Smart cities are the future's answer to overcrowded cities, lack of resources, and insufficient transportation choices. Some cities are forging ahead with the use of innovative urban planning, technological and governance models, showing that with the right focus and resources, cities can become "smart" or more sustainable.
In essence, the smart city is hailed as a way for urban planners to accommodate this growth sustainably; and the services and infrastructure around it has grown to a multi-billion dollar industry in Asia alone.
According to a report by market research firm Navigant Research, investment in smart city information and communication technology (ICT) in Asia Pacific will total US$63.4 billion within year 2014 to 2023.
In this email interview, Dr. Amy Shi-Nash, Chief Data Science Officer at DataSpark, Singtel, talked about how DataSpark is contributing towards Singapore's smart city vision, especially in the aspect of public transportation; and how the Internet of Things (IoT) have changed the game for smart cities, including data privacy issues.
Dr. Amy was also a speaker at the recently-concluded Strata + Hadoop World Singapore 2015, where she presented on how telcos can use data assets to create new applications to invigorate the telco landscape.
For starters, can you tell us a little bit more about DataSpark as an organisation, and how is it working towards enabling smart cities?
DataSpark spearheads Singtel's efforts to develop and commercialise Big Data analytics. The company has created methodologies and software to make sense of the multitude of geo-spatial signals generated by a telco network. Through licensed software and consulting services, we empower our clients in private and public sectors across Southeast Asia with anonymised and aggregated insights. Our capabilities in analytics allow clients to better understand the footprints of their target audience in both the physical and digital worlds, so that they can engage them at the right place and time.
DataSpark has been developing near real-time data streaming and processing capabilities. These real-time capabilities allow smart city applications to leverage the rich and continuous stream of data in the telco network to help organisations make smarter decisions more quickly.
How is the smart city concept evolving for 2016, and what are DataSpark's priorities for this realm?
Globally, the smart city concept focuses on initiatives that tackle the global challenges of urban density, ageing population, healthcare, mobility and energy sustainability.
In Singapore, some of these challenges are compounded by the fact that land is limited, particularly in the areas of mobility and urban planning. According to the Land Transport Authority, Singapore's limited land increases the need for the efficient use and optimal allocation of land resources. It is therefore important to use a scientific approach in estimating future demands that uses factual data instead of estimations. This is especially crucial with new types of transportation being introduced into the system, such as scooters and, in the future, autonomous cars.
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