Impressions from the software team

Why Green City Solutions?

The mandatory internship of my studies was coming up. I come from the Environmental Informatics program, which combines the fields of computer science and environmental science. With this background, I was looking for an internship where the environment would benefit from applied computer science. It quickly became clear that primarily young, dynamic companies use IT technologies to do good for the environment. So I came across Green City Solutions relatively quickly and was allowed to be part of the software team.

Software for the moss

The software is an important part of the moss filters, because without the software they would not run. It is responsible for functions such as ventilation, irrigation, and viewing sensor data. This is done with simple clicks on the company’s AirCare software.

Users are often unaware of how much is behind the user interface, and that’s the way it should be. However, a lot of work goes into the software to make that and more possible: implementing the IoT technology (transmitting the filter data to AirCare, the software infrastructure), doing the calculations/conversions in the background, saving the filter settings, storing and viewing the data….

The work in the software team

Within the software department there are different areas in which you can be active:

Trouble Shooting: If something doesn’t work with the software/hardware, then someone from the software team goes out to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
Hardware programming: Programming of the microcontrollers, which are located in the filter and control the functions of the moss filters.
Software in the frontend (user interface) and backend (function logic behind the frontend)
Each area is covered by the team members, who all bring different skills to the team. With a lot of support, I got to program in the frontend and backend of Aircare and on the display of LIve data on air quality and moss vitality. I also got to see knowledge from my studies in practical application, like in AirCare’s software infrastructure or the software development process itself.

What I implemented:

Added a tile in the user interface where you can adjust the color setting for the LED lighting of the moss filters. Looks simple and is easy to use, but there is a bit more behind it. The set values are sent to the backend, where they are stored and then sent to the LED controller in the moss filters CityTree and CityBreeze, which sets the LED lighting accordingly.

Working method in the software team

The software team works agilely according to Scrumban. Tasks are written in tickets and processed according to priority within 2-week sprints, so software is developed and expanded piece by piece. For quality assurance all tasks are reviewed, i.e. checked by a 2nd person of the team.

To improve this process, daily meetings are held in which each team member reports on yesterday’s work and today’s planned work. This way, if necessary, problems emerge that the others can help with.
A retrospective is also held after each sprint where the team works out problems and things that went well to improve the next sprint.

Working at Green City Solutions

There is an infectious enthusiasm for the company vision at GCS. I got the impression that everyone puts in the work and gives their best, which inspired and spurred me on myself. Particular emphasis is placed on communication – whether intra-team or team-external, it facilitates collaboration and leads to efficient work.

While working in the software team, I also became very aware that you can’t know everything and that working in IT is a continuous learning process. Learning from and with each other is therefore encouraged by solving problems together as a team.

Also very important here: always questions, questions, questions. Someone from the team always knows the answer and others benefit from the questions asked. There are also regular colloquia in which a team member presents a topic that could be of interest to everyone. Past colloquia have covered LoRaWAN, plant microbiome and how to determine it, and green value determination in plants.

Working on the software team at Green City Solutions was a nice first professional experience in the IT field. The work was varied, fun and I learned a lot. For me, the idea of working on a product that has a positive impact on the environment was also nice – it’s a pleasure to work!