Open Data Power Smart Cities


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Smart Cities are all about collaboration, sharing and transparency. They need true openness of data. It is not just governments opening up their data for everyone in public platforms. It is individual citizens and privately-owned companies offering their data to the government or government departments sharing their data with one another. That is the true meaning of ‘Open Data’, which goes beyond the traditional definitions. Because Smart Cities eat the ‘status quo’ for breakfast. They change at the speed of light, together with their environment. They are the cities of the future.

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Open Data Power Smart Cities

  1. 1. 4 Peter Hinssen, editor Open data powersmart cities How big data turns every city into a data capital
  2. 2. i Dear reader“ Open Data Cities of today are true magnets, attracting people from everywhere to their bright lights and exciting opportunities. But they are groaning under the weight of their expansion which is as steady as it is fast. Their streets are clogging up with congestion, their inhabitants consume Power Smart Cities” electricity faster than utilities can produce, crime is increasingly difficult to control, people are dissatisfied with civil services, etc. But the answer is nigh. All these people - with all their phones, cars, social network accounts, houses, offices, energy consumption, etc. - that demand so much from our cities, leave Is the fourth in a series of thought-provoking ‘Big’ traces everywhere. Because ‘Big Data’ is to be had on every corner of our streets: from booklets that Across Technology will be smart meters, RFID tags, healthcare providers, street security cameras, Foursquare, public publishing this year, sponsored by EMC transportation organizations, smart phones, research centers, logistics companies, sensor networks, in-car devices, etc. And where there is so much data, there are patterns to be found Greenplum. These booklets are elements in and insights to be gathered. the Data Science Series, which is also a series of events, and a website: Enter the Smart City: the IT-savvy city that works with what it has, and makes it better, faster and more efficient. It is the intelligent metropolis that knows how to leverage the enormous treasure of Big Data at hand into actionable insights with smart technology. It is the bright town that does not need more power plants, but uses smart grids and smart meters for a better energy management. It should be your city, if it is not already. Smart Cities are all about collaboration, sharing and transparency. They need true openness Publisher: of data. It is not just governments opening up their data for everyone in public platforms. It is Across Technology individual citizens and privately-owned companies offering their data to the government or government departments sharing their data with one another. That is the true meaning of Editor: ‘Open Data’, which goes beyond the traditional definitions. Because Smart Cities eat the ‘status Peter Hinssen quo’ for breakfast. They change at the speed of light, together with their environment. They are the cities of the future. Executive editor: Philippe Gosseye To keep you informed on a constant basis, we have created the Data Science Series website (, offering you case stories from your peers, valuable insight Contributing editors: into market research and an overview of the Catalyst partners that help EMC Greenplum bring José Delameilleure the right building blocks to the market. Allowing you to build the right ‘refinery’ for all the Laurence Van Elegem information that is coming your way. Erik Mannens 4 Peter Hinssen, editor 1 2 3 OPEN DATA Peter Hinssen, editor Peter Hinssen, editor POWER SMART CITIES Peter Hinssen, editor INFORMATION THE AGE OF ANALYZING Layout: IS THE NEW OIL DRILLING NEW DATA-DRIVEN MEDICINE BIG DATA HELPS CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR PREDICTING HOW BIG DATA TURNS EVERY CITY INTO A DATA CAPITAL SOURCES REVEAL HIDDEN WHAT HAPPENS Stijn Van Herck OF INNOVATION HEALTH TRENDS NEXT AND BUILD RISK MODELS SPONSORED BY Make sure you don’t miss the installments of the series. Please contact your local EMC Greenplum organization to obtain all of these booklets. 3
  3. 3. About half Local governments need scalable innovations that can grow as quickly as their cities and their of the global challenges and change as fast as its citizens and their environment. Building new roads or power plants is, by definition, not the (only) right answer. You cannot solve such fast-evolving problems population, these days, with solutions that will be out of date - or too small scale - by the time they are finished. To boot, lives in cities and this such infrastructure-centric approaches are hardly helping the environment. number is predicted Power shortages, contagious disease outbreaks, leading companies moving away … These to evolve to 64.7% are just some of the ‘presents’ awaiting cities that are growing too fast for their authorities to by 2040. Cities are handle. They need to ‘smarten up’, and quick. Not just because they need to start functioning more efficiently and cut costs or because they need to respond to increasingly strict global and suffering under the local regulations about the environment. There is yet another trigger for urban optimization pressure of their that governments need to take into account, one that is as crucial as the others: enhancing fast expansion. citizen satisfaction and involvement. “The City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.” Plato Cities, when democratic, are the quintessential example of bottom-up driven entities. They, basically, are their inhabitants. Governments need to listen to them if they want to stay on top, keep (attracting) leading companies and want to avoid a brain drain. 