In 2016 Appsherpas worked with Hitachi Insight Group who launched the City Data Exchange for Copenhagen, a solution for making public and private data accessible so that they can power the innovation that can make smart cities of the future more sustainable, prosperous, and vibrant. The project is a key initiative of the City of Copenhagen and the Capital Region; supporting not only their drive to become carbon neutral by 2025, but also offers a huge potential to improve the quality of life of citizens and boost the local economy.
As a way to demonstrate how data from the City Data Exchange could be used in applications, Hitachi Insight Group, working with partners, developed two applications: Journey Insight, which helps citizens in the region to track their transportation usage over time and understand the carbon footprint of their travel; and Energy Insight, which allows both households and businesses to see how much energy they use.
The first of these, Journey Insights, was developed by Appsherpas – reporting CO2 emissions and transport behaviour. By helping with the understanding of the city’s transport infrastructure usage by citizens, the app could suggest lower CO2 emitting alternatives helping towards Copenhagen’s aim of becoming carbon neutral. In addition to the app design and development, Appsherpas were closely involved in the design of the City Data Exchange APIs ensuring that the interfaces could be easily consumed by future data contributors.
Journey Insight captured the user’s journey as they travelled throughout the city and surrounding region. Using predictive analytics to determine the type of transport being used, travel time, distance and duration the app would calculate calories burnt and CO2 emissions helping the user and the city understand the impact of the user’s travel choices.
In these forms of development where data creation is a key delivery, it is critical to ensure that the user maintains repeat use of the app. Gamification was included as a core feature to allow users to compete with others through leader-boards showing the users personal achievements in CO2 emissions and calorie expenditure measured against other users in the city. Along with the citizens desire to help Copenhagen reduce their carbon footprint, this helped maintain user interest and repeat use of Journey Insight. Companies and organisations were invited to create their own leader-boards allowing users to compete against colleagues, club members and friends.
“Data is the fuel powering our digital world, but in most cities it is unused,” said Hans Lindeman, Senior Vice President, Hitachi Insight Group, EMEA. “Even where data sits in public, freely accessible databases