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B-Colab stands for Berlin, co-working and laboratory. One can add “co-living” as well because the project also involves the participants living together. What this means is that students on the master’s degree course in online communication at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences are spending their practical semester living in a Deutsche Wohnen flat whilst carrying out accompanying research for the company.

In the shared accommodation, which has existed since October 2017, co-working and co-living are combined in a variety of ways. Whilst living together, the students are supported in their day-to-day lives in the flat by smart home technology. They test various smart tools to see if they work to meet everyday needs. In all of this, the most important questions being addressed are how a flat of the future might be equipped and what solutions and options there are that are viable for all target groups.

The intelligent equipment needed for this project comes from the Munich-based developer iHaus, with whose smart home app of the same name newly designed as well as retro-fitted devices are collated and can then be managed using a single user interface. These smart devices include controllable light bulbs, intelligent smoke alarms, WLAN sockets, a system for the energy-efficient control of heating, and window sensors. Moreover, the internet-based, intelligent personal assistant Alexa is part of this all-round smart package.

As part of the co-working between digital natives and employees of Deutsche Wohnen, the topic of corporate health management is being investigated. The aim here is to adapt the management of health even more successfully to the needs of employees and to digitise the processes involved. As well as having the option of working on this topic in the home office of their smart accommodation, the students were also given their own co-working space at Deutsche Wohnen. Marcus Eilers, Head of Corporate Development and Strategy at Deutsche Wohnen, summarises the advantages of this exciting project as follows, “With the B-Colab project, which brings together the company, digital natives and research based on everyday experiences, we are acquiring important knowledge to help us manage the increasing level of digitisation in our sector. At the same time, the employees of Deutsche Wohnen are benefitting from these investigations into health management. And last but not least, the students living in the smart flat are having an instructive and interesting time. So, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

You can read about the experiences the students are having with the smart technology in their flat on their dedicated blog:

Deutsche Wohnen SE

Deutsche Wohnen is one of the leading publicly listed property companies in Germany and Europe with a business focus on managing and developing its portfolio, which consists mainly of residential properties. As at 30 September 2017, the portfolio comprised approximately 163,500 units in total, of which 161,000 were residential and 2,500 commercial. The company is listed in the Deutsche Börse’s MDAX and is also included in the leading indices EPRA/NAREIT, STOXX® Europe 600 and GPR 250.

Institute of Electronic Business (IEB)

The Institute of Electronic Business e. V. (IEB) is the largest associated institute of the Universität der Künste Berlin and has been transferring the latest findings from application-oriented research to industry since 1999. The institute sees itself as an independent expert from science, who identifies market-oriented trends in the field of digital communication, identifies challenges for companies and supports them with innovative solutions to make the right decisions in order to be successful in times of rapid media development.

iHaus AG

iHaus has developed a software solution for linking and managing all internet-based devices and sees itself as a systems integrator for devices concerned with the smart home and the Internet of Things (IoT). The roots of iHaus AG lie in the company Claus Heinemann Elektroanlagen GmbH. With its more than 20 years of experience in buildings management and network technology, this company formed the basis for the development of iHaus. The iHaus app provides a platform with which internet-based devices can be managed – remotely as well – and can be interconnected irrespective of the manufacturer. This is an open, integrative and future-proof solution which is responsive to the needs and wishes of the user.

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