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Case 20.03.2023

Creating carbon-neutral cities with reliable data

The DataMust project, which involves several companies and research organizations, has received EUR 2.1 million from Business Finland through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding program, which is part of the Sustainable Growth Program for Finland. The total budget of the project is EUR 4.1 million. The aim of the DataMust project is to accelerate carbon neutrality in the built environment, promote the development of secure solutions, and optimize the energy consumption of digital infrastructure.

Data Markets for sustainable cities

  • The project, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is developing new approaches to accelerate the commercialization and sharing of data generated on the edge of the network, focusing initially on use cases in the real estate and construction sector.
  • Funded by Business Finland and part of Nokia’s Veturi program, the joint project involves Sitowise Group Oyj, Cozify Oy, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Coba International Oy, Loihde Analytics Oy, nollaE Oy, and Nokia.
  • The project is partly funded by the Low Carbon Built Environment Program, which in turn is funded by the EU’s one-off recovery instrument. The total funding granted for the project is EUR 2,112,770. Of this amount, the aid is EUR 1,372,007 and the research grant is EUR 740,763
  • Project partners include the City of Espoo as well as Las Rozas Innova and Sacyr from Spain.

Low Carbon built environment: Innovation funding call

Photos: Sitowise Group Oyj

A huge amount of data is generated in the urban environment, but it is not utilized efficiently. The DataMust project develops the concept of data marketplaces based on edge computing in the built environment in collaboration between several companies. The research and development work would not be possible without the funding granted by Business Finland. The project also benefits from the new kind of data marketplace and edge computing that eliminate the need to transfer data from one place to another. In the future, the same technology will be applied to other smart city solutions.

“In practice, we use the funding to develop solutions that improve the energy efficiency of the built environment and data processing. Urban carbon neutrality goals require more extensive sharing and utilization of data. To promote this, we need to build trust between various operators. The energy consumption of digital infrastructure will be reduced by using data locally without transferring it to cloud services. Both goals are based on the concept of a decentralized and local data marketplace and the related data processing services",says Maija Federley, DataMust project leader at VTT.

The DataMust project is part of Nokia’s Veturi program and receives funding from Business Finland’s Low-Carbon Built Environment RRF innovation funding program. The RRF funding is part of the European Union’s recovery funding, which will be granted up to a total of EUR 500 million in 2021–2023. It promotes structural renewal in business and industry and the creation of a competitive edge based on Finnish companies’ sustainable solutions. The Low-Carbon Built Environment funding call is open until April 14, 2023.

DataMust is a Co-Innovation project: a joint project between several companies and research organizations. A total of six companies and one research organization are involved in the project.

In addition to funding, we offer a wide range of help and coaching..

“The starting point of Co-Innovation funding is that there is a problem in the market that companies want to solve. In this case, it was the utilization of large amounts of data,” says Sixten Sandström, Business Finland’s ecosystem lead.

“The solution must also have internationalization potential. In addition to funding, we naturally offer a wide range of help and coaching. As a small country, Finland is an excellent pilot market. We have technical expertise, and people are very ready and willing to use technology,” Sandström says.

Large amounts of data should be processed locally

More and more properties are generating plenty of data because they employ various sensors. Sensors can measure, for example, temperature fluctuations or air quality.

Design and consulting company Sitowise Oy is one of the parties to the DataMust project. Hannu Lammi, leader of the Sitowise project, says that the RRF funding received by the company is advancing their project effectively.

“Sitowise investigates data applications and designs solutions related to buildings and their environment. The aim is to make buildings cost-effective. We develop data-based applications that improve building technology solutions in areas such as energy efficiency and ventilation. Our customers are property owners and developers, which includes cities. We are investigating how they can utilize data to influence the energy efficiency of buildings and the infrastructure outside buildings, such as street maintenance,” explains Lammi.

The more data is uploaded to the cloud, the greater the energy consumption of data centers as they crunch data. Currently, 3% of the world’s energy production is used to run data centers – this is equivalent to about 50 nuclear power plants. However, even today, relatively conventional information technology has enormous computing power, and there is no need to transfer data to the cloud to ensure computing power. This means that data can be processed locally. This is called edge computing.

The aim of the DataMust project is to develop a method for sharing and utilizing data that is independent of individual information systems and technologies, and to investigate incentives for operators to join the data sharing ecosystem. Other sectors may also benefit from the project, which also has global export potential for Finnish companies.


Companies should overcome their prejudices

The backbone of the project is the Nokia Data Marketplace, which is a marketplace for reliable data. Instead of processing data, however, it only processes contracts between buyers and sellers of data. It is secured by blockchain, and the use of the data also leaves a digital footprint. Although there are reliable ways to share data, many companies still have their prejudices.

Organizations cling to their own data unnecessarily.

“Organizations cling to their own data unnecessarily. Often this benefits no one. This is why companies need to understand and have a model of what data can be shared and what is worth sharing in the first place. Companies need to see how data can benefit them in the long term and which data can be obtained elsewhere,” says Leader Juha Salmelin from Nokia.

Data is operational when its quality is sufficient and it has been commodified in the right manner. In addition, the data must not contain confidential personal information. This kind of data makes it possible to move towards more sustainable cities.

Low carbon built environment: innovation funding call

The Low-Carbon Built Environment Program of the Ministry of the Environment supports companies and other parties operating in Finland in the development of low-carbon solutions for the built environment with a total of EUR 40 million in 2021–2023. The funding calls are implemented by the Ministry of the Environment and Business Finland. Please take a look at the ongoing projects and participate in the events: