Interview with Nuria de Lama, Vice-Secretary General Big Data Value Association and speaker at the forthcoming SEE Smart Cities Conference on 7 March in Sofia
Please present in brief the major highlights of your presentation within SEE Smart Cities Conference
The presentation provides an overview of some of the ongoing initiatives at European Level that are working towards the creation of a Digital Single Market for Smart Cities in the European Union. Among them, it is worth highlighting the efforts of the Open and Agile Smart Cities Alliance (OASC) and the project Synchronicity, which are working on the definition of standard data models, APIs, Open Data Platform and a driven-by-implementation approach as four major pillars to create a Smart City market. In simple words, this would allow cities to replicate solutions that work in other cities; thus, reducing costs and increasing innovation; on the other hand, this would enable application and service developers and providers to deploy their services in different EU cities with minor adaptations, thus creating critical mass and scaling.
In this context, one of the difficulties encountered in the smart city market has to do with data integration. A lot of data is generated by different technologies, systems and infrastructures and it becomes difficult to process, analyze and make sense out of them. Data is fragmented, usually treated in silos and the integration of data sets becomes a challenges not only because of the volume, but also because of the variety of data sources and formats. This presentation helps to understand the challenges associated to big data in the context of smart cities, with a special view on policy challenges and the monetization of data.
How Big Data is making cities “Smart”?
There are many definitions for the concept of “Smart Cities”. I like the one that makes reference to a city that is aware of what’s happening in the city at any moment, at any time and that is able to react in an optimized way to the different events. This includes many dimensions, such as the economic ones associated to the reduction of cost in the provision of some public services but also other more social aspects related to the ability to innovate in those services and the way they are provided, be more environmentally-friendly or ensure that citizens are at the center of the city policies and decisions.
Big data provides great opportunities to re-think the way we are doing things.
For example, how can cities support citizens in their daily life when they are getting older? How can we ensure good quality and coverage of health services while public budgets are struggling? Can big data be used to provide more personalize healthcare services and promote a healthier life to prevent diseases? Can big data be used for more optimized urban planning and better traffic management so that cities are better places to live in? For sure yes.