João Teixeira, Executive Director and Owner of EULA IT, a German startup specialised in the development of Industry 4.0 and environmental solutions that launched the SmartPlanet platform.
João always said that “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem”. That is why he created SmartPlanet. An open that offers everything needed to create environmental insights, integrate these insights into legacy applications, react to special events, present the results & trends in a powerful dashboard and make key insights available to the population in an intuitive and didactic way.
- What is the background and motivation behind SmartPlanet?
The environmental issue has always been important to me, but, like most people, I didn’t see a way to engage myself personally to contribute positively to projects and solutions to existing problems. In 2015 I co-founded a startup, EULA IT, specialized in developing solutions for the so-called Industry 4.0, and the environmental area seemed very distant from our day to day.
This began to change when we started receiving requests from various partners to leverage our expertise in sensors, IoT, and satellites to develop solutions for monitoring environmental projects. Besides the evident interest of the population and the media in the issue, characterized by protests and appalling news, we noticed that a huge number of resources were invested in numerous initiatives to mitigate this problem. However, the lack of transparency gives people the impression that very little is being done and does not allow one to differentiate serious from ghost projects, providing the explosive proliferation of socalled “greenwasching”. So, we decided that bringing our expertise in digitization in the context of Industry 4.0 to the environmental area would help good projects gain efficiency and transparency, and consequently make it easier to uncover bad actors, channeling resources for the good ones. Therefore, we founded SmartPlanet UG.
- What is the SmartPlanet Project?
The SmartPlanet project is coming to bring digitalization, efficiency, transparency, engagement, and new sources of revenue to activities that involve environmental and sustainability issues. The project is based on a double pillar: the SmartPlanet platform and the TerraBeat mobile app.
Two of the main objectives of the project are:
- Support organizations to plan, execute and monitor the activities of environmental projects.
- To provide transparency and accountability to the (global) population, allowing them to inform and
collaborate with these environmental projects.
The platform allows governments, NGOs, researchers, and companies executing environmental projects to access data, algorithms, workflow models, and visual components for processing, monitoring, and calculating performance indicators for project management, and to share best practices, methods, and techniques.
A significant part of this project is the use of Wikidata and the Wikibase software suite to create a comprehensive, free, and collaborative environmental knowledge base to support planning and follow-up of environmental projects, and to bring environmental education and reliable project information to the world population via the TerraBeat mobile app.
The app also allows organizations to demonstrate to the world their commitment to the environmental cause and to provide transparency about their project, and also opens a new and innovative channel for the population to engage in various ways in the environmental and sustainability cause.
- How does it contribute to the environment?
At the core of the platform are tools to support the planning, execution, and monitoring of environmental projects, considerably increasing efficiency and transparency in the issuing of different environmental certificates (CO2 sequestration, environmental services, biodiversity, etc.). These can be environmental recompositing or restoration projects either through legal commitments such as forest replacement, or through projects aiming at carbon fixation (compensation of emissions by third parties, stock expansion with densification and/or environmental restoration), or other projects of a social nature, environmental preservation/protection, scenic beauty, biodiversity, or the most diverse and potential environmental services related.
The mobile app uses gamification strategies for greater engagement of the population in environmental education and causes. It also allowed the population to monitor the effective application of public resources in the mitigation of negative environmental impacts and the recovery of degraded areas, increasing the pressure on the various stakeholders to control the efficacy of environmental projects and to combat “greenwasching”.
- What was the main challenge regarding the development of the solution?
The biggest challenge was to create a business model that on the one hand provides the population with reliable, quality information about the environment and environmental projects at no cost, and yet is economically sustainable. Fortunately, there are several examples of digital platforms that use multi-sided business model to allow the most important audience, the global population, to enjoy the benefits for free.
The platform adopts the SaaS model to make its features available to companies involved in the execution of environmental projects and is open for third parties to generate revenue by contributing to its expansion. The mobile application enables organizations to use this channel to engage with the population in different ways.
- What inspires you?
“If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”This African proverb serves as a source of inspiration and motivation and guides our planning and actions.
Today we see so many protests and speeches with accusations and apocalyptic messages, but few actions to solve the problem. We want to stop being part of the problem by creating software that helps other organizations and people around the world to also be part of the solution.
- What stage is the project at and what are the next steps?
Together with our first client/partner we are carrying out the pilot projects foreseen in the “Joint Business Concept” (JBC) that was presented and approved by the LCBA program. This activity will give us subsidies for the final improvements to the platform.
We are also strengthening our ecosystem through strategic partnerships with European entities, such as Fraunhofer IIS and Wikimedia Deutschland, and Brazilian ones, such as SOBRADE and EMBRAPA.
We have also put online through our website an opinion poll to collect data for the design of the TerraBeat application, whose development will begin soon. So, I invite everyone to access our site www.smartplanetplatform.com and participate in the survey so that we can make our platform even better and together we can collaborate to solve the greatest challenge facing humanity today.