Sensing City – senior Govt official view

Last night I talked on the phone with a very senior official about how Governments use data.  He was fine to talk on the phone but asked that his name not be blogged for a few weeks.  Given the sensitivity of the conversation here’s the highlights.

He thinks that the Sensing City is “the way of the future,” and was a unique concept globally. His view is that that the whole area is in it’s infancy but will explode in the next two to three years. The aim of such initiatives is to use data to be proactive about how cities function.

He sees data as the new currency of the city.

In a previous role he was heavily involved in promoting the release of data in civic organisations.  As such he recommends that each local government department has a data officer who spends their time reviewing data and understanding the implications. The aim of this investment is to reduce the cost of running a city by enabling things like proactive maintenance (e.g. when will a water pipe need maintenance based on actual road traffic, as opposed to waiting for the pipe to rupture and closing the road to fix it).

He thought that there were four main reasons why a city should invest in initiatives like the Sensing City:

  1. for economic growth
  2. to create jobs
  3. to allow for effective local government
  4. increased safety (both for emergency services, and in emergencies)

In December I’ll update this to add his name and position.

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