The goal of bIoTope was to lay foundations for the creation of open innovation ecosystems by providing a platform that enables the easy creation of new IoT systems. We are glad to say the goal has been reached.
In several proof-of-concept implementations in 3 different cities, devices and systems from different domains were interconnected with relative ease using the bIoTope technologies. Some partners were even surprised by how simple it was to connect for example the BMW smart car dashboard system to the smart building automation system in the first phase of the Helsinki pilot.
In the bIoTope project different use cases were piloted. The Helsinki pilot focused first on connecting building automation systems to a smart car (contextual pre-heating), and proceeded later into the electric vehicle mobility domain. The goal was to explore solutions that would provide an alternative to the siloed charging service provider market.
In our vision the customer shouldn’t have to have a customer relation to every charging service provider but could charge in all facilities, regardless of the provider. We wanted to test an ecosystem that would allow for charging and parking services to be booked and paid for without registrations and from one single app. The pilot was successful and the technology provides now a platform for the publication of charging and parking services.
Parking and charging services
The culmination of the Helsinki pilot was the successful integration of parking services and Parkkisähkö’s charging points. Parking and charging services are highly interconnected in the case of electric vehicles; electrical cars need charging and parking often at the same time. This creates totally new use cases and business opportunities.
Additionally a simple web interface was implemented to allow the publication of private and residential parking spots.
bIoTope’s vision entails benefits for most players in the charging and parking domain.
1. SME (small and medium-sized enterprises)
With readily documented business models and technologies, the SME would have a proof-of-concept base and framework onto which to build its data-driven business.
Open data, especially in domains regarding public spaces such as parking and charging, is the future. Being able to make the most out of these assets can make a great difference.
From a city’s perspective facilitating the development of the charging and parking infrastructure is essential. Opening the data and incentivizing companies (e.g. through tenders) diversifies the market and creates innovation along with better infrastructure. Especially regarding electric vehicles, the lack of infrastructure is a sales bottleneck.
In enabling innovation, opening the data is key. For the first time datasets like Parkkihubi and Park&Ride were utilized for something they were not intended to. Open data can lead to all kinds of innovation, not yet foreseen.
3. Energy companies
For big and established companies, bIoTope offers the possibility for additional revenues and customer flow. Opening the data and publishing e.g. charging stations in additional platforms offers new revenue streams and the possibility for new data-driven business opportunities.
The business models (explained later) offer two different approaches with different engagement levels. In the easiest scenario, using the bIoTope technologies requires no allocated resources but provides extra revenues and data from which all kinds of business-enhancing analysis is possible.
The O-DF (Open Data Format) and O-MI (Open Messaging Interface) standards have been developed to facilitate interoperability between IoT devices and systems. O-MI defines the message parameters whereas O-DF specifies the content.
The bIoTope training site contains links to videos providing an overview of the bIoTope reference platform and explanations on how to implement the technologies. You will find the step to step instructions on how to create O-MI / O-DF wrappers for external data sources, how to set up a service catalog marketplace, how to create a connector for data visualisation using popular tools (e.g. Grafana) etc.
The documentation of the technologies can be found in the GitHub Repository. All the key bIoTope components, including security, privacy and trust, have been documented (except for the parking use case which you will find below). The bIoTope software site provides a concise list of descriptions.
The code for the integration of outside parking sources to an O-MI node and for a web interface for adding private parking can be found here: https://github.com/abpopasoft/parkki, https://github.com/abpopasoft/rfront
1. FaaS Function as a Service
The business model FaaS is based on the concept of serverless computing via serverless architecture. It is a relatively new term in software development.
The serverless concept can be leveraged by software developers to deploy individual ‘functions’ adhering to a given logic (e.g. business) without the need to create, maintain and scale the server infrastructure. FaaS is essentially an event-driven model: the specified code is executed when an event takes place. In the Helsinki pilot, such an event was for example having a new data entry.
In essence, FaaS can be seen to provide extra sales channels for actors with already existing services and platforms.
Not all potential service providers are willing to integrate fully with an outside ecosystem (see PaaS business model). In such a case, by giving their operational data or opening interfaces, the data providers get opportunities for further data utilisation (sales, analysis, advertising etc.)
In bIoTope, parking services are implemented into the ecosystem utilizing the FaaS model. Data providers such as Parkkihubi and Park&Ride are included in bIoTope ecosystem according to this implementation model.
2. PaaS Platform as a Service
In the business model PaaS, the company itself or a third-party host the necessary hardware and software needed by the customer to develop a new application. In the Helsinki use case, the company Parking Energy created, hosted and maintained an O-MI node integrated into the bIoTope ecosystem providing the necessary APIs for the translation and publication of customer data to the node as well as to allow further service development by outside parties.
In the model, anybody can set up a node and run smaller agent subprograms, which are responsible for any write or call requests that apply to their corresponding O-DF structures. Upon receiving a write or call request, the O-MI node passes it to the responsible agent that then performs the given action.
In the Helsinki Pilot the integration of Parkkisähkö’s charging spots follow these architectural principles of PaaS.
bIoTope project is carried out in 2016–2018 and it is funded through European Commission’s Horizon 2020 framework programme. The project has 22 partners from more than 10 countries and it is coordinated by Aalto University. The budget is just over nine million Euros.