ProjectIntegration Catalyst for Residential ICT

Competence Areas at RISE ICT
Integration Catalyst for Residential ICT

The testbed, usually known as "The Catalyst” or ”The Wall”  has its origins in a research project called Smart ICT for Sustainable Living in Stockholm Royal Seaport. It was a Phase Two project in the Vinnova program Challenge-driven Innovation and was operated by the Swedish ICT institutes SICS and Acreo. The project ran from 2012 to 2013. As the project approached completion, it became apparent that some of the test environments should live on in the form of a stand-alone installation.

One of the experiences of the project was the lock-in effects that arise from the dominant business model for the "smart home” market. The big players offers their own package of services, and set up technical barriers that prevent small and independent businesses with good ideas to compete.

 The main aim of the testbed was therefore to create better conditions for SMEs: they should be able to create, combine, integrate, test and demonstrate their products and services on a more open and tolerant platform.

To this end, the design of The Catalyst was based on a number of conditions:

  • It would create the impression of a home, but at the same time serve as an exhibition at trade shows, conferences, museums, etc.
  • It would contain all the features of a home that could be changed by IoT or other smart-home technologies.
  • The catalyst must be portable, and thus easy to disassemble, to be exhibited in different locations.
  • The basic equipment must (initially) be identical to the one installed in the apartments in the Stockholm Royal Seaport, and must be continuously updated in a direction that is determined to be appropriate by the researchers and customers.

The conditions led to the idea of ​​modules, where each module would include a specific part or function of a home. A modular structure offers many advantages. They can be combined in different ways. An exhibitor can choose how many to take to exhibitions or fairs.

So far, The Catalyst has been involved in four research projects, two of which are continuing in 2016. The testbed has been used by the institutes in the Swedish ICT themselves, and by four Swedish SME's. We anticipate that another two-three customers will use the testbed in 2016-17.

It is worth noting that some of the customer's work on the test bed has taken place in the companies' own premises using a remote connection to The Catalyst. Physical attendance at the testbed has usually happened in connection with project meetings, or at demonstrations and tours. The Catalyst can therefore be considered to be both a physical and a virtual IoT testbed.