Smart Cities
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InterDigital, a mobile technology research and development company, announced the completion of the company-sponsored Smart@AC application challenge. The application challenge was part of its smart cities focused-project HotSprings (, spearheaded by InterDigital’s Innovation Partners Group and the Institute for Management Cybernetics e.V. (IfU) in Aachen, Germany.

“We are very pleased with the results of the challenge.  Over 100 individuals and 25 teams developed smart cities applications using the HotSprings innovation platform,” said Jeffrey Metzger, of InterDigital’s Innovations Partners Group.  “The challenge allowed us to explore methods to reduce the barriers to innovation that are inherent in existing IoT-related platforms for both application developers and data publishers.”

The final judging and award ceremony was held on the RWTH Aachen University campus with an audience made up of the challenge participants, partners, judges, and honored guests. The initial 25 teams were narrowed down to the top-rated six. The six finalists presented their applications and related business models in the final round to the judging committee, which was made up of representatives from the IfU, Innovation Partners, the City of Aachen, partners, and local entrepreneurs.

After significant deliberation the top placed teams were determined to be:

  • First place – Team “SoNah”.  Team SoNah designed a novel sensor and image recognition-based parking space search application.  The application allows parking seekers to find available parking spaces via their smart devices.  The team, in partnership with local businesses, will go live with their application in Aachen with the longer term goal of a geographically broader deployment given the portable nature of their system.
  • Second place – Team R.A.L.P.H.  Team R.A.L.P.H. developed a practical life organization application which consolidates IoT data from many disparate sources and applications, such as the city bus schedule, into one application specifically targeted to university student users in the near term, with a future goal of targeting the broader population.
  • Third place – Team Study Spots.  Team Study Spots created a space occupancy detection application using devices registered on Wi-Fi Access Points.

The other finalist teams, CocoaHeads, Aix, and Synaix, were also highlighted for their outstanding contributions, making the jury’s final selection very challenging.

The organizers were also happy to thank challenge partners the City of Aachen, Aachener Verkehrsverbund GmbH, AWA GmbH, Cambio, Freifunk, RWTH Aachen University, Velocity, APAG, The Catholic Diocese of Aachen, tom’tom Design, and Interactive Pioneers.  All of the challenge partners shared both live and static data related to their operations as well as insight and support to the teams and organizers of this smart cities challenge. “We are grateful to our partners who worked closely with us over the last 6 months. As a community, we all benefited from the collaboration and developed an awareness of what is possible when making our city smarter in this way,” said Dr. Max Haberstroh, HotSprings IfU Project Manager.

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