Data: today’s vital resource for cities


Posted on: September 10, 2018 by Albert Seubers

By procuring city services and infrastructure in a more holistic way, cities today have an opportunity to focus on the outcomes they want to achieve, rather than on individual departmental requests and requirements.

So, how can city departments generate this kind of business model?

Lead integrator role

Firstly, embedded into the procurement strategy must be the requirement for ensuring effective integration. This means that for every orchestrated procurement, there needs to be a lead integrator role to ensure that the vision can be delivered. In this more open ecosystem of partners, the lead integrator is the connecting partner who ensures that city departments and partners can share resources and information in order to collaborate.

To realize this vision, there is one vital connecting element that needs to be harnessed: that element is data. By gathering, processing, analyzing and sharing data, city departments can better understand the opportunities for connecting or separating out infrastructure components and add-on services. For effective data management, cities require an integrated approach to Urban Data Management, delivered by the lead integrator to ensure all data connections can be monitored with controlled access to data. In this way, outcomes and value for money for the city are maximized, as explored in Atos’ paper, MyCity: a data-driven city.

Security and availability

It’s important to note that when multiple sources of data are combined in order to support multiple services and use cases, a highly secure data management environment is critical. Services will depend on data being accurate and available. This secured environment must be open for new vendors to connect to as they provide additional services to city. It must also be capable of sharing access to data to support new use cases. Access to data for research and development of new services is important for ongoing development of new services, especially where commercial use cases are based on accessing data to generate additional revenue for the city.

Data science skills and tools are needed to maximize the benefits of joined-up data, with real-time analytics that can be constantly monitored as part of Urban Data Management. Transparency is also key to ensure the support and understanding of citizens, with partners and the city entrusted to safeguard and explain what data is used and for what purpose.

Using the data and digital technologies available to cities is now crucial to delivering city services within challenging budgets. It also makes perfect social sense. Cities must respond to the digital lifestyles of citizens and digital transformation is now key to a greater sense of communal involvement and responsibility.

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About Albert Seubers

Director Global Strategy IT in Cities
Albert H Seubers (1959) graduated at Agricultural University Wageningen in 1985. Ever since he worked in IT consultancy focused on governmental topics. He worked for Dutch Telecom implementing the first fiber networks in Netherlands, for CMG as director in the Public Sector Service group, for HP as Public Sector executive before he joined Atos. Since 2011 he is Director Global Strategy IT in Cities for Atos. The Atos MyCity program focusses on the virtuous circle of managing a city on all aspects as safety, citizen services, employment, education, social and health care, transport and traffic, sustainability and governance and economics. Engaging citizens and business communities to create and maintain a sustainable, safe and prosperous city is the key message in Atos MyCity. In his role he works with cities all over the world to help them define their strategy often referred to as a Smart City Strategy or find solutions to support their strategy. Albert is a strong believer in the fact that data is enabler for successfully creating the city of the future.

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