Smart neighbourhoods – from vision to implementation

An interview with Florian Wellmann on the topic of smart neighbourhoods

At Seven2one Informationssysteme GmbH, Project Manager Florian Wellmann plays a key role in smart land development. We asked him about his motivation and had him explain to us what role Seven2one will be playing in smart neighbourhoods.


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Why are you particularly attracted to the energy industry and the associated energy research?

The energy industry has been turned upside down twice in a relatively brief period of time. First by the liberalisation at the end of the 1990s and now by the energy transition. In this context, the central role that a functioning, stable and affordable energy supply plays for us humans and modern society is demonstrated time and again. In an era of global warming and growing demand for energy on the part of the world’s population, I believe the changeover from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and the path to more careful and sustainable use of resources and energy will be the greatest challenge of the 21st century. This project is associated with many opportunities and challenges that are being investigated and addressed primarily in numerous national and international research projects.

Seven2one is participating in some of these projects. We now want to make use of the ideas and results in order to develop and implement sustainable and innovative neighbourhood concepts and thus contribute to the success of the energy transition.

Can a smart neighbourhood concept only be implemented in developments in which everything is being built from scratch?

Many smart neighbourhoods are being built primarily in new development areas, and that makes sense. In such areas, the renewable energy concept and the necessary infrastructure for electromobility can be carefully considered and integrated right from the start. The creative leeway for design is simply greater.

However, existing neighbourhoods can also be made smart. A good starting point is to incrementally convert the energy supply to renewable energy sources and interconnect them with modern information and communication technology. Another key aspect is mobility planning: how can we make mobility more efficient, provide opportunities for charging electric vehicles, make it easier to search for parking spaces and keep high traffic volumes and noise out of residential areas? Some approaches to this already exist, particularly in terms of car-sharing and car-pooling services.

Whether transport planning, energy refurbishment or informational networking are involved, all stakeholders must be integrated into the process and their concerns must be taken seriously, particularly in existing neighbourhoods. In a smart neighbourhood, no one should feel left out, excluded or neglected. After all, everyone wants to be part of decisions on housing and how we will be living together in the future.

What role does Seven2one play in a smart neighbourhood?

As an expert in the digital transformation of the energy industry, Seven2one is primarily responsible for software-based interconnection of neighbourhoods. This primarily involves collecting and processing relevant (energy) data as well as mapping and integrating processes such as optimisation of the heat and power supply in real time or intelligently controlling charging stations for electric cars so that distribution grids are not overloaded.

We are also developing appealing web portals that serve as the residents’ interface to numerous services as well as to the information in the smart neighbourhood. This makes it possible for residents to easily view their current electricity consumption and to access third-party services that allow them to book a car in the car-sharing scheme or make an appointment with a skilled tradesperson, for example.

Our many years of experience in research projects and in the development and operation of professional software for the energy industry make us a reliable partner for cities and towns, the housing industry and municipal utilities that want to implement a smart neighbourhood. In addition to our software solutions, we also provide advice on holistic concepts for smart neighbourhoods.

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