KW 24: Thuringia wants mobility center in Gera, Conrad uses digital gatekeeper instead of security, Coronavirus and its impact on smart city projects


Thuringia wants mobility center in Gera: German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer wants Germany’s new mobility center to be located in Munich. 500 million euros will be made available through the center to research future mobility and topics such as smart cities. According to Thuringia’s Environment Minister Anja Siegesmund, the city of Gera is also a possible location for such a center. The German state already boasts a competence center for autonomous driving, which presented a self-driving bus last year. Other mobility projects in East Thuringia such as environmentally friendly ceramic batteries developed by the Fraunhofer Institute Hermsdorf also show the attractiveness of the region.

Augmented reality is becoming more important: Although the technical possibilities for linking and automating processes haven’t been exhausted, many experts have announced the next revolution under the heading “Industry 5.0”. Augmented reality will play a central role in this. There is growing interest in IoT devices that are merging the real and virtual worlds, particularly in logistics and goods processing. Experts predict an AR boom.

Conrad uses digital gatekeeper instead of security: The Conrad electronics store in Berlin is using a digital gatekeeper to check how many people are in the store at the same time and, if necessary, to ask people to wait. The system was developed by Conrad Connect and the Karlsruhe start-up smart city Solutions. “With the digital gatekeeper, we can easily comply with the officially prescribed maximum limits and are quickly and comprehensively informed about the current number of customers,” says Jochen Mädler, branch manager of Conrad Electronic in Berlin Schöneberg. The system works without cameras and is GDPR compliant, according to Andreas Bös, Vice-President at Conrad Connect.

Security expert warns of outdated root certificates on smart devices: According to security expert Scott Helme, many smart and IoT devices that aren’t supplied with updates or cannot handle newer root certificates will have to deal with expired root certificates in the next few years. “Some certification bodies have been around for a very long time, we’re talking about 20 to 25 years! This means that some of the original root certificates out there are nearing the end of their natural lives, their time is almost up”, said Helme. Users don’t even need a software update to fix the problem. It is enough if the manufacturers replace the so-called root stores of a device.

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The Chinese government invested $577 million in the development of intelligent robots in 2019.


Coronavirus and its impact on smart city projects: Local government debt and the coronavirus pandemic could have a negative impact on the financing of smart city projects in many German cities. On the other hand, the virus crisis could lead to an additional innovation boost thanks to topics such as digital administration. In order for these approaches to be continued, the cities will receive an additional 500 million euros for smart city projects as part of the government’s economic stimulus package. Jan Fritz Rettberg, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the city of Dortmund, emphasized the importance of digital administration in the crisis: “If we do not invest in the digital infrastructure now, it will break our necks in the next crisis”. Such issues are “indispensable for a city”. Gunther Czisch, Mayor of the City of Ulm, which is already funded by the interior ministry as part of the smart cities program, warns against the need to cut back urgently needed investments due to the crisis, but also points out: “A crumbling bridge precedes broadband expansion”.

Open data standards important for smart city: The smart city of the future needs a data platform that links all subject areas, from mobility to telecommunications. Open data standards should be used to ensure the most efficient exchange and independence from certain manufacturers. If this is guaranteed, such a data platform could offer numerous options from the visualization of neighborhoods to predicting energy requirements or controlling traffic in combination with artificial intelligence. Hamburg and the Chinese metropolis of Hangzhou, among others, show what such a platform could look like.


“I am convinced that we will achieve our ambitious goal of positioning the Hanseatic city of Lübeck as a model region for digital networking and also offering a comprehensive range of smart city services for other municipalities.”
Jens Meier, Managing Director of Stadtwerke Lübeck Holding GmbH, on the cooperation between MACH AG and TraveKom, a subsidiary of the Stadtwerke-Lübeck Group, on smart city projects.


Smart bike lock with GPS: At least 280,000 bicycles were stolen in Germany last year. In 2018, only around 10 percent of the thefts were cleared up. A new smart bike lock, the iLockit GPS, is supposed to remedy the situation. It is particularly suitable for short stops, as it can close automatically via bluetooth. The distances from which the lock opens or closes can be set manually. If the lock is removed by force or the bike is carried away, a loud alarm sounds and the owner of the lock receives a message on his cell phone.

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