01 The fast-evolving mobility of the global population forces cities to compete for citizens and enterprises, much as businesses contend for customers. And it is neither a light nor easy task to This town ain’t ‘BIG’ enough… please these little ‘tyrants’. Not only are they highly informed, critical and networked, they want permanently relevant information, dialogue and they want to be involved. They are full of ideas about how the city can be improved and they expect their local governments to listen to them. Petula Clark was clearly voicing a lot of people’s desires when she so enthusiastically sang “You can They demand to be empowered with the right tools so they can stimulate the improvement of always go downtown”. Nowadays, our cities are suffering from their fast population growth. While their habitat. If not, they will ‘shop around’ for another government, or worse still, another city. in 1950 a ‘mere’ 29.1% of global population lived in cities, this figure jumped to 50.6 % in 2010 and it is predicted to evolve to 64.7% by 2040. The numbers are simply staggering, especially when we realize Smart Cities on a journey towards self-knowledge that urban areas occupy a mere 2% of the world’s surface. The answer lies within the ‘Smart City’. It’s the latest buzzword in city management, and a This fast expansion is not surprising, though. Cities are magnets, filled to the brim with ‘Great very powerful one at that. Expectations’. But, as always, with great opportunity, comes great challenge (yes, the saying Smart Cities will survive their brisk expansion and even succeed in turning it into an asset. These does work both ways). Urban areas are putting a huge strain on our environment and energy intelligent towns will focus on using existing resources and infrastructure, only better, faster and resources as they grow. Their streets are clogging up with polluting cars, health and safety more effectually. They are the ones that will leverage all the information and the technologies at issues keep escalating, their inhabitants consume electricity faster than local utilities can hand into advanced analytics, breakthrough solutions and Open Data platforms. produce it, citizens are unsatisfied with civil services, crime is increasingly difficult to control and so on and so forth. When the solution is staring you right in the face According to MIT, our cities consume no less than 70% of the world’s City governments have all the information they need, quietly waiting around, until this data can teach them something useful. The more infrastructure and inhabitants they have, the more energy. They are responsible for 80% of the world’s carbon emissions traces those leave and the more content that can be collected and put to work. Indeed, urban and represent the prime source of other air and water pollutants. areas are literally swarming with fruitful data.4 5
  4. 4. 01 This town ain’t ‘BIG’ enough… Say hello to the new kid in town. Meet Big Data. It comes in numbers and all kinds of flavors Fast problems and it adapts at the speed of light. And say hello to its non-identical twin, Open Data, just as Big need fast solutions. and there for the taking by whoever wants it. They are the ones that can turn the city smart, in real time if you let them. Don’t think ‘adding So who is this Big Data? Fear not. It comes in peace, and has many faces. I am talking about infrastructure’. the wildly unstructured - but powerful and rich - data coming from weather channels, street security cameras, Facebook, Twitter, sensor networks, in-car devices, location-based Think ‘Big Data smartphone apps, RFID tags, smart meters etc. But also about the (semi)structured data from each and every department of city governments, telco companies, healthcare providers, analytics’. research centers, energy vendors, logistics companies, public transportation organizations and every possible stakeholder in a city. Just imagine what insights would follow if we could just connect this massive amount of information in just the right way. Picture how well cities could know themselves, their buildings and their inhabitants. And how they could cure their ailments. Smart Cities that use Big Data are neither about intuition nor about looking back and analyzing what went wrong and could be better. Smart cities don’t guess. They are sure. They spot patterns. They look forward. They predict potential crisis situations. They find what could be better and make it better. They make smart decisions, based on facts. A knowledge-based approach like this will enable cities to cut costs, save energy, improve their services, optimize their infrastructure, enhance the quality of life of their citizens, reduce their environmental footprints, fuel innovation and drive sustainable economic growth. Their intelligence reaches from a social to an environmental and an economic level.6 7
  5. 5. 02 “We must be willing to courageously invest in our city.” Alan Autry Fast problems The city of Oslo, Norway, for instance, reduced street lighting energy consumption by 62% with a Smart Solution. Since the Memphis Police Department started using predictive software need fast solutions in 2006, it has been able to reduce serious crime by 30 %. The city of Portland, Oregon, used technology to optimize the timing of its traffic signals and was able to eliminate more than 157,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions in just six years – the equivalent of removing 30,000 Cities are growing faster than traditional solutions can handle. By the time that a new power plant is on passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year. The Smart City project of the city of Rivas stream, the demand for electricity will have outgrown the extra capacity that it will have brought. By the Vaciamadrid in Spain – Ecopolis - has empowered energy savings of 35% and a 50% reduction time that a road is expanded with an extra lane, traffic will have grown exponentially compared to the in ICT spending through a combination of smart grid and energy management, access control, ‘breathing space’ that measure was meant to offer. Not to mention the extra congestion that building the air quality monitoring, traffic management, IPTV, etc. And these are just a few of the most new lane will have caused. spectacular examples. It’s plain and simple: we live in a ‘VUCA’ world. Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity The (Sm)art of Big Data are what it’s all about. Organizations and solutions that are static, slow and unilateral need to adapt. Very long-term thinking is a thing of the past. If your plan takes 10 years, it will be Smart approaches, like those above, need Big Data solutions. They enable cities to store, obsolete after a few months, or weeks. Flexibility, agility and permanent adaptation should be open, link and analyze the astronomic number of structured and unstructured data on top of the only words written on your long-term planning. It’s Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’, at the which they are sitting. They come with predictive analytics and actionable insights. They fuel speed of light. objective, data-driven decisions, rather than intuition-driven attempts. Slow-moving solutions cannot fix fast problems. They are a drop in the ocean. Quickly evolving Smart Cities are all about collaboration, open dialogue and sharing information. In the Smart challenges need nimble tools. Ones that can predict what will happen. Ones that deliver City we need to view Open Data in a much broader context than it is usually defined. It is not actionable insights in real time. Big Data and Open Data can. Together they become Smart just city managers disclosing their data in open platforms, but citizens, utility companies, Data, the fuel of a Smart City. healthcare providers and all other stakeholders sharing their information with governments and each other for the greater good. This is the real point at which data becomes truly ‘Open’. “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind And the public sector is indeed in great need of such openness of data, not least on a purely internal of thinking we used when we created them.” level. McKinsey discovered cases where personnel were spending 20 % of their time searching for Albert Einstein information from other government departments. Organizations using Big Data technology to When addressing their growth challenges, cities literally - and very surreally - try to fight merge all of this information digitally for greater intelligence are so much nimbler and efficient. urbanization with even further urbanization. They expand their infrastructure, build bigger energy facilities, or larger and more roads: ‘solutions’ that lie at the very root of the problem. Inevitable as some of those approaches might be, they are certainly not the only ones, or the best ones. Cities should be looking at technology for a helping hand. Delivering tech-KNOWLEDGE-y The problem is that a lot of local authorities lack the necessary awareness about what technology can do for them and how enormous the return of their investments will turn out to be. Most of them still see it as a necessary evil and, worse, as a mere cost center. They should regard IT as an enabler or agent of change. As a way to turn information into knowledge. They just need to be inspired by stories from pioneers that have grabbed the Big Data opportunity with both hands, and very successfully indeed.8 9
  6. 6. 02 Fast problems need fast solutions Big Data goes beyond the limits of your Indiscrete city, or transparent city? own government, beyond your own neatly stacked databases. It is about looking outside and comparing. When different types of personal and location data are collected by smart meters, smartphones and all kinds of sensors or when cameras are used to record and analyze people’s behavior, privacy becomes an issue. One that must not be overrated, though. It is a give-and-take situation, really. The key is to make sure that citizens and companies understand that their personal details will be used to their advantage and to combat evil. Well, for the greater good, anyway. Because smart cities improve their quality of life, offer them better services, boost the economy and safeguard their 03 environment. Bob Dylan is still right. ‘The times they are a-changin’‘. We need to start looking at privacy from a different angle. In the Smart City, people have to think in terms of Smart Cities spell community. They need to transfer what they are prepared to do in their leisure time - like sharing personal information on Facebook - to other segments of their lives. vision with a triple V Privacy is being redefined in our networked society. By 2017, 40 % of enterprise contact For those thinking that Big Data is just another fancy word for BI, here is the simplest way I know to explain information will have leaked into Facebook via employees’ increased use of mobile the difference: Big has only one letter more than BI, but it is the G of Greatness in volume, velocity and variety. device collaboration apps (Gartner). Big Volume Besides, this safety and privacy conundrum can be avoided with the right technology: Our cities are flooded with data. Big Data. From street camera feeds, city department databases, gas personal info can easily be anonymized by separating the data collected about a user companies, hospitals, weather information, social media data, parking meters, cars, smart meters, from his real identity. That way, the information cannot be traced back to a specific financial data and RFID tags to the oodles of sensor data that your streets and buildings are crawling with. person, but it can still be leveraged for valuable intelligence. And it keeps growing, at an incredible speed. The knowledge gathered from the dawn of civilization Authorities looking into gathering as much Big Data – be it personal or not – as up to 2003, is now injected into the web every two days. Every day of the week, 2.5 quintillion bytes of possible, should clearly conjure up a privacy and safety strategy. Because it would just be data is created. Between 2009 and 2020, the size of the ‘Digital Universe’ will increase 44 fold. That is a pity to miss out on all the potential that personal and location data has to offer them. equal to a 41% increase in capacity every year. According to McKinsey, applying “personal location data has the potential to provide About 2 billion connected devices—ranging from PCs and smartphones to sensor devices such as more than $800 billion in economic value to individual consumers and organizations RFID readers and traffic cams—generate this complex mass of structured and unstructured data. over the next decade”. Smart navigation applications alone could represent $500 billion In 2010, 663 U.S. electric utilities counted 20,334,525 advanced smart metering infrastructure (AMI) in value to global consumers in time and fuel saved by 2020. installations. In 2011, there were 1.85m CCTV cameras in the UK buildings and streets, one for every 32 UK citizens. Facebook handles more than 250 million photo uploads and the interactions of 80010 11
