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Smart technology could improve the Luleå ice track

Published: 28 January 2022

CNN has called it one of the 50 coolest nature experiences in the world - but how do you digitize Luleå's ice rink? Well, by making data from smart sensors available in a collaborative project of which researchers from Luleå University of Technology are a part.

- A big part of the project is creating better conditions to use and maintain what is considered unique here in Luleå municipality, for example the ice rink around the center peninsula or the ice roads in the archipelago. In the end, this will also lead to us being better equipped to use IoT solutions in many other areas, such as water and sewage, snow removal or outdoor life, says Johan Wenngren, researcher and senior lecturer at Luleå University of Technology.

The choice of the ice rink as an object for the project is based on how important it is for Luleå and Luleå residents, but also that the cold climate enables experiments that cannot be performed elsewhere.

A connected ice track

The project is about IoT which stands for internet of things and can, a little simplified, be said to be gadgets connected to the internet - for example a lock to a door or a weather station with sensors that understand their surroundings and act accordingly. However, IoT is not just about physically connecting smart sensors, but more about how to create the entire chain from sensor data to end users so that it provides value for someone, says Johan Wenngren:

- This project may involve sensors that measure the thickness of the ice, so that those who plow the ice can create an idea of when it is possible to plow, or that the visitor should be able to know where there is wood and how windy it is. These are some examples, but in a larger perspective, IoT solutions in an Arctic climate are extremely useful.

The hope that the project will result in a platform that is to the benefit of Luleå's citizens as well as the municipality and the business community, and then be able to be scaled up.

- Luleå Municipality's ambition is to be at the forefront of the area "a smart digital and connected city" and a leader in the use of technology in the Arctic climate. To succeed in this, the municipality needs to strengthen its capacity on several levels. The municipality has currently begun the design of an IoT strategy, but has a need to continue testing and evaluating various technical solutions, says Hanna Westergaard, business architect at Luleå municipality.

Strategic support

Luleå University of Technology will primarily work in the project with processes for learning and knowledge exchange, and be a support to the municipality in the strategic work - for example, to develop appropriate working methods and methods that can be included in Luleå municipality's IoT strategy, while others actors will handle the work with the portal and the technology.

- When we started working with this application, I realized how much the ice track means to Luleå, so it feels extra fun to be able to have it as a case study to strengthen our knowledge of digitization and collaboration – locally, nationally and globally, Johan Wenngren concludes.


Johan Wenngren

Johan Wenngren, Senior Lecturer, Head of Division

Phone: +46 (0)920 492059
Organisation: Information systems, Digital Services and Systems, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering