Eight cities using data to change the way we live

Raconteur reports on Eight cities that are using data and artificial intelligence in innovative ways to reshape public services.

  1. Las Vegas: live data

Apart from hosting 43 million tourists each year, Las Vegas is also home to almost 650,000 residents who need services including public safety, transportation and utilities. City officials recently turned to smart city data management to ease the pressure. They used Hitachi’s Smart Spaces and Video Intelligence solution, which is a combination of hardware and software that leverages intelligent video to provide a single view of activity, operations, and safety issues with intelligence for real-time data and analysis, thus deploying resources more efficiently.

  1. Seoul: smart waste solutions

With South Korea’s capital city, waste management has become an area of focus and, as one of the most high-tech cities in the world, it’s no surprise that big data and IoT has become part of the solution. These include solar-powered waste bins which compact rubbish, fill-level sensors monitoring the quantity of waste in each bin, a big data platform gathering the information from the bins and a platform that automatically refines manual collection routes based on machine-learning algorithms, bringing huge cost savings and a cleaner city.

  1. Amsterdam: 3D-printed smart bridge

With its network of canals, Amsterdam has more bridges than almost any other city in the world, around 1,800 in total. Dutch firm MX3D is using industrial six-axis robots, proprietary software and welding machines that deposit stainless steel from thin, molten wire to build the 40-foot-long smart pedestrian bridge spanning the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam. The bridge is the world’s first 3D-printed steel bridge. Equipped with sensors, the bridge streams data to the cloud where it is then processed and interpreted to visualise intelligence about bridge traffic, structural integrity, and the surrounding neighbourhood and environment.

  1. San Francisco: smart cycles

One of the strategic goals of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is to prioritize transport that doesn’t involve a car. Part of its vision for a sustainable transportation system includes a safe network of bicycle-friendly streets so people of all ages and ability can feel confident travelling on two wheels. The SFMTA uses automated counters to monitor key bicycle data, which it analyses annually to get an idea of cycle use in the city. Using the information provided by these smart monitors, the SFMTA added ten miles to the bikeway network and created thirty new intersections.

  1. Stratford, Ontario: perfect parking

Parking in cities is often frustrating and time consuming. But with the help of smart city data management, it can become a much simpler affair.  The City of Stratford in Ontario, Canada, has installed 78 IoT sensors thator GPS, data and relay whether a parking spot is free or empty, with updates provided every half an hour to an Amazon Web Services MQTT Broker, which relays the update to the Information Builders WebFOCUS data analytics platform. WebFOCUS then creates easily read visualisations, which convey which spaces are free where, when the busiest parking periods are, and which are the preferred car parks, levels and spaces used by residents and visitors.

  1. The Hague: lighting up the streets

Scheveningen, a residential district in The Hague, is a popular tourist destination. The Municipality of The Hague was keen to explore lighting options for the area, and to address the challenge, DE NOOD, a leading provider of classic streetlight design in the Netherlands, teamed up with intelligent lighting company Tvilight. Together, they have installed lighting that respects the look and feel of the area, but uses cutting-edge smart city data management and technology to provide better control. The integrated motion sensors enable the lamps to adjust their brightness automatically based on real-time human presence. If there’s no one there, energy savings can kick in, cutting the city’s electricity use and maintenance  costs. A platform called CityManager also enables the municipality to monitor the entire lighting network remotely.

  1. Copenhagen: energy saving

Frederiksberg Forsyning, a publicly owned utility company in Copenhagen, that would optimise their supply network and create efficiency savings. One of the issues with doing this is the reliability of data, with utility companies often reliant on customers for monthly or yearly meter readings. To tackle this, the company created a connectivity network across the municipality and then installed sensors in their pipelines to measure usage from the point of production to the substation and on to the end-customer. They went from getting infrequent customer readings to 700 data points a second, seeing savings on water loss and energy use.

  1. Brussels: Smart transport tech

The Belgian capital city of Brussels relies on four metro train lines, seventeen tram lines and fifty bus lines to get its residents where they need to go. STIB–MIVB, the company that runs these services tracks 401 million journeys a year and 1,200 vehicles. To handle the stream of big data, it partnered with SAP and Cubis to access the analytics needed to improve customer service and run the system more efficiently. “Cities are full of data that can help us better understand travel times, routes and crunch points on a network,” says Brian Duffy, SAP’s Europe, Middle East and Africa north regional president. “If used in the right way, data insights can help people get to where they are going faster, more efficiently and more reliably.”