Urenio Watch Watch: Intelligent Cities / Smart Cities

Open source Big Data Smart City algorithms

How could the creation of Big Data Smart city algorithms which are open sourced benefit cities? Which are the hidden pitfalls? Through his blog, Ajit Jaokar of futuretext.com elaborates on the opportunities and the risks around the use of Big Data for Smart Cities and commences an open discussion with interested parties.

Algorithms, along with People, Grass roots innovation, Sensors, Open Data, Big Data (analytics) and technology are the constituents of a Smart City. Extending the ideas of Big Data to Smart cities, algorithms could play a key role with Smart cities. The goal is to create and release Big Data algorithms for Smart cities as Open source. By doing so, all cities could use these algorithms in their own way.

Jaokar proposes a methodology of starting with the selection of existing city level problems where algorithms could be applied. This list includes:
– Environmental services (ex: reduced pollution)
– Recycling/waste disposal
– Optimal use and location of infrastructure
– Traffic management
– Transportation
– Consumer advice based on real time data
– Healthcare
– City Planning (zoning, construction, transport, airports)

After this, we could look at Big Data algorithms so as to later apply them to the above city level problems. Concerning Big Data algorithms, the current options include:
– Predictive analytics algorithms.
– In many instances, we may have to re-apply ideas from other domains to city level problems.
– Real time algorithms
– Machine learning algorithms

Algorithms can take learning from one domain and apply it to another. So, there are many areas from which we could apply learning to Smart cities. By releasing them as open source, other cities could contribute to these algorithms.

Jaokar also looks at the pitfalls of Big Data, which revolve around socio-economic concerns: will the benefits favor the entire society, or just the rich? How can we ensure that the great power that comes with Big Data will be used only for purposes of the common good? What ethical/moral issues arise? How will privacy be secured? Who is actually the owner and the controller of Bid Data? Big Data does not exactly engender trust with the public, the writer states. Contribution, transparency and trust are the key to making Big data algorithms for Smart cities as Open Source, he concludes.

Access the original and analytical post on Ajit Jaokar’ s blog here.