The Growing Importance Of Data In Smart Cities

How Open Data Benefits Digital Innovation?In the recent years, data has actually become the life-giving force of the developing innovations in smart cities around the world. Over the last 20 years, it has had a phenomenal impact on different industries including transport, retail, and utility. A lot of cities are taking data benefits to gain a better insight into city operations. A number of them have opened their data to promote transparency and to encourage innovators to create new services leveraging the data. Using data benefits, many brands in smart cities are now looking to implement digital innovations that can facilitate both the employees as well as customers.

The advanced cities are now going a step ahead by widening the scope of data. They are coming up with groundbreaking initiatives that are not just confined to their own cities but endeavouring to share benefits beyond the boundaries. Let us read on to know which influential brands in these smart cities are taking this step.

ATIS – Ignite Initiative

Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) and an enterprise software company, Ignite have joined hands to initiate a new project that will enable cities to share their data with each other.
Both the organisations are creating a data-exchange platform that will incorporate data formats, data-sharing framework, protocols, security and privacy requirements, and general APIs.

According to ATIS and Ignite, data-sharing is critical for the further development of smart city services. They envision accommodating the urban thought leaders and industries on a single platform that will help them create a blueprint for the secure and interoperable exchange of data that benefits beyond the boundaries. Their initiative also aims at aiding cities to come forward and participate in ‘data marketplaces’ which even engages the private sector that can foster innovative business models for owning, exchanging, and monetizing data if desired.

Smart cities are utilising a variety of data management platforms to study and apply data from smart city applications to fulfil their individual local requirements. Going further, if cities want to benefit from the innovative smart applications of the future using real-time data, they need to collect and share the data in an interoperable and secure manner. The sharing can be done starting from trusted partners, innovators, citizens to federal/state government bodies, adjacent communities and other cities.

ATIS and Ignite further reveal that their aim is to give cities the necessary tool for success that will help them get prepared for the next generation smart city services (applications). This has become even more crucial when cities are now beginning to recognise the power of working together and exchanging data to fulfil the requirements of mega-applications that work across regions satisfying sustainability and resiliency demands.

Many innovators, entrepreneurs, and government agencies have identified the data benefits. According to the study conducted by Transport for London (TfL) and Deloitte, open data is opening doors to commercial opportunities for third-party developers. TfL has made over 80 data feeds available for developers by free unifies API. The data feeds have already been accessed by more than 13,000 developers and over 600 applications are specifically powered using TfL’s open data feeds.

Global Brands Willing To Share Their Data

Sharing Data Enhances Urban MobilityGenerally, brands are hesitant towards making their data transparent. But, Ford Motor Company, Uber and Lyft have begun to change this. All three brands have accepted to share their data through a recently launched data platform called ‘SharedStreets’. SharedStreets is a universal data language that opens up on information related to city streets. It is also a launching pad for public-private partnerships focusing on maintaining streets, decreasing traffic deaths, and preparing cities for the unprecedented digital advancement coming forth in the urban environment.

This initiative is a result of a public-private partnership which includes the role of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Open Transport Partnership.

The primary goal of the initiative is to enable the private sector to work with smart cities around the globe efficiently and take data benefits to enhance the urban mobility. Furthermore, Ford, Uber, and Lyft have committed to share their data with SharedStreets to provide the cities and the mobility companies with new tools to manage traffic, congestions, mitigate carbon emissions and reduce accidents. All in all, the focus is on digging a path to the digital revolution that rests on the pillars of sustainability and inclusive mobility.

SharedStreets has announced that it will work with Ford Motors to create a universal data standard that can be applied to determine real-time kerb space demand and availability. Its collaboration with Uber will concentrate on a global dataset of driving speeds to gain a better insight into where and in what situation drivers are speeding. Lyft, on the other hand, will join hands with Uber and SharedStreets to deliver a universal framework for sharing kerbside boarding/alighting counts.

Data Can Break The Barriers Of Complexities For Passengers

The National Rail Enquiries processes more than 600,000 journey plans every hour and approximately a third of millennials use on-demand transport apps such as Uber. This shows that people are increasingly turning to digital services to manage their travel requirements.

Commuting from home to office and office to home has never been easy in the past, especially considering the public transport facilities. But as the digital services are augmenting, and cities are becoming smarter, the transport sector has had its share of innovation. Today, passengers are able to watch their favourite TV shows on the train and even use apps or finish their office work while travelling. As per the statistics from Ofcom, 76% of adults regularly send and receive email while travelling. And, about 69% of them do online shopping while 64% of use online banking apps.

Transport sectors are now able to create comfortable environments mimicking a living room or a work desk while increasing the opportunities for service providers. Really, the digital transformation is helping the transport sector break the barriers of complexities of travelling experience.

Let us take another clear example to see how digital transformation backed by data can help passengers. In a travel hub like Heathrow in London, there is a lack of clear single ownership of customer experience. Everyone including the operator, airline, retail stores, and beverage brands seek to attract customers. As the owner of the entire platform, Heathrow has the opportunity to utilise location technology like GPS and beacons and connection technology like Bluetooth and WiFi to create digital tools that can create for passengers a supportive and pleasant experience at the airport.

For example, passengers could be provided with airport maps and flight departure receive. Retailers could offer toll-free shopping while passengers could track their luggage once it has reached the centre of the airport. Restaurants and cafes could take food orders from hungry customers while they are stuck in the security after a long journey.

These are just a glimpse of ideas to show how data can make the life for citizens easier than ever. There are ample opportunities for private and public sectors to take the data benefits innovatively and makes life in cities more appealing and safe while having a clear-cut option to even increase the revenue.