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Scandinavian Smart Comfort: $12,000 Per One House

Ann Sotnikova

Prospects for the development of smart city are rapidly gaining popularity and cause huge interest. However, like everything new, this topic has a lack of understanding by many aspects, which can only be overcome by experts. At open debate on “Education, science and emerging technologies” held in Moscow Bitnewstoday.com interviewed one of the speakers — Silje BAREKSTEN, Head of Smart City Oslo Business Region.

Smart city and smart house in particular provide users all necessary for comfortable and carefree live. But how much will it cost to live in such a house on average?

This will probably depend very much where in the world you live and the self-cost of that technology. Because if you think about, for example, smart houses the technology we use in these systems today are things you can buy in a store and are not necessarily expensive. In Norway it’s getting more and more popular, you know, to make sure that you can administrate your light and the temperature and keep track of the moisture in your house etc. I think that while buying regular smart house system in Norway you can spend around 10 000 - 12 000 norwegian krone ($1700 — author's note). And the most expensive one can be probably around 100 000 ($12 000 — author's note) norwegian krone.

You’re Head of Smart City Oslo Business Region. Maybe you can tell about some projects you’ve released?

One of the most interesting projects have been the one that I mentioned briefly, which is the accelerative program. It is probably one of the country’s first (if not the world’s first) accelerative program to connect the public sector with the private sector. And when I say “the private sector” I talk about the base of community. So, the whole idea behind this program is to help the city to get an idea of what smart city technology kind is there presented in their innovation ecosystem, and also to share some of the most important challenges for the Municipality for the city of Oslo with that ecosystem to be fixed and get their help to solve this predicaments on the highest technological level.

While looking at the world in general, what country do you think will be the first to show real absolutely smart cities?

Of course, we already have some really smart cities around the world: Seoul, Singapore and Oslo in many ways are very smart cities if you think about their using and applying technology to make life seamless for their citizens. But we do have also really interesting and perhaps even a bit scary projects. For example, in Saudi Arabia where the world’s biggest smart city is being built from the scratch by the Red Sea. And this is an interesting project for many aspects. Will it be a place of constant surveillance? Will it be stable? Is the sustainability a part of it and being taken care off? I don’t know. But it’s going to be very curious to see what we’ll have out of that.

You said that Oslo in many ways is a very smart city. Can you name the brightest examples of its smartness?

One thing that is extremely nice with Oslo in terms of smartness is its public transport system. First of all, we have a very simple system where you have ticketless journey, so you don’t have to buy a ticket, you can have it in your app. And you can have it on your phone. and if you switch a phone you can transfer your ticket to keep it with you. It’s very simple and convenient and you can use it almost for any transport in Oslo. Also, the mobility system is very well built out. We have a very well functioning metro and the buses that run in biofuel and on electricity. We’re working on testing autonomous buses that will go to different places in the city. 

- It is also a good example that in Oslo we have very nice systems for handling wastes. Namely wastes from households of private persons, so this is kind of smart in the term of technology cared along with habits because we have done a very good job in Oslo with getting people to recycle. So people recycle all their waste: paper, metal and other kinds of litter, and now we have a huge robotic system when you put a waste in, it takes the wastes apart and as much as possible is getting recycled, a lot can be taken to become biofuel and the rest is taken to be burnt. So it’s burned in such a chambers and used for heating buildings.

While speaking about smart city we deal with an awesome system including huge number of devices which are interconnected. So, there is a huge amount of data circulating there. Can you approximately say how many terabytes of information can circulate in such system on average?

I think we’re going to expect amounts of data we can’t even grasp today. And I think more interesting and meaningful is not the amount of data but the way we are going to collect it.

Is there any limited objects that cannot be included in these systems?

So, if you detect smart city as a system of interconnected devices there is almost no limit. We are at the point where you could connect your chair or your shoe or your headset — everything.

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