Cities generate countless amount of data via sensors installed to buildings, roads, bridges, channels, intersections etc. Monitoring is very common and essential part to all smart city projects and systems. To be able to sense the environment and the flow of the city is one of the key elements for cities to being “smart”. To be able to avoid potential failures and errors in the future cities have to condense the massive amount of data into knowledge and be able to make smart data driven decisions. As only proactive system can be considered smart – predicting and solving issues that can potentially become catastrophic has in most cases lower cost than dealing with the consequences. By enabling the exchange of data from different sources it is possible to build AI based digital public services that would be accessible from a single point and would empower the citizens to be involved in the governments decision-making process.
Although urban data platforms and IoT dashboards have been a part of cities and smart city projects for a sometime already it seems that this itself is not enough to truly become a data driven healthy, effective, responsive, and happy city. So not only data acquisition is the key element of data platforms but also ability to execute various types of data processing: data aggregation, processing, manipulation. Conceptually, special attention has to be put on scalability, roaming and reliability in urban environments.
The first deployments have led to an inflexible “smart cities in a box” approach that does not help with building digital skills and can cause vendor lock-in to products that do not scale. More recently, there has been an increased interest in supporting the data governance and distributed architecture of Urban Data Platforms in order to adjust these with the administrative structure in a specific city and between cities which brings data roaming necessity to the equation. There is a definite need for a collaborative joint cross-border, hands-on effort incorporating international standards in order to meet the sufficient level of interoperability that would result in simple and widespread urban services. By also making the gathered data openly available so that different stakeholders can access the it enables innovation not only among cities but also in private sector.
The investments in to the smart city solutions is expected to double in few years, it’s quite clear that cities which use data effectively as the base for their decision-making process are the ones that will prosper from this trend. They will be leading in understanding of the current issues, accurately predict trends, and prioritize investments to projects that will have the greatest impact on city health and use of resources.
The research paper introduces and gives a full description of the aim of an Urban Open Platform (UOP) uniquely in the cross-border data exchange context of two European capital cities, Helsinki and Tallinn:
Soe, R.-M.; Ruohomäki, T.; Patzig, H. Urban Open Platform for Borderless Smart Cities. Appl. Sci. 2022, 12, 700. https://doi.org/10.3390/app12020700