“In the smart city, the innovative use of data helps provide better and more inventive services to improve people’s lives and make the entire city run more smoothly. But the data our cities collect nowadays is more massive and varied, and is accessed at higher speeds than ever before. “(edX )
Whatever the stage the smart city implementation is at and what different visions of smart city is focus, data will be the power to drive the implementation. However, the path to the smart city is full of challenges.
How the personal information is protected?
For the first challenge, private or public companies are responsible for collecting and organizing data to optimize the delivery of municipal services in order to achieve performance goals. Taking the road traffic information application as an example, instead of building an expensive network of sensors along highways to understand the road condition in real-time, The service providers collect data from mobile devices (smart phones) and convert the data into road congestion information as good, moderate or bad. This information allows users to see the road network congestion in real-time, anticipate travel time from point A to point B, and find alternative paths in case of congestion.
In this example, the citizens are not just the information consumer, they become contributors as well. It makes our road system smarter; however, some issues can be raised. Although the data is collected anonymously, it is possible to reconstruct the car trajectory and to collect information on the road users. The question here is obviously the protection of privacy, since this information could be used by third parties, including by advertising companies.
How the data from the smart city serves citizens?
In order to serve citizens better, the city may need to release and open massive data of infrastructure and city services. These data sets were previously reserved for experts (officials and other professionals working for the community). Although the opening of public data represents great opportunities for innovation, it has some issues:
- It would be a profound cultural change to promote data across different areas and sources (commonly entitled “mashup”). It would break down barriers between municipal services, which constitutes a major challenge.
- The accessibility of information in the open data may divide between those who have mastered its use and those who do not master.
Who are the data owners?
The smart city is built with all actors such as private companies, municipal governments, other public institutions, community groups and citizens. To promote more innovation and citizen participation, it would require the opening of several sets of public and private data, and this raises a number of questions about their ownership, use and usefulness. In particular:
- Is there any monetary value for those data sets?
- Why the citizen who has financed the acquisition of data should pay for the data again for their availability?
- Is it something that can make mobile applications profitable and popular?
- What processes can be implemented to make this data more “digestible” for citizens and thus promote their ownership, and ultimately to create new products and services to make the most intelligent city?