In a previous post, I spoke about the different steps to making a city a smart city. I found five:

  1. Identifying and prioritizing needs
  2. Organizing services
  3. Managing data
  4. Choosing technology
  5. Maintenance

Today I would like to return to the issue of data, since it seems so essential to the success of a city’s transformation. What do we mean when we say “smart city”? We mean a city that has used technology to transform itself in order to improve the quality of its management and services for its citizens.

Open Data and Smart Cities

This improvement is underpinned by the data the city will collect through sensors that it will install. This assorted data can be used to manage garbage collection, street lighting, traffic, heating, etc. In Amsterdam, traffic is managed in real time based on data collected about the traffic situation. In Tel Aviv, citizens can use an app to report problems on the road and find parking spots. In Montreal, anyone can put forward ways to improve how the city functions via an e-suggestion box; certain proposals are then implemented by city hall. In Barcelona, the city redesigned its bus system after analyzing residents’ routes so that 95% of journeys could be taken with a maximum of only one connection. In Nantes, the city has made the data available to citizens so as to simultaneously improve their everyday lives and boost the local economy.

A smart city uses data collected by sensors to improve its management and urban services. On the margins of the smart city is the open data city. As in Nantes and Rennes, an open data city makes data accessible in order to facilitate third-party development of tools that are useful to citizens: a transport app, for example.

Simplifying Collaboration While Securing Information

One of the major challenges faced by authorities is combining analysis and collaboration on data while protecting the information. There are two types of data:

  • Public: the open data in Nantes is an example of this where the authorities make it easier to collaborate, create digital projects, and improve services for citizens by making public data accessible to everyone.
  • Private: the data that the authorities collect about residents must be secured and protected.

Depending on the goal, the data can then be viewed 3 ways:

  • As raw material
  • As a lever of opportunities
  • As a strategic asset for optimizing the city

Data’s Challenge is its Interoperability and its Openness.

Data only has value when it is understood, analyzed, and shared. To be able to leverage it, it has to

  • Be available: there are different kinds of data that come from various sources. It must be centralized, structured, organized, secured, and accessible from anywhere.
  • Be under control: control lies in understanding the data. Data strategy and governance need to be seriously thought through.

The issue concerns the variety of data and its anatomy. Indeed, the multiplicity of sources and formats poses a challenge to aggregating this data. Yet, the more the authorities are able to have a comprehensive analytical view of the collected data, the more control they will have over their territory.

 Secure Open-Source Technology

Wakanda is dedicated to simplifying this data’s access and interoperability. It helping in the integration and securing the use of this diverse data (API and web service, media, databases, forms, etc.) within a mobile app project. The platform can be integrated into any type of database and allows you, if need be, to add any connectors necessary so you can connect your app to your particular database.

We work closely with Adullact to promote free software within public entities and with France Connect to simplify citizens’ access to public services through an app created with Wakanda.


Also published on Medium.