The Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership is set to be the very first to trail the Urban Data Project, which will see the construction of a digital twin of Cambridge to collect rich data about the city.
The Urban Data Project has been developed by smart city application specialist, Telensa. Telensa has built a solution powered by the Microsoft Azure cloud platform that produces a trust infrastructure for urban data, one that allows cities to collect, protect and use their data for the benefit of all citizens.
Urban data is the mosaic of street-by-street, minute-by-minute information that makes up a city’s digital twin. It contains mapping how people use the city, the mix of traffic on the roads, the hyper-local air quality and noise levels.
This data is of great value for designing better city infrastructure, delivering more efficient city services, and making everything more transparent to empower citizens. It is also potentially valuable to industries such as retail, real estate and insurance.
The use of urban data has been limited by two barriers. The first being the cost of single-purpose sensors, and the related cost of moving video data to the cloud. The second has been one of trust – how can a city’s Chief Data Officer apply best-practice policies to the data, and provide transparency to citizens on how that data is protected and used.
There are two key technology elements to the Urban Data Project:
Data is collected by Telensa Multi-Sensor Pods installed on streetlight poles, with sensors including video and radar feeding into a powerful edge compute platform. The pods run on Microsoft Azure IoT Edge and feature real-time AI and machine learning to extract insights from the raw data.
Data from the pods is merged with other city data in the City Data Guardian. This is the trust platform, built on Microsoft Azure, which enables cities to apply privacy policies, comply with data regulations, and make data available to improve services and drive future city revenues.
Following intensive product development during 2018, the first deployment is scheduled to take place in Cambridge in March.
Claire Ruskin, Executive Board Member for the Greater Cambridge Partnership and CEO of Cambridge Network, said: “Cambridge has pioneered a number of smart technologies, collaborating between the city’s world class academic and commercial R&D organisations and the local authorities.
“The Greater Cambridge Partnership has funded ‘Smart Cambridge’ to see how data supports activities that help to make Greater Cambridge even better to live and work in. The Urban Data Project is part of this innovative approach, helping to create a comprehensive ‘digital twin’, and providing the tools to use the data responsibly with policies that are transparent to our residents.”
Will Franks, CEO of Telensa, added: “We’ve been busy working with cities for the past ten years, making millions of streetlights smart and turning light poles into sensor hubs. But for us it was always about data, and finding an economic way for cities to take control of their urban data assets.
“We’re delighted to be working with the vision of Smart Cambridge, the innovation of Microsoft IoT and the power and reach of the Microsoft Azure family to make it happen.”