The physical appliances we use in our daily life are increasingly becoming connected to the internet. This phenomenon is known as the Internet of Things (IoT), and digital services such as IoT are expected to play a crucial role in the renewal of the construction industry and to improve performance and quality.

In cooperation with Lyngby-Taarbæk City of Knowledge and IoT Denmark, DTU Civil Engineering is currently testing the new Sigfox technology, as part of a move to make Lyngby a test laboratory for new IoT technology solutions. The partnership is a common venture supported by the City of Knowledge & Urban Creativity association, which is a partnership between the municipality, private companies, research and educational institutions, associations, and citizens.

What is Sigfox?
Sigfox is a wireless data network which has just been launched in Denmark. In Lyngby, Sigfox will initially be used to optimize the use of the Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality’s cars.
“With these sensors, we can detect whether we are utilizing our fleet efficiently and thus can optimize usage based on actual needs—not on what we think is needed. With IoT technology, we thus hope to save both time and money using a relatively inexpensive method.

Having Sigfox coverage here, enables Lyngby to become an epicentre in Denmark for the development of IoT where new products can be tested ‘in real life’ before they are launched onto the market,” says Jakob Sylvest-Nielsen, Center Manager for Citizens’ Services and Digitization in the Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality.

Test Lab and operational networks in one
Two antennas are located on top of Lyngby Storcenter shopping mall and DTU, respectively. The two antennae ensure that Lyngby is fully covered by the Sigfox signal, and can thus be used as a laboratory and fully operational network for businesses and knowledge institutions working with the development of products within IoT.

The system that is used to analyze the data collected by the IoT-network is based at DTU Civil Engineering. This is done via a cloud-infrastructure, which the research center, Center for IT-Intelligent Energy Systems in Cities, (CITIES), has built up for conducting research on big data, among other things. Alfred Heller, Associate Professor at DTU Civil Engineering, Deputy Center Manager for CITIES and contact for the City of Knowledge explains.

“Our task in the project is to collect and analyse the data from Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality’s cars, which the IoT network collects. Our analyses will subsequently be taken into account as part of the municipality´s decision-making process when they need to adjust the use of their cars. In the long term, other types of data from the city could also be included in similar analyses,” explains Alfred Heller.

IoT could make a great impact on the construction industry
In time, the IoT-network which the City of Knowledge & Urban Creativity is currently testing, could have considerable significance for the construction industry. The use of wireless sensors, cloud services and other digital services will play a vital role in the necessary renewal of the construction sector by improving building performance and quality,” says Alfred Heller.

“The role it plays will become clear when IoT systems are used to collect data from buildings in the municipality, etc. It is expected that, in the future, up to 40 per cent of all IoT sensors will be installed in building structures of various kinds. It is, therefore, important that the building sector takes the lead. It will do this by participating in projects such as the one in Lyngby,” assesses Alfred Heller.