Hu Yoshida

Copenhagen City Data Exchange Can Offer Improved Services and Create Jobs

Blog Post created by Hu Yoshida Employee on May 30, 2016

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On May 21, Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, announced the launch of the City Data Exchange, CDE, the first digital marketplace of its kind where public and private data is made accessible to make smart cities more sustainable, vibrant, and prosperous. The concept of a central data mart was conceived by Copenhagen to help achieve their goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. While Copenhagen has been aggressively initiating smart city programs such as smart lighting, traffic management, and intelligent building management, up to now the data from theses individual project have been kept in silos. While individual data streams are valuable for an individual project, integrating and sharing that data is required to build a smart city, where health services, public safety, energy and businesses work together.


In 2015 Copenhagen and the Capital region around Copenhagen partnered with Hitachi to build an integrated cloud platform that establishes a city data marketplace for the sale and purchase of data that is combined from multiple sources like data from public authorities, traffic sensors, energy usage, and information submitted by individuals and businesses. This is one of the first times public data and private data volunteered by businesses and citizens will be combined. While the benefits of sharing this data is obvious to public administrators and citizens, why would businesses want to share data and buy data in this way?


This is an exchange, a market place where businesses can earn money from data that may be otherwise occupying expensive storage capacity and generating no revenue. It can also give them information about the consumers of their data. Also buying data from a single repository will be less costly than creating their own data silos. So while CDE was originally conceived to help Copenhagen’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2025, it has commercial value by providing businesses with deeper insights into their businesses and customers, which enables better business planning and opportunities for business innovation. 


"Smart Cities need smart insights, and that's only possible if everybody has all the facts at their disposal. The City Data Exchange makes that possible; it's the solution that will help us all to create better public spaces and -- for companies in Copenhagen to offer better services and create jobs," said Frank Jensen, the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.


The City of Copenhagen is using guidelines for a data format that is safe, secure, ensures privacy and makes data easy to use. The City Data Exchange will only accept data that has been fully anonymized by the data supplier to ensure privacy. All of this spares organizations the

trouble and cost of extracting and processing data from multiple sources. “At the same time, proprietary data can now become a business resource that can be monetized outside an organization.”


At the announcement event with the Lord May of Copenhagen. There were 3 different use cases presented to show how the marketplace can be used by businesses as sellers or buyers of data.


The CEO and Founder of a global Architecture/Engineering company (Gehl Architects) with offices in Copenhagen, NYC and San Francisco) discussed how the data in City Data Exchange will allow them to better design and adapt public spaces based on a better understanding of patterns of activity. Gehl Architect ran a public space analysis in 2005 to boost the attractiveness of Copenhagen’s Vesterbrogade passage. Much of their design work relied on data based on samples. Thanks to the data exchange, in the future Gehl Architects can revisit the project to quickly gain much deeper insights into how citizens are using the area, which will result in better informed design decisions and public policy making. They also have data that they intend to sell.  As a frame of reference, Gehl is the company that worked with the New York City to design how to close off Broadway at Times Square and make that a highly useful public space.


The CEO of a small app development company from New York (Vizalytics) talked about how her ”Mind My Business” mobile app that is used by thousands of retailers in New York City (and Chicago and Seattle) would be much more valuable to her customers with the type of activity data that the City Data Exchange is going to have. It brings together all the data that can affect a retailer — from real-time information on how construction or traffic issues can hurt the footfall of a business, to timely reminders about taxes to pay or new regulations to meet. The “survival app for shopkeepers” makes full use of all the relevant data sources brought together by the City Data Exchange. She is now connected with many people in Copenhagen so she can sell her app there and she in turn can help businesses in Copenhagen connect with businesses in New York City, Chicago and Seattle.


The 3rd use case was from a company called GEO. They are an engineering firm that specializes in subsurface projects (anything underground – water, sewer, subways, etc.).  They discussed how they have very large amounts of data that they have collected from their engineering projects over the years.  They believe that many others would find value in this data and so they are going to sell it on the City Data Exchange.


The City Data Exchange marketplace for data was developed over the past year by Hitachi Insight Group, who won the tender in May 2015 and launched the CDE portal on May 18, 2016. Hitachi worked in close collaboration with more than 50 companies co-creating the CDE along with several universities, non-profit organizations and other cities. The City Data Exchange will offer data in different categories such as: city life, infrastructure, climate and environment, business data and economy, demographics, housing and buildings, and utilities usage. The range of categories shows that the CDE goes way beyond what Copenhagen had originally planned for and could easily be the base for Big Data analytics for IoT for other smart cities around the world. The CDE team has already found 65 sources of open data on Copenhagen–everything from demographics to weather and crime statistics. The City Data Exchange is currently offering raw data to its customers, and later this year will add analytical tools. The cost of gathering and processing the data will be recovered through subscription and service fees, which are expected to be much lower than the cost any company or city would face in performing the work of extracting, collecting, cleansing, and integrating the data by themselves. Below is a snapshot of the CDE Portal.

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In addition to creating this marketplace, Hitachi Insight Group will design and develop two applications to demonstrate how this big data service can be used in unique ways. The first application will integrate data from Danish energy providers to help companies and citizens compare and rate their energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint, and relate those measurements to key business and personal metrics such as number of employees and amount of office or living space. The second application will enable citizens to track their transportation behaviors via smartphones and to calculate time spent, calories burned, and their GHG footprint. The app will also recommend alternative transportation options with a lower journey time, higher calorie, burn, and lower GHG footprint.

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Hitachi will establish an organization and processes to enable this data marketplace, and will provide data analytics and help third-party developers use the data in their applications. In addition, this Hitachi organization will assist businesses and researchers – subscribers who are interested in analytics – to access data directly from the data marketplace.