  7. 7. 03 Smart Cities spell vision with a triple V Yes, your citizens and organizations demand to be informed, quickly, correctly and comprehensively. Just publishing certain sets of data on a public platform will simply not do. They want Open Data,and million active users with more than 900 million objects (pages, groups, etc.) each day. In April 2012 ‘Open’ does not just mean publicly available in this case. Oh no, that would be much too easy. Foursquare surpassed 20 million users worldwide, corresponding to 2 billion check-ins. According to There is no use in providing information if it cannot be understood or used. Publishing proprietary ITU, total mobile-cellular subscriptions reached almost 6 billion by year-end 2011, corresponding to a or closed data and calling it ‘Open Data’ is a no go. You need open formats that can be linked with global penetration of 86%. one another, and with other openly available data that comes from other sources than yours. But Big Data is much more than just a mind-blowing and massively gargantuan amount of data. It is It is precisely in this ‘Linked Data’ that real insights can be found. not just about the big Volume. That is just one of the ‘three Vs’ that make this phenomenon so exciting. Big Data is as much about Velocity and Variety as it is about large numbers. Big Velocity Big Data is fast: it is produced at great speed, changes at the blink of an eye and needs to be leveraged into intelligence just as quickly because it outdates itself at the speed of light. If a city leverages its traffic data (through traffic light sensors, cameras, smartphone information …) to inform about the situation on the road, the insights need to be produced in real time. Anything but ‘Open’ means publicly accessible, non-proprietary and transparently visualized at the instant intelligence will be totally useless in this case or citizens will end up very annoyed indeed. The same time. But Open Data goes beyond these traditional definitions. It is not just the same goes for monitoring electricity use to allow utilities to produce exactly the amount of power local authorities that need to open up their data to the public, it has to work both ways. needed, not more and certainly not less. They need to process the data in the now, or not at all. In a real Smart City, individual citizens and privately-owned companies need to open up their data to the government as well. This does not mean that their data should become Efficient city management comes with speed and fades with the ticking of time. If a citizen publicly available as well, but that it can be gathered, stored, interlinked and analyzed by communicates that a hole in his street poses a threat to public safety, he expects to be heard and the government in order to create real knowledge about the city and fuel actions which answered right away. He expects the problem to be fixed in the next few days. Slow response and can optimize its functioning and make it a better place to live in. action will simply not do here. Not for the informer and least of all for public safety. Same here: if the water system leaks, this needs to be restored right away, or the result could be a massive water loss. Open Data is the citizens that offer their smart meter data to utilities companies and the The city of Tokyo understood this. Its smart water metering system allowed it to decrease its leakage latter providing their smart grid data to the governments. It is the Traffic Department rate from 20% in 1956 to 3.6 % in 2006, as then it was able to react immediately. sharing its information with the emergency services, so that the latter can avoid being stuck in a gridlock while a patient, in need of urgent help, is dying. It is Paris’ 1,000 Big Variety citizens wearing ‘Green Watch’ wristwatches, producing rich, air quality datasets for the government to analyze for actionable intelligence. All these different players are opening Last but not least, Big Data is a question of immense diversity. It could be ‘dark data’ from within your up their data to each other as well. government - precious information like all the e-mails of civil servants or contracts with suppliers that is just not used up to its full potential – or transactional data from government officials and partners. That is where a true Smart City gets its power from: uninhibited openness of information. Only then can cities really change. But Big Data goes beyond the limits of your own organization, beyond your own neatly stacked databases. It is about looking outside and comparing. It is about your city and its citizens, not just about your government and how its officials view your town. Context means everything if you want real knowledge about your city. The information available outside the walls of your office buildings is even more valuable, certainly when you start to mix and match it with what you already have. When Big becomes Open As if the challenges that come with storing, managing, linking and analyzing these enormous amounts of structured and unstructured data for insights were not enough, governments are expected to open up their data as much as they can to the public.12 13
  8. 8. Citizens demand People- and collaboration-oriented Open Data platforms are meant to stimulate and steer entrepreneurs - individuals, communities and (commercial) organizations - towards DIY innovation. to be put in charge. Their available data and open source methodologies enable them to develop content and They want to applications that can lead to social and technological innovations, and to economic growth. create value for The amount of data that local authorities can make public is vast indeed: from environmental and their city. weather data to information on population, employment, housing, road conditions, mailboxes, traffic, transportation, pollution levels, markets, events, waste disposal, management, education, health, legal, police, city planning,… Open Data platforms are dealing with enormous numbers of data from different architectural environments where it was often stored in a proprietary form. Such public initiatives therefore pose challenges in scalable data storage, data traceability, data quality, data interoperability and data visualization. Big Data technology can handle all these requirements. Increasingly, city governments are beginning to understand the opportunities of Open Data platforms and how they are an expert example of how ‘more eyes are better’ when it comes to adding value to data. Amsterdam’s urban EcoMap collects data from a number of different sensors and sources, and makes it available for the development of all kinds of mashups and other applications. The UK’s government website allows access to over 8,700 datasets which has stimulated the creation of hundreds of apps. 04 And the approach works. Open Data platforms lie at the foundation of some of the most practical and innovative apps. FixMyStreet, for instance, was designed by the non-profit company MySociety Citizens architecting Smart Cities with Open Data to help and empower UK citizens to report, view or discuss local problems with their local council by simply locating them on a map. It allows them to directly report potholes, broken street lights and similar problems in public streets and speed up the fixing process. The powerful rise of the individual is a trend that can be perceived in every aspect of our society. An example is how consumers demand input in their favorite brands, how people inform themselves thoroughly online before Drive behavioral change going to the doctor or how they expect to be consulted when a new mall will be built. Authorities opening up their data are not only about empowering citizens with the necessary means Citizen self-empowerment and self-education through technology and crowdsourcing is, therefore, to make their cities a better place to live with innovative apps, Open Data projects are also meant to destined to play a key role in a real Smart City. stimulate involvement and behavioral change. City inhabitants will not watch from the sidelines as their The Smart Citizen project ( in Barcelona does exactly that. territory faces its challenges. They demand to be put in charge. Environmental data, such as air quality and temperature from low-cost sensors, is uploaded to the Smart Citizen platform, where it can be analyzed and shared with others. The aim is to foster a They want to generate value for their city. greater sense of interaction and engagement with the environment. Open Data platforms are a great way to offer them creative power and fire up collaborative Sentiment Analysis for a 360° view of citizens invention. What better source for urban innovation is there than those living there? They are the ones who find themselves at the source of the problems, who perceive certain needs and know which Smart City governments know their citizens through and through. They measure their sentiments solutions will work best. which are shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. They scan such unstructured social media data by means of natural language processing technologies and advanced analytics. These “If you want to move fast you move alone, if you want to move far you move together.” sentiment analysis tools deliver fresh, new insights that can help them better understand and African saying respond to their citizens, make more informed decisions and improve their services.14 15
  9. 9. 05 Putting a stop to Carmageddon Smart Cities are not only driven by ‘the People’ of course. City authorities need to be their main champions and leaders. They are the ones that can enhance the efficiency of city management and operation by means of intelligent technology. City government’s smart efforts come in all shapes and colors: from smart grid projects for optimizing energy control to reducing congestion (with traffic insights delivered in real- time information to the citizens) and managing pollution with sensors. They can utilize Big Data tools to generate predictions for storm tracking purposes. They could optimize their communication with web applications - like SeeClickFix - to empower citizens with a simple channel to reach their government about non-essential issues. They could - like Chicago - use audio sensors attached to rooftops and telephone poles that can detect when a gun is fired and pinpoint the location, enabling police to respond to serious crimes without the need for citizen intervention. Provided all its stakeholders are willing to open up their data to one another, the possibilities for improving a city are endless. This chapter and the next will afford some deeper insights into two of the most popular types of Smart City enablers: smart traffic and smart energy. When cars slow people down Each year American drivers are stuck in traffic for a combined 3.7 billion hours, the equivalent of five days each, while they burn no less than 2.3 billion gallons of fuel. In 2010, Brussels was pinpointed as the most congested conurbation of Europe, with 37% of the time on the road Big Data technology spent in traffic tie-ups. can make sure emergency Your streets are the arteries of your city. When they clog up with vehicles aren’t stuck congestion the result is a big loss, in both productivity and time, and a negative impact on the environment. in traffic and get there on time. According to Virgin Media, 84% of UK businesses want smarter cities to reduce traffic. It proves that solving this problem is not merely a luxury anymore. It’s what citizens and companies want. It’s what your city needs.16 17
  10. 10. 05 Putting a stop to Carmageddon “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, citizens a wide range of mobile apps with all kinds of transport-related information. Tube Deluxe, just how we play the hand.” an iPhone guide to the London Underground transport system, boasts no fewer than 50,000 Randy Pausch active daily users and 350,000 downloads. Precision of information, like in these examples, builds trust, satisfaction and hence the use of public transportation. We all know that cars will not be completely banned from cities anytime soon and building new Congestion fees: a win-win situation roads or broadening them is certainly not the right answer. The city needs to work with what it has and optimize it. It has to innovate. It needs to think ‘technology’. It needs Big Data and predictive The city of Stockholm introduced a traffic congestion and environmental tax that it imposes analytics. It requires smart traffic lights that automatically adapt to the real-time traffic situation. on the majority of its vehicles. It uses wireless RFID technology which is triggered by the It calls for public portals that help people plan their journeys in an efficient manner. It recommends recognition of the on-board electronic tag that is loaned to drivers. Road cameras also detect mobile apps to help them quickly find a parking space. That is what makes a city smart. and record car number plate images using Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software to identify those vehicles without tags. This smart traffic management system These are just some of the many possibilities to solve your traffic problems in a smart way: brought traffic down by 22% and decreased the air pollution by 14%. Machine-to-machine communication for in-depth city intelligence Finding a parking space The innovative European research and development project CVIS (Cooperative Vehicle- People slowing down traffic while looking for a parking space are one of the big drivers of Infrastructure Systems) was created to increase road network capacity, reduce congestion and congestion. The city of San Francisco, for instance, utilizes sensors, new meters and real-time pollution, improve traffic safety, lower vehicle operating costs, improve efficiency of the public data to distribute information on parking availability via the Web, smartphone apps or in a transport systems, etc. For that purpose, it focuses on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to- text message. Pricing on the new meters can then even be adjusted according to demand. infrastructure (V2I) communications: its ultimate goal is to have every car, every traffic light, every And this encourages drivers to run errands during off-peak hours or use parking lots. road sign and every kilometer of roadway equipped with CVIS-like technology so that they can ‘talk’ to each other and share info about vehicles, their location and the road conditions. Though Making sure that emergency vehicles get there in time still in a test phase, this is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive initiatives to tackle traffic problems. Driving a critically wounded patient in time to the hospital is a matter of life and death. Smart traffic systems using intelligent software can solve this. They can turn the lights to green There is no telling how cities might profit from such intelligent communication networks if the when emergency vehicles approach. They could even disable cars that show no intention of responses to these actionable insights would become automated. Lanes on roads and temporary stopping when the emergency vehicles rush by. traffic signals could be automatically reassigned, depending on the real-time flow of vehicles. Extra bus rides could be commanded, etc. Improving road safety Pushing InformACTION Several cities in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden use traffic signal arrays and Big Data tools to detect that an approaching vehicle is exceeding the speed limit. When they do, Smart information has the power to change people’s behavior. Thanks to Big Data-fueled they have the lights turn red to stop them. Studies have indicated that such simple measures predictive analytics you can tell your citizens, in real time, about the accident on the street to have the potential to reduce injury collisions by around 42 %. their work and offer estimates on how long it will take them to get there, on all the alternative roads leading to their work. This kind of knowledge will influence them towards making the best decision. They can opt to take an alternative route, work from home (for a few hours) or use public transport. The city of Helsinki uses GPS data from public transportation networks and merges this with Google maps to communicate exactly where a certain bus or tram is located. London city offers its18 19
  11. 11. 06 Smart power to the people Smart Cities need smart grids. They require a Big centralized digital network that unites electrical providers, power-delivery systems and customers, and allows two-way communication between the utility and its customers. When the grid grows a brain Grids need a brain to become smart. Power meters, voltage sensors, fault detectors, etc. are the sensors and Big Data and predictive analytics are the intellect. Smart grids have the power to improve usage reporting, lower energy costs, enable more efficient alignment of supply and demand, optimize power delivery and reduce carbon emissions. Smart meters If the US power grid gained in efficiency by just 5%, The Economist predicts that it would cut create awareness equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 53 million cars. The EU’s Smart 2020 study, measuring and fuel behavior the global impact of Smart Grids, estimates a 15 % reduction in CO2 emissions. changes. The OECD ‘SmartCity Malaga’ is one of the most impressive examples. It will use smart metering solutions reports that smart to gain intelligence on energy consumption patterns, regulate light intensity in the streets meter information based on presence detection, time and luminosity, store smart energy in batteries to allow extra electricity supply during peak hours, etc. Its goal is to achieve 20% energy savings, reduce carbon may encourage people emissions by 6,000 t of CO2 per year and increase the consumption of renewable energy. to reduce domestic consumption Outsmarting outages by up to 20%. Confronted with electricity disruptions, Big Data-driven Smart Grid technologies will detect and isolate power outages. They ensure that electricity recovery resumes quickly and strategically after an emergency - for example, by routing electricity to emergency services first. Such intelligent approaches can avoid large-scale blackouts and the immense loss in time and money that accompany them. A smarter grid will thus add resiliency to your electric power system and make it better prepared to address emergencies such as severe storms, earthquakes, large solar flares or even terrorist attacks. According to the New York Independent System Operator, its new smart grid technology has the ability to prevent a blackout like the one in August 2003, which left 55 million people across eight U.S. states without power. The blackout was estimated to have cost $10 billion in economic impact. Big Data and Smart Grids can make sure that such financial disasters are a thing of the past.20 21
