Expert article
Modifier 18 December 2020
by Willem van Winden

Digital innovations for Växjö: some first results and challenges of the DIACCESS project

Digital innovation
If a soccer field is covered with a thick layer of snow, it’s better to close it for use or remove the snow; otherwise the field gets broken and repairing costs a lot of public money. But how can the city administration know exactly when the time has come to close a field, or to remove the snow? The Swedish City of Växjö found a smart yet simple solution: put a sensor in the soccer pitch, that sends a signal to the responsible city department when the snow cover reaches a certain thickness; and then, just close the field. It sounds straightforward, but to make such approaches work, cities must put in place new types of organisational routines, systems and infrastructures.

As part of the DIACCESS project, Växjö (Sweden) set up a “Digital Lab” where these kind of innovations are developed. The Lab works in the service of the city: departments can approach the Lab with particular challenges or problems, to have it explore if there is a possible solution. But this does not mean that the lab will always develop something new. Petter Berg, leader of the Lab, underlines that many problems have already been solved elsewhere, and are available on the market by technology vendors. “A key role of the Lab is to look what smart solutions are already there, and analyse their suitability for the problem at hand; then we can advise the city departments what to buy”.

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