Digital Cities & Citizens

The project book that helps people and systems talk to each other

Caroline Wendt
September 21, 2021

An overbooked event, important questions in the chat and many new contacts on LinkedIn are the outcomes of a webinar about the project book, presented by AFRY and Öresundsbron, facilitated by Future by Lund. The project book is AFRYS name for a collection of requirements and standardisations which an industry, a real estate company or a public service can individually put together to keep an overview over current rules. With the help of a project book a shared view can be created within an organisation and with its suppliers. The communication eases when systems and people talk to each other with the effect of simplifying, improving and reducing costs. This, in return, can lead to more sustainability.

Future by Lund is an innovation platform that has as its ambition to highlight interesting questions that can speed up sustainable transitions. The webinar with the title The key to digitalising cities – project book, that was held in the beginning of May 2021, is one such example. Magnus Sjöström, AFRY, enjoys a longstanding collaboration with Future by Lund and is enthusiastic about creating a sustainable society with the help of digitilisation. Magnus works with digital management and helps organisations such as industries and smart cities to undergo a digital transformation.

– I noticed that organisations needed tools to standardise, to succeed with digitilisation, says Magnus Sjöström. The idea of a project book comes from GM, who earlier was part of creating a template for all possible solutions in its industries, but it didn’t touch on digitalization. The big challenge in an industry, but also in real estate, an infrastructure project or a city, is that many people and many systems shall interact.

Magnus Sjöström highlighted the internet as an example of a globally standardised system where anybody can meet and where there is a standard that enables all to connect via computers, TV sets and mobile phones.

– The project book is exactly for that, to create possibilities so that intelligent and smart systems can synchronise, so that different systems can talk to each other. The project book builds on global and verified standards. It is not a guide on, for example, how a smart city can look like but a tool which steers technologies and systems so that the cities becomes smart.

An example of an organization that created a project book is Öresundbron, a customer organisation that buys services according to the public procurement law. Öresundsbron works a lot with technology in many different disciplines and all these need to interact. In many ways, the ecosystem at Öresundsbron resembles the one we need to build in a city to be able to call it a smart city.

– We want to be able to reduce costs for maintenance and reinvestments by becoming smarter and a bit better, says Niclas Malmström, head of technical operations at Öresundsbron. Sustainability is an important bridge, it’s about managing it well for the next generations of bridge managers. We make sure that the material and different products have a long lifespan, low energy consumption and good standardised operational data. Some success factors are to make more use of design data for data driven decisions and to make more use of the collective competences of the team at Öresundsbron so that we, together with others, do everything to reach the goal with a smart, cost effective and sustainable layout.

– If one is not awake and manages standards and requirements for, among others digitalisation, then it becomes expensive, Niclas adds. It’s complex solutions. To get it to be effective we contacted AFRY to work with the project book. We wanted to have a document with requirements and a source to link to from all parts. The project book is a guide to simplify our daily life. It is cost effective and has a well documented, criticality rated layout.

Patrik Sjöstrand works, together with Magnus Sjöström, in the digital management department at AFRY. He talked about the project books value for public purchases.

– It is often quite difficult to purchase what you want. A procurement of a turn-key contract needs a strong purchaser who can be determined and give detailed tender documents. Nonetheless, you don’t always get what you want, which can be the case because the entrepreneur maybe doesn’t see my holistic picture but only solutions for her part of the project. The project book shows the whole and what I, as purchaser, want to get out in the end. If you were not precise in the documents then it can make the project more costly. It is important to be precise if we want to reach the UN climate goals.  

The event attracted about 80 interested people. After 90 minutes live transmission co-organizer Magnus Sjöstrom seemed satisfied.  

– There was a big interest, the event was more than fully booked. On top of that I also got many new requests and questions if I could share the link to the event recording. I think it flowed really good – and I was especially happy that so many good questions came. All questions were constructive and positive and pointed to insights. It felt as if the majority thought the idea was innate when they heard about the project book.

Future by Lund is an innovation platform that is financed by Vinnova and the municipality of Lund and counts around hundred partners. The platform drives projects, forms consortia, highlights interesting questions and boosts news that speed up sustainability transitions – like this webinar about the project book that was held in the beginning of May 2021.

Translation: Christin Scheller


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