place” is sometimes used instead of “crime scene”. “There is a trend that electronic devices and things connected to the internet are becoming more and more part of our everyday lives. We have decided that we as the police have to react to it, ”said Juriaan Kettner from the State Criminal Police Office (LKA) in Schleswig-Holstein, who reacted to this trend early and in 2019 set up a competence center for digital tracing.

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„digital@KA is a multifunctional app that will offer people and the city in Karlsruhe a platform to use both urban citizen services and private-sector mobile applications. In plain language: digital@KA will be the first digital public institution in Germany.“
Karlsruhe mayor Frank Mentrup in an interview about how the city has succeeded in establishing itself as a pioneer in the digitalization of administration throughout Germany.


Hyped Luca app with a central weak point: The Luca contact tracing app has been gaining in popularity in Germany ever since rapper Smudo promoted it. The app is already seen by some as a significantly better alternative to the Covid-19 warning app created by the state. More and more cities and federal states are relying on the app. In fact, the benefits of tracking are hard to deny. However, critics accuse Luca of not being able to keep its most important security promises – anonymity and data protection. Researchers at EPFL University in Lausanne have shown in a comprehensive study that the security and data protection system is essentially based only on trust. All security features depend on Luca’s central server and the people accessing it behaving correctly.

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