Aims of the project:

  • To prove that a smart city can be created in a week
  • To provide useful insights into a city that were previously unavailable
  • To combine diverse datasets into a single, easy to use platform in order to enhance urban renewal and citizen engagement.

Smart city in a week will create a solution that will collect real-time data as well as provide historic information for an urban environment. Combined, these will provide detailed insights to city officials and citizens in areas such as; transport, environment, public health and smart living. In doing so, the smart city in a week project will enable cities to make quicker, more informed decisions and for the urban environment to better adapt according to the needs of it citizens.

Key challenges and how were these overcome:

  • Social Challenges:
    • The digital divide: Trying to create a smart city solution that truly enables a smart lifestyle for citizens has always been challenging, considering there is a digital divide within every community. Even though the sole aim of the proof of concept being developed for this project was not only to address the digital divide, it was something we took quite seriously and ensured that there was a wider engagement with stakeholders and authorities.
    • Citizen focused services: The true aim of any smart city initiative is to ensure value added benefits for the citizens. This aim is sometimes attenuated amongst the technology focused implementations. SenSat ensured that at the heart of this project was the citizen well-being and benefits in mind. In addition local authorities engagement ensured that they act as the enablers of all the technology supported decision making.

    Data/Analytics Challenges:

    • Access to data: Originally, access to commercially sensitive data was a challenge. SenSat signified to all partners involved the importance of producing a citizen-focused product, which is something we take pride in. This ensured that all data were shared amongst partners.
    • Interoperability: A wide range of geospatial, temporal and real-time data sources were amalgamated to develop a holistic view of the city. Government’s Open Data repositories were also used to fill in the gaps. This originally would have required a lot of data cleansing work. However, SenSat’s technology stack was originally developed to ensure interoperability, which enabled all various sources of data to integrate well.

Key success factors:

  • Stakeholder benefits: During the development of the technology solution for Smart City in a Week, it was ensured that all stakeholder were involved in all decision making stages. This safeguarded a mutually beneficial relationship between all partners and stakeholders.
  • Holistic approach, instead of looking at one problem area. Many proof of concept smart city projects tackle a narrow but deep solution to resolve any of the urban problems. The Smart City in a Week ensured that there were multiple narrow-deep models transferring knowledge to ensure a holistic view of the problems and their solutions.
  • Integration of new and old data and technology infrastructure. Over a period of time, many authorities and organisations have invested heavily in making cities smarter; Cambridge was no different. This project guaranteed that in addition to a new sensor network, existing and historic data from various city authorities were used to demonstrate benefits of legacy data.
  • Citizen centric. The main aim of the project was to ensure citizen benefit, which proved to be one of the main reason for its adoption and success. The data and analytics were carefully chosen to address problem that were citizen centric.
  • Objectives achieved in record time. While many smart cities project last years, SenSat managed to achieve its smart city objectives in just a week, proving that a realistic and beneficial smart city can be developed over a short period, especially if commercial and political benefits are brought together for serving citizens.
  • Lessons learned. Many lessons were learned during this project; these lessons will be shared in form of a white paper and a keynote presentation at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona.

Key learnings:

  • Success of technology focused solutions.
  • It’s essential to be Citizen-Centric.
  • Effective use of historic geospatial data and its integration with temporal (near real-time) sensor feeds.
  • Success of a technology stack that augments 2D visualisation with 3D.

Delivery agents: SenSat, Safehouse Sensors, Mott MacDonald

How long has the project been operational: 2 months

How long the project took from concept approval to implementation: 2 months

Funding: Self-funded

Picture courtesy of: Sensat

Share This