Intelligent street furniture at this year’s polisMOBILITY in Cologne

C.F. Maier City Solutions, a brand of the C.F. Maier group of companies, will present an intelligent street furniture concept at this year’s polisMOBILITY trade fair in Cologne from May 24 to May 26 that is designed to create physical hubs for the smart city of tomorrow.

For the first time since development, C.F. Maier City Solutions presents its innovative “Smart City” street furniture concept at a German trade fair: The polisMOBILITY 2023, which takes place from 24. to 26. May at the Koelnmesse.

Focus of the event is on the development of mobility and its future challenges as well as opportunities. The mood in the industry paints a clear picture: Technologization and networking of our cities will play an increasingly important role in all areas of public life in the future.

C.F. Maier City Solutions is represented with two booths. In direct proximity to the City-Stage in Hall 1 – at booth C-023 as well as booth C-028 – visitors can experience several exhibits of the intelligent street furniture on site and learn more about functions, advantages and backgrounds of the development.

Part of the trade fair program is also a presentation by Gerhard Lettl, Managing Director of C.F. Maier Europlast, who will talk about the vision of the project.

Attendees can follow the presentation on 25.05. from 12:00 to 12:30 at the central citySTAGE.

Messeplan der polisMOBILITY 2023 in Köln

Smart street furniture for the smart city

The City Solutions brand embodies the latest ambition in the long corporate history of the C.F. Maier group of companies, which has made an international name for itself primarily as a supplier of plastic components and systems in the commercial vehicle industry and as a manufacturer in the environmental and water management sectors.

The experience, processes, resources and networks available as a result are now to be bundled in the form of the smart street furniture concept and help drive forward the transformation to the smart city of the future.

“After the smart phone and smart home, the smart city is the logical next step for us in the digitalization of our everyday lives”, says Maximilian Maier, Managing Director of the C.F. Maier Group. “We hope to have recognized this trend at an early stage and would like to play a pioneering role in Germany with our smart street furniture.”

The furniture serves as seating, lounging and shelter options and creates a meeting space for social interaction. In addition, bicycle racks, planters or recycling bins create functionality in everyday life.

But there is much more to the furniture. Here is a selection of examples:

Integrated environmental sensors provide information on CO2, particulate matter and noise pollution and enable appropriate countermeasures to be taken in good time.

Data on soil moisture, tree vitality, visitor and traffic flows can be used to make public processes more efficient, barrier-free and meaningful, thus enabling a better quality of life for all citizens.

As WiFi hotspots and charging stations for mobile devices, they provide users with easy access to the digital services of everyday life while on the move and help to revitalize city centers.

Integrated lighting systems reduce anxiety in public areas at night, and planted “green walls” not only enhance design but also improve air hygiene.

The system generates the necessary electricity itself via solar panels. Batteries allow electricity to be stored for times of day or year when the sun is not shining.

The durable composite material GRP (glass fiber reinforced plastic) also makes the furniture extremely resistant to weathering and vandalism. At the same time, the material is radiolucent, which makes the furniture suitable as a discreet accommodation option for 5G antennas to advance nationwide 5G coverage – one of the basic prerequisites for future-oriented mobility technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

Produktfamilie „CITY:MOD“

The product family “CITY:MOD” is a modular system based on a hexagonal basic shape. It is oriented both vertically and horizontally.

The vertically oriented objects serve primarily as multifunctional seating or storage areas with reversible ground anchoring, allowing them to be moved by the city administration as needed.

The horizontally oriented objects can be equipped with various functional elements. As a result, they can serve as seating or storage areas, planting containers, light sources or storage facilities, depending on requirements. By using additional metal elements, the objects become bicycle racks.

Produktfamilie „CITY:HUB“

The “CITY:HUB” product family was designed on the basis of simple and linear forms. Two-dimensional elements dominate, which are aligned to each other via firmly defined length ratios. The connection of the urban and the natural is in the foreground, which is expressed by greened walls and integrated lawns. Optional canopies protect against rain and also offer the possibility of accommodating solar panels or installing discrete radio antennas.

Formally related elements such as a trapezoidal or a rectangular shape can also be used to implement stand-alone objects such as planting and recycling containers.

Pilot projects show positive feedback

Pilot projects in the partner cities of Aalen and Heidenheim, where the prototypes of the street furniture were set up in the fall of 2022, are already delivering promising results.

Pia Dudel, Smart City Officer for the city of Heidenheim, the location of a covered bench from the CITY:HUB product family, is confident about the project and its future:

“The installed sensor technology provides us with measured values on soil moisture, tree vitality, fine dust pollution and the frequency of people in the area between the train station and the city center. So we have a lot of technology built into the bench. This allows us to check, for example, what effects different events, such as the Christmas market, have on the city center and how visitor flows develop at different times of the week. Thanks to LoRaWan, a long-range wireless technology, we transmit the data in real time and can illustrate it on the dashboard on the bench, for example”, she continues. “In the future, we'd like to analyze this data in a more targeted way and bundle it into a common statement, for example, to create black ice forecasts as a result, so that we as a city can react early- and people can prepare for it.”

According to Pia Dudel, feedback from the public has also been largely positive. Nevertheless, there are some data protection concerns due to the sensor technology. We take these fears seriously and they are understandable to a certain extent, but in fact they are not justified: “The data that is collected is not person-specific and is subject to the high requirements imposed by data protection. They belong to the municipality and thus to all Heidenheimers. After the current test period, we would like to make the collected data and all data collected in the future publicly available for all interested parties to view”, says Pia Dudel.

Stadtmöbel aus dem Pilotprojekt in Heidenheim

Not yet at the finish line, but well on the way

According to Maximilian Maier, the continuous expansion of the existing product families and the development of new street furniture is a high priority: “We are proud of the status quo. But we have not yet reached our goal with our smart street furniture - if that is even possible. After all, we are constantly coming up with new ideas that we would like to realize.”

As an expert in the manufacture of plastic components, C.F. Maier relies on targeted cooperation with competence partners from various industries. The expertise gained in this way opens up the possibility of implementing new functions more quickly than would be possible alone.

The company also wants to maintain close cooperation with its customers, drawing on decades of experience as a supplier to the automotive industry. As a result, C.F. Maier is accustomed to individually implementing specific customer requirements in terms of design, material properties, and shape and color design.

Since April 2023, an XL-3-D printer has also been available, which can also be used to quickly implement and test large-format prototypes.

The strong international core business of C.F. Maier allows to pursue innovative projects such as the intelligent street furniture and at the same time creates security for customers and partners to continue to do so in the future.

C.F. Maier City Solutions is looking forward to presenting the concept and the exhibits from 24.05. to 26.05. at the polisMOBILITY and hopes to see many visitors.

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