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Smart city opens its data publicly in a smart manner

Cities collect large amounts of heterogeneous data and many cities are offering more and more data to the public in an open manner. Setting open data directory does not represent merely a cost to a smart city. When properly utilized, open data represent a significant market value and development potential.

Positive economic effects of open data are indisputable. The question is how great this value actually is. The study of the European Union estimates that the direct commercial value of the use of open data in the Member States in 2016 is around 55.3 billion. For the period 2016 – 2020, this value is estimated at 325 billion. Open data usage is estimated to generate 75,000 new jobs is 2016 in the EU member states, with the trend of 32% growth by 2020.

However, merely providing open access to large volumes of data in itself does not allow optimal use of their market potential and does not provide transparent control of a city development. Information overload has the opposite effect and causes confusion and discomfort of users. To take advantage of the optimal development potential of open data and using them to improve city management at the same time, it is crucial how a city collects and publishes its open data. Therefore, a smart city firstly defines its key development areas and selects a corresponding key indicators of development that it wants to monitor. This is followed by a collection of quality city data and data sources and their publication in a structured manner, which makes data accessible and eases their usage for various innovative and commercial purposes. Many start-up companies are already taking advantage of open data and creating their market value by analyzing and creating useful smart city applications.

To increase the usefulness of open data for city administrations and support city management and cooperation with people, and investors as well, a smart city extracts essential and useful information out of the massive open data, which allows the city to create a clear overview and optimized monitoring of the city’s development.

Interesting, clear, and transparent approach of opening up public data is being used by Boston, USA. City Administration publishes data on city development and city services such as crime, garbage, the response time of the emergency services, number of users of the libraries … in the form of a scoreboard, where the data are updated daily, and it also shows weekly, monthly and quarterly status. Data are available regardless of whether the results are keeping pace with the planned objectives, or are well behind them.

According to the mayor of Boston, such open city managements is the most effective way of building a relationship of trust between the city administration and residents. When the residents are properly informed about the key city development challenges, they better understand why the city invests in a specific area preferentially. Therefore, residents agree with the city’s policies and projects, and budgetary spending more than the residents of cities without such open communication. By providing appropriate open data information, Los Angeles, for example, managed to convince residents to vote positively for the proposal, which will bring them higher monthly bills for energy, due to increased city investments and the diversion towards using renewable energy sources. When residents have access to adequate and clear information on a specific issue, they are able to gain better understanding why it is best for the city’s future to use renewable energy sources and are able, therefore, to better evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed solutions by the city authorities, and can even help the city to deliver a common decision.

Take advantage of the potential that is waiting in your city’s data. If you need help in unlocking this potential, do not hesitate and contact our smart city development team. Our SmartCityPlatform enables the city to offer its data to residents in a clear and understandable way. At the same time, our method of structured open data storing enables their further innovative and commercial usage.

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