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Karlsruhe: smart, digital & networked

In Karlsruhe, digitalization is thought of as a holistic, cross-locational and agile process. The fact that the fan-shaped city is one of the most digital cities in Germany is highlighted, among other things, by the 3rd place in Bitkom´s Smart City Index 2021. The digital association analysed 81 major German cities in the categories administration, IT and communication, energy and environment, mobility and society, and ranked Karlsruhe third behind Hamburg and Cologne.

Among 35 pioneer cities, Karlsruhe is the only german city that is part of the G20 Global Smart City Alliance of the World Economic Forum. The Alliance establishes and advances global policy norms to help accelerate best practices, mitigate potential risks, and foster greater openness and public trust.

The Smart City Karlsruhe is characterized by numerous projects in the fields of mobility, administration, infrastructure, energy, as well as cultural and creative industries and much more. When it comes to their implementation, Karlsruhe can count on a large network of stakeholders and expertise from the local digital industry.

Augmented History App ‘Stadtgeist’

‘Stadtgeist’ Karlsruhe: the app for the curious

The Karlsruhe ‘Stadtgeist’ Augmented History App is a free service provided by the city for its citizens and visitors with stories from, with and about Karlsruhe. The app makes it easy to explore the fan-shaped city on your own with your smartphone. More than 100 exciting video and audio contributions await you at numerous city landmarks, opening up new perspectives on the past and future of Karlsruhe. The app is designed for people who live in Karlsruhe or visit the fan-shaped city and want to go on an exciting discovery tour with their smartphone.

A highlight: with the support of Karlsruhe’s citizens, new city districts and their stories are included in the app. After the city centre, separate city brands for Knielingen followed in 2018. Currently, the citizens of Durlach are working on exciting content for the expansion of the app to include Karlsruhe’s largest city district.

The Stadtgeist app is available free of charge for iPhone (iPhone4s and above), Android or Windows-Phone.

The Augmented History App with stories about Karlsruhe has been available since 2015. In cooperation with the City of Karlsruhe’s Science Office, the concept was implemented within the framework of the SmarterCity initiative of the Economic Development Department together with the developing company bluehands GmbH & Communication KG.

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Participation Portal City of Karlsruhe

What does the participation portal offer?

On the citizen participation portal of the City of Karlsruhe, citizens have the opportunity to inform themselves about and participate in urban participation projects, to share experiences and suggestions for the development of their city and district with others, or to ask questions to the Mayor.

In addition, the portal announces dates of municipal events where citizens can get information and participate on the spot. An overview of completed projects also provides an opportunity to follow up on earlier decisions.

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Bunte Nacht der Digitalisierung

Making digitalization visible and tangible

On 11 October 2019, the concept of the “Bunte Nacht der Digitalisierung” – meaning “Colourful Night of Digitalization” – was implemented for the first time by the initiative. About 100 partners created 220 program items with the aim of making digitalization in Karlsruhe visible and tangible. This was met with great interest among the approximately 6,000 visitors. After the grand opening in the city hall, the decentralized program started at various hotspots of digitalization throughout the city. Whether it was lectures for interested professionals, hands-on workshops, a celebration for employees and their families and friends – each partner designed its own program. In the end, all guests were invited to round off the #DigitaleNachtKA at the joint closing event at ZKM.

After the premiere in October 2019, the “Bunte Nacht der Digitalisierung” shall be held every year in the future.

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‘digital@KA’ project

Karlsruhe.App: The multi-functional app for all citizens

The new multi-functional app is intended to combine city and other useful products and services and make everyday life of citizens easier. The concept won an award in the state competition ‘Digitale Zukunftskommune@bw’. The project is thus an important milestone for Karlsruhe on the way to becoming a smart city. Under the working title ‘digital@KA’, a platform is currently being created that will centrally pool existing mobile Karlsruhe services, news and services relating to culture and leisure activities. Existing mobile services related to Karlsruhe will be used centrally and can be customised according to preference.

In this way, it should be possible for citizens to use both municipal citizen services and other products provided by the City of Karlsruhe as well as offers from commercial operators via one single app.

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DigitalLab: the digital laboratory of the City of Karlsruhe

The City of Karlsruhe’s Office for IT Services and Digitalization launched Germany’s first DigitalLab in a city administration. It constitutes an integral part of the local structures and is integrated in into the administration’s routine processes.

Developed in close cooperation with Strategiemanufaktur, the DigitalLab will become an internal accelerator of the city’s digitalization, combining five aspects:

  • A hub for digitalization
  • Workspace in which new forms of work are tested
  • Showroom for new technologies
  • Room for start-ups in Residence
  • Place of innovation, creativity, testing and design
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Digital Tourist Information

Digital Tourist Information in the heart of the fan-shaped city

When you enter the new tourist information centre at Kaiserstraße 72-74, you will immediately notice some interesting facts and figures about Karlsruhe on three large monitors. The huge flat screens hang conspicuously on the wall next to the entrance area and invite visitors to take a multimedia tour of the fan-shaped city. Just a few days after the opening, the screens at the City Information Wall (CI Wall) have already become the top attraction of the information centre called ‘Karlsruhe Showcase’.

On 250 square metres, visitors can obtain information about the cultural offers and excursion destinations in the region or put together an individual city tour for their smartphone.
Thanks to its modern technology and the intuitive operation of the individual multimedia terminals, the Karlsruhe Showcase is also a further milestone on Karlsruhe’s path to becoming the driving force for digitalization.

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Karlsruhe’s Geoportal: the digital map information system

Geodata is digital information that can be assigned a specific spatial position on the earth’s surface. Services and applications with geodata are provided via a geoportal, so that diverse information can be accessed in the form of background maps, points of interest (POIs), thematic maps and specialized plans. The City of Karlsruhe offers various applications as ‘web apps’, which automatically adapt to the display of the respective device. This means that they can be used via the Internet browser on all common desktop PCs, tablets and smartphones.

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KA-Feedback: the service with which Karlsruhe residents help their city

With KA Feedback you can report problems. Be it potholes, defective street lighting, pavement damage on the sidewalk or broken glass in the children’s playground. Any damage is gratefully recorded and repaired by the City of Karlsruhe.

And this is how it works:
Simply register with your smartphone, any mobile device or from your desktop. Then enter the report, using an online form and send it off.

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KA mobil

KA mobil: well informed. Arrive relaxed.

As an ideal complement to the mobility portal, the City of Karlsruhe offers the ‘KA mobil’ app. The app, which can be used free of charge, provides access to the latest traffic data – even from mobile devices. ‘KA mobil’ displays the most important information on traffic events as well as on traffic jams, road works or current car park occupancy. Anyone travelling by bus or train gets a live overview of the departure times and routes or finds the nearest bus stop.

The app is available for iOS and Android devices.

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Public KA-WLAN

KA-WLAN is a free Internet service for Karlsruhe available in numerous public places. Whether using a smartphone, tablet or laptop – you can surf the Internet at no charge at these locations, for as long as you like and with no limits on the volume of data. The number of hotspots is continually increasing as well.

No registration is required for KA-WLAN. Simply connect your mobile device with the “KA-WLAN” network and you can start surfing straight away, but in this case the connection is unencrypted.

KA-sWLAN – encrypted public WLAN
KA-sWLAN enables you to surf securely when using the public WLAN service. KA-sWLAN is available wherever KA-WLAN is provided. Once you’ve registered online, KA-sWLAN establishes an encrypted connection to the public WLAN’s access point, similar to the system you’re familiar with at home. This keeps your sensitive data safe from external access.

KA-WLAN is a joint project of INKA e.V., CyberForum e.V. and the Science Office of the City of Karlsruhe.

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LoRaWAN Karlsruhe

LoRaWan „Long Range Wide Area Network“

The Karlsruhe Municipal Utilities are currently building a nationwide infrastructure to cover the entire city area with the internationally standardised radio technology “Long Range Wide Area Network” (LoRaWAN). LoRaWAN offers a cost-effective and energy-saving way to intelligently network Karlsruhe: from parking sensors to indoor humidity meters and remote radio monitoring of transformer stations.

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Mobility Portal

Mobility Portal: this is how the traffic around Karlsruhe works

Is traffic smooth or slow-moving? What about parking or changing trains? These and many more questions are answered by the overview map of the online mobility portal as a German-wide unique service for citizens. Those interested can obtain information at no charge and mainly in real-time on current traffic situation, current car park occupancy or departure times of buses and trams.

The information platform pools all information on motor vehicle and bicycle traffic, public transport and multimodal mobility. It is fed by traffic data from the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland- Palatinate and the French Collectivité européenne d’Alsace. The traffic flow is updated every three minutes and webcams provide an insight into the traffic situation. E-charging stations, parking spaces for the disabled, parking ticket or resident parking zones as well as the current occupancy of the multi-storey car parks are also available via the service. Information on ferry connections with a link to the timetables and an overview of bike rental or car-sharing stations complete the offer.

This ‘info package’, which was launched in 2010 as a project of the city, was originally brought forward by Karlsruhe and has since developed into a cross-border mobility platform. The portal reaches about two million people. Thus Karlsruhe TechnologyRegion’s online mobility planning is unique in Germany.

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regiomove: The mobility project for Karlsruhe and the region

regiomove is a pilot project running until the end of 2020. The aim of the regiomove app is to link the existing transport offer of Karlsruhe with that of the surrounding area and thus the whole Middle Upper Rhine region. No matter if train, bus, rental bike or car sharing. No matter if rural or urban. They are all integrated into a network that transforms the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV) into a mobility network.

regiomove is a lighthouse project of the TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe and among the TOP3 at the German Sustainability Award.

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Karlsruhe SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE: discover, experience, be a part of it

The “Karlsruhe SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE” – meaning the “Castle Light Show” – take place annually from the beginning of August to mid-September. Video art installations cover the entire facade of Karlsruhe Castle and can be admired by thousands of visitors every evening at no charge.

From 5 August to 13 September 2020, the Karlsruhe SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE will, for the first time, take place completely virtually, but will be globally accessible. As soon as larger gatherings can be held again without any restrictions, by respecting certain conditions and by taking appropriate measures, the SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE will return to the ‘real world’ and can once again be experienced in public space.

Find out more about the Karlsruhe SCHLOSSLICHTSPIELE

Smart East - Digitisation towards the Energiewende

The Smart East real laboratory brings the Energiewende to the city

Within the three-year Smart East lighthouse project, a consortium of research institutions, IT and energy companies is realising a smart neighbourhood in Karlsruhe East. The project started in 2021 and is funded by the Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy in Baden-Württemberg.

At the Smart East living lab, the mixed industrial area in Karlsruhe’s Oststadt on Haid-Und-Neu-Strasse will be transformed into a smart, energy-optimised and climate-friendly neighbourhood. Its areas of operation are: Digitalisation, climate protection, photovoltaics, tenant electricity, smart charging management, new business models and participation.

Existing buildings are being digitised by smart meters and integrated into a neighbourhood energy management system. In parallel, power generation through photovoltaics will be expanded and supplemented with a smart charging infrastructure to link the electricity, heating, cooling and mobility sectors. With tenant electricity and smart charging, the Stadtwerke are testing new business models for climate-friendly neighbourhood energy supply through their subsidiary BES (Badische Energie-Servicegesellschaft).

The living lab project serves as a blueprint for other municipalities. The findings are presented to a broad public through regular user meetings.

Project partners: KIT Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, FZI – Research Centre for Information Technology, Seven2one Informationssysteme GmbH, Stadtwerke Karlsruhe, Hoepfner Bräu

Smart East

Smart Traffic Management System

Smart Traffic Management System relieves Karlsruhe city centre

During the Advent season, the Civil Engineering Office uses a dynamic guidance system to control the volume of traffic in the city centre according to the situation and direct the vehicles to alternative routes. The creation of the corresponding intelligent infrastructure was developed and implemented by Karlsruhe’s municipal utilities and tested at the city festival in October 2019.

At six locations along main roads, LED panels show how the city centre can be reached most efficiently and in the most environmentally friendly way. For this purpose, the system directs drivers to the park and ride parking spaces, depending on the traffic situation. Several data sources feed the Smart City platform. The municipal utilities use various data sources to determine the traffic situation. At three relevant locations, they installed so-called detection cameras that use thermal images to record traffic flow and analyse whether traffic jams are forming. No individuals or vehicle number plates are captured.

All of the data recorded converge on a Smart City platform. The real time occupancy data of various car parks provided by the City of Karlsruhe is also incorporated here. The platform processes the data and controls the variable signalling devices, i.e. the LED signs at the roadside.

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Digital, networked, smart – SMIGHT’s IoT solutions make Karlsruhe ready for the future

The city of the future must face new challenges. SMIGHT knows what is important in the transformation to a Smart City.

The beginning: a multifunctional street light
In 2014, EnBW’s corporate start-up came up with the idea of developing a street lamp that can do more than just shine. Since 2015, the result – two multifunctional street lamps – can be found amongst others on the Karlsruhe Turmberg. They feature energy-saving LED lights and serve as charging stations for electric vehicles. They are also equipped with an emergency call button and sensors for recording environmental data. Above the roofs of Karlsruhe, they thus offer visitors real added value and contribute to making the Turmberg a popular destination for excursions.

Becoming a data expert
Through the cooperation with numerous municipal customers within the framework of various Smart City projects, SMIGHT has meanwhile developed into an expert for smart data acquisition and use, in order to create a new quality of life in public space through digitalization of infrastructure.

Find out more about SMIGHT

Test Area Autonomous Driving Baden-Württemberg

Test Area Autonomous Driving Baden-Württemberg

Test Area Autonomous Driving is a real-world laboratory for mobility concepts. It is intended to promote the development of future-oriented solutions for individual transport and local public transport. This is where companies and research institutions can test their technologies and services for networked and automated driving in everyday traffic.A consortium led by the FZI Research Centre for Information Technology is charged with developing, planning and expanding the testing ground.

The following institutions are part of the consortium: FZI, City of Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Fraunhofer IOSB, City and Region of Bruchsal and Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences. The Karlsruhe Transport Association KVV plays a decisive role as test field operator.

Test Area Autonomous Driving Baden-Württemberg

Transparency portal

Transparency portal of the City of Karlsruhe

Via the transparency portal, the City of Karlsruhe makes open data and documents available for free use. However, it is not only intended to fulfil the function of an open data portal, but also serves as a ‘freedom of information index’. For example, reports commissioned by the city are automatically published above a certain value. According to the city, corresponding regulations are currently in preparation. Karlsruhe City Council already publishes a large number of documents and data, for example in its statistical atlas or its geodata portal. The publications from existing portals are to be linked within the transparency portal so that they can be found when searching from there.

Find out more (text in German)