Turn up the music and reduce unwanted acoustic exposure

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How is the optimal sound from outdoor rock concerts created in an urban area without disturbing citizens living nearby? A large EU Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) project named MONICA aims to innovate a solution to this and more over the next 3 years.

MONICA stands for Management Of Networked IoT Wearables – Very Large Scale Demonstration of Cultural Societal Applications, and the idea is to apply new innovation from advanced wireless IoT technologies to develop an innovative set of readily deployable solutions within electronic acoustics management and extended safety and security for citizens in large crowds at bigger events.

The EU Commission H2020 expert panel of evaluators appointed recently a consortium of 28 partners working under a total budget of 15.5m€ over 3 years to present a solution to this task. MONICA is not a usual “paper” project, as partners are aiming at a series of very large-scale live demonstrations of MONICA across EU Member States at already planned cultural events in urban environments.

Danish involvement

Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is a partner offering a vibrant test environment right at the city center with planned rock concerts every Friday throughout the summer season.

Amongst other Danish partners, we find Bruel & Kjaer Sound & Vibration A/S, DTU (Danish Technical University), RING Advocacy ApS, In-JeT ApS, Praesidio Group A/S, Vækstfabrikken Lydens Hus and Københavns Kommune.

It all began with the music

Gramex, the Danish collecting society of neighbouring rights, called upon local experts to solve the conflicting agendas between the urban regulator, musicians and their audience, plus Tivoli Gardens and their neighbors.

In-JeT ApS and RING Advocacy ApS were then brought in to identify the research and innovation options from within the EU Horizon 2020 list of projects, file the complicated hundreds-of-pages application and identify all other required partners across the EU Member States.

CEO John R. Kristensen, Gramex, comments on the background:

”A couple of our members declined from performing at the outdoor Tivoli rock concerts due to the very limited sound pressure levels currently allowed. We then contacted Michael Gatten, Member of the Citizens’ Council at the Copenhagen Town Hall, and following some resolution meetings it was agreed to find effective solutions to this techno-political dilemma. This effort was given the name The Sound City Project.”

Culture is the driver

The Copenhagen Municipality awarded DKK 150,000 (21,000 €) to The Sound City Project which eventually ended up on the pan-European scene as a fully approved and funded EU Horizon 2020 project, MONICA.

The mayor of Culture & Leisure of Copenhagen, Mr. Carl Christian Ebbesen says to Berlingske Business News:

”It is a fantastic project with widespread international possibilities. Merely the fact that the small seed money we awarded here, ended up at the EU level, demonstrates the potential of the project. Many of us want a wide variety of cultural events to take place inside the city, and if this can be achieved without annoying others, then culture has really catalyzed new technology and innovation. We are convinced this will succeed and bring about the boosting of the overall employment level.”

The start-ups turn things upside-down

The Danish MONICA partners predict that the project over time will inject innovation and further growth into the sound industry sector.

Mads Váczy Kragh, CEO of Vækstfabrikkerne, explains:

”Our interest in this project is found in the possibilities to connect innovation from our start-up’s into the process enabling working relationships between universities, large corporations, the public sector and the SME’s to be established. There is no doubt that some of the skilled Danish entrepreneurs within sound science will contribute with solutions that sometimes may turn traditional thinking upside-down and in turn develop a solid platform for a still growing export business. MONICA innovation can be applied in all cities around the world. It is not only in Copenhagen that loud and powerful music is perceived as noise for those not taking part in the event.”

Facts about MONICA

The EU Commission has granted a total of DKK 112m to this international research and innovation project MONICA – Management Of Networked IoT Wearables – Very Large Scale Demonstration of Cultural Societal Applications.

  • MONICA runs over 36 months, from January 2017 til December 2019.
  • 28 partners from Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Great Britain and Sweden have now signed up.
  • Apart from mitigation of sound from outdoor loud music MONICA also deals with management and control of the security for citizens in large crowds by advanced monitoring through IoT wearables and online video streaming and processing from the scene. MONICA strive to set new standards for safety of life in larger crowds.
  • The Danish MONICA partners are: Brüel & Kjær Sound&Vibration A/S, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU), IN-JET ApS, Praesidio Group A/S, RING Advocacy ApS, Tivoli A/S, Væksthus Sjælland og Københavns Kommune.
  • Throughout 2015 The Panel of Culture & Leisure of the Copenhagen Municipality awarded DKK 150,000 to The Sound City Project, which became the pre-study for the creation of the large bid for the MONICA project.