The link to reality
The Smart City Box is much more than just a control box with inner workings. The Bad Pyrmont location is home to the masterminds, experts and engineers who are working on solutions for smart cities. Christoph Hülsmann is one of them.
He explains what is special about the box: “Above all, it’s the universality. Actually, all other providers have their own solutions ready for their specific applications, whether water treatment plants, traffic planners, weather or warning systems. The problem, as is so often the case, is the possibility of networking the data silos with each other. If these were evaluated and then merged into an overall data structure, truly smart applications would result. And that’s exactly what our box can do.”
The 46-year-old solution engineer points to a test system on his own desk. A video camera is connected to a Smart City Box. On the monitor that reads out the data from the box, vehicles can be seen being recorded in different grids. “We have recently been working intensively on smart lighting control for cities and are now installing these solutions around the world. Another major topic is traffic detection. Here, we don’t just determine where something is. We also have to reliably detect what it is. To do this, we use artificial intelligence, which we program into our control system.”
The expert emphasizes that this type of recording and recognition is not about creating personal profiles, as critics often complain. “We’re not interested in license plates or faces. We are concerned with contextual data throughout the technology. We need information, of course, so that connected systems can respond. But individualizing data doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that information is available in time to trigger automated processes.”
Hülsmann strokes “his” Smart City Box. “At its heart, of course, is our PLCnext Technology, which is super modular and which we can adapt to almost anything. And we have enormous communication possibilities thanks to our other developments, whether WLAN, radio or fiberglass. The box is really a gateway for smart cities.” Christoph Hülsmann has only one criticism: “We’ll make it much smaller. Then it will be even more beautiful.”