  12. 12. 06 Smart power to the people on oil and go far easier on the environment. To run a PEV as cleanly as possible, it needs to be charged early in the morning, when power demand is at its lowest and when wind power is Peak load management typically at its peak. Smart Grid technologies will help to meet this goal by interacting with the The smart grid saves most of its costs by improving its electricity-delivery operations. Rather PEV to charge it at the most optimal time. than just guessing and often unnecessarily supplying extra voltage to the grid ‘just in case of ’, On top of that, PEVs could be leveraged as distributed sources of stored energy, a concept called peaks in demand can be identified by smart meters and addressed automatically. Such a direct ‘vehicle to grid’. They could be applied to inject extra power into the grid during critical peak response lets the utility supply the minimum amount of voltage needed for agile operations. periods and help keep isolated parts of the grid operating during blackouts. They could even Those that are testing this benefit, as we speak, report big cost savings, almost immediately. assist in integrating variable power sources into the grid, including wind and solar power. Inspiring citizens to change All these impressive examples and possibilities aside, governments still have a long way to go. Only around 10 % of EU households have some sort of smart meter installed and most do not Smart meters have the power to influence citizens as well. When customers are given access to even provide the full scale of potential services to consumers. Nonetheless, those consumers data about their own power use, they are stimulated to change their habits, to become more with smart meters were able to reduce their energy consumption by as much as 10%. efficient and save money. They will learn how much electricity they use and when. They will be able to see how the price of electricity changes depending on the time of day it is used, and they will be able to shift their use of the product to times when it is cheaper. The OECD reports that smart meter information may encourage people to reduce domestic consumption by up to 20%. Bain & Co calculates that a 20% reduction in power consumption will reduce emissions by 48%. A recent trial of smart meters by Ireland’s Commission for Energy Regulation in 10,000 homes and businesses found that 82% of residential customers made a change in their energy use. The UK’s Energy Saving Trust calculates that the rollout of smart meters from 2014 could save UK customers £7.3bn in fuel bills over 20 years. Smart meters work! Better integration of green energy Wind and solar energy are the fastest-growing sources of renewable power on the grid. As they supply increasing - but highly variable - percentages of power to the grid, integrating them becomes more difficult. Smart Grids invest in energy storage capabilities to absorb excess wind “My time in business and and solar power when it isn’t needed and to release that energy again when their power dips. government has taught me that This intelligent approach will help to smooth out the variability in wind and solar resources, if you can’t measure it, you can’t making them easier to use. manage it. Our Administration has The same goes for the power produced by homeowners. One of the greatest challenges in managing and optimizing the power grid is the fact that energy production and consumption made usage of data a hallmark of has evolved from just one-way to multidirectional. An increasing number of consumers are our problem-solving strategies.” becoming producers, using solar systems and wind turbines to generate their own electricity and feeding the surplus back to the network. The Smart Grid, with its system of controls and Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York smart meters, will help to effectively connect all these mini-power generating systems to the grid, to provide data about their operation to utilities and owners, and to know what surplus energy is feeding back into the grid versus being used on site. Cars as batteries Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are becoming increasingly popular. They reduce our dependence22 23
  13. 13. they start transforming their data into value: • Which departments and civil servants • How complete are these data sources? are creating internal data? 07 • How trustworthy are these data • How can they be filtred by relevance? sources? • What kinds of external data are relevant? • Are we talking living content or historical data? Bright Cities, Big Data • Are these types of data structured or unstructured? Big data is as much about data quality as it is about data quantity. Remember, the predictive So now that you are fully aware of which mountain of riches you are sitting on and how you can use analytics that will be distilled from your Big Data are only as correct as the information they were technology to make your city more intelligent and efficient, what do you need to change within your fed with. Poor data can cost businesses 20%–35% of their operating revenue. Don’t think that organization? non-commercial organizations are not affected by this. Give Big Data a home Big Data having an open conversation If you want to be able to take advantage of Big Data, you first need a place to store it. A regular There is no value whatsoever in having a mass of data types available, if you cannot mix, match and data warehouse will not suffice. Make sure your data platform is purpose-built to handle all compare them. Two challenges await those that want to connect their Big Data. the smart applications that will turn the prodigious amounts of raw data into understandable and actionable insights. With the kinds of numbers that you need to crunch, all the predictive Humans are loathe to sharing what they have. Closing their own data off from others is just another intelligence that you want to refine from your data will be sluggish if you use ‘old school’ example of that. Indeed, almost all organizations have to deal with informational silos. Just imagine storage. Plus, regular databases cannot handle all the unruly but highly valuable unstructured the insights that would follow, if the Fire and Police departments were to connect their data to the data (like camera feeds, Facebook data, weather channel information, …) emanating from Traffic department or if the Health department were to share its data with the Economy department. outside your organization. Structured internal data from your own databases and unstructured external data are very different in A Big Data storage platform allows you to store, as much as possible, current and historical nature. Most solutions find them difficult to reconcile and connect. When delineating your Big Data material. It spares you from sifting the information on the basis of intuition, on what might be strategy, make sure that your IT tools can have your structured databases connect and communicate less relevant. The problem is that we cannot always know what is superfluous. Remember that with Hadoop-like, open source environments for unstructured data. Big Data technology has no what is irrelevant now, can end up being vital later. problem with that, and the process of having both talk to each other can even be done in real-time. If you feel a yawn coming on when thinking about data storage and are certain that treasuring Giving a voice to Big Data Bits & Bytes have nothing to do with city governing, think again… When cities get this Big, the umbilical cords between officials and citizens get so stretched out that they tend to break. Real If you want real-time, actionable knowledge about your city, you’ll need powerful, next-generation dialogue is dialed down to a minimum and what the leaders think and decide from their ivory intelligence tools for predictive analytics. You’ll require solutions that not only allow you to look back town hall towers tends to be a long way from what ‘The People’ really are, want and need. and see what you have done right or wrong, but that will allow you to respond in real time and look forward even, so that you can manage your city proactively. You need tools that go beyond averages. “ What is the city but the people?” Intelligent software that find patterns and predict the next steps. William Shakespeare You need analytics like the ones that are being beta tested in the PredPol program of the Santa Cruz Big Data can reinstall the communication lines with your citizens. Big Data can tell you exactly and Los Angeles police department and which can forecast crimes based on the times and locations who lives in your city, how they feel about you and how you can make life better for them. Big Data of previous crimes, combined with sociological information on criminal behavior and patterns. tells you how you can optimize your city, and your services, to enhance the comfort of your citizens. Don’t be fooled: Big Data is all about ‘The People’, you only need technology to set you on your way. Seeing the Big (Data) picture Insights that cannot be understood by your employees or by your citizens are a total waste of time Keep your Big Data clean and money. Big Data demands advanced data visualization software which goes beyond traditional Those in charge of the technological side of Big Data should ask some important questions before visualization tools, in several ways.24 25
  14. 14. 07 Bright Cities, Big Data Since Big Data is all about continual change and speedy adaptation, these solutions need to be dynamic and simultaneously update as the data changes. They allow users to identify patterns, trends and relationships without having to run the data through complex statistical models. Setting a strategy Realizing what Big Data and Open Data can mean to smarten up your city is one thing, the other is, of course, making sure that your organization is ready for the sea of change that this will bring about. I’m not only talking about technology here, I’m talking about fostering a mindset change in your government’s management. “ Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer Clearly city authorities are not always riddled with data-savvy civil servants and governors. People are their highest priority, and they should be. But people and IT do not rule each other out. On the contrary, Big Data technology can help you get to know them through and through and serve them even better. They can make sure that your city becomes a better place to live and functions more “The only way to predict optimally. This is what you need to talk about when you sit around the table with the IT department and the decision-makers in your city government. the future is to have power The very last step before effectively starting with Big Data, is finding yourself a data scientist. These precious gems have the rare quality of being able to fluently speak both the corporate and to shape the future.“ technological languages. They comprehend what business, governing and IT can do for one another. They understand semantics, mathematics, information management governance and database Eric Hoffer structure. They master data management platforms as well as predictive analytics tools. They are the ones that have the skills to put their shoulders underneath the Smart City. In the near future, Big Data and Smart Cities will become the norm. If your city government does not adapt its technological architecture to manage this upcoming change and embrace its possibilitieswith both hands, it will be in trouble when this transition takes place. Make sure that you are up for it. Start now. Remember, we are only at the beginning of the Smart Cities era. Some of us are even dreaming about the Internet of Things, which would give our cities a real voice. This is what will happen when all everyday physical objects will be connected to the Internet (by means of all kinds of sensor technologies like RFID) and will be able to identify themselves to other devices. There will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2015 and 50 billion by 2020. Just imagine how smart our cities would become if all of these could talk to each other. According to Pike Research, in the present decade, cities around the world will invest $108 billion in Smart City infrastructure. Make sure you are one of them.26
  15. 15. ‘Open Data Power Smart Cities’is the fourth in a series of thought-provoking booklets thatAcross Technology will be publishing this year, sponsored by EMCGreenplum. These booklets are elements in the Data Science Series, which is also a series of events, and a website: 1 2 3 4 Peter Hinssen, editor Peter Hinssen, editor Peter Hinssen, editor OPEN DATA Peter Hinssen, editor INFORMATION THE AGE OF ANALYZING IS THE DATA-DRIVEN CUSTOMER POWER NEW OIL MEDICINE BEHAVIOR SMART CITIES PREDICTING HOW BIG DATA TURNS EVERY DRILLING NEW BIG DATA HELPS WHAT HAPPENS CITY INTO A DATA CAPITAL SOURCES REVEAL HIDDEN OF INNOVATION HEALTH TRENDS NEXT AND BUILD RISK MODELS Don’t miss these booklets and events. Go to, register for the newsletter and stay informed. 11/2012 - © Across Technology SPONSORED BY