More sustainable journeys to school thanks to the ‘High-Five’ smart tech solution from Aptus

Posted on 22 Jun 2022

Aptus is a smart technology company focusing on the digital transformation of organisations and on smart healthcare. Aptus also offers services to local authorities in terms of smart city technologies such as smart living and smart mobility. As part of this, Aptus developed ‘High-Five’.

High-Five is a ‘smart tech’ solution that encourages primary school children to walk or cycle to school in a safe, healthy and sustainable way. Aptus developed an innovative IoT module for this that scans NFC (Near Field Communication) bands. The module works via the low-power IoT network NB-IoT.

The module was developed fully sustainably. “The module's casing is made from wood, fully self-powering and can be connected to a solar panel. The module is also equipped with a battery with a life span of at least three years, which can then be recycled,” adds Alexander Vanwynsberghe, founder and CEO of Aptus.

Vanwynsberghe: “With High-Five, we are encouraging primary school children to make sustainable journeys to and from school. As such, we are aiming to create a sustainable school environment with fewer cars. However, our focus is not just on that sustainability, but also on health and safety.”

‘Old habits die hard’ is High-Five's motto. “We have a strong belief in sustainable behavioural change. We want to teach children a habit so they will do their own thinking about healthy and sustainable journeys later in life,” explains Vanwynsberghe.

High-Five is a blend of technology, gamification and experience based on community management. The technology is on TRL-9 after three years of engineering and is now used every day by more than 15,000 children in Belgium. High-Five is also launching shortly in 6 Dutch municipalities.

Vanwynsberghe: “In practice, it works like this: We install High-Five modules or posts in strategic locations, which we determine in consultation with the school and the town/municipality. Each child gets a smart band or bicycle tag. They can use this to gather coins at the High-Five posts or bicycle counter at the school gates. The pupil can exchange these virtual coins for a reward such as Five gadgets, tickets for the swimming pool or an amusement park… We notice that this reward system is crucial to keeping children motivated.”

On the pupil platform, children can monitor their coins, create an avatar, earn medals, take on challenges, practise and more besides. This is the gamification aspect, which introduces an element of play. Vanwynsberghe: “By updating the platform often (rewards, exercises, videos), we keep it attractive and interesting for the children.”

Vanwynsberghe: “How they view the mascot Five is hugely important too. We work very hard on the storytelling around Five to keep motivating children. We're also developing some side-characters. We want to turn Five into an ‘influencer’ when it comes to sustainable mobility. We're already putting Five out there on social media channels such as TikTok.”

“Finally, I'd like to emphasise that we couldn't have written this story without the strong collaboration between the private (us) and public sector (towns and municipalities), citizens (children and parents through a High-Five advisory council) and education. Not just the High-Five module and the participating schools, but also the collaboration with a range of colleges and universities in the course of development are contributing to this sustainable behavioural change,” concludes Vanwynsberghe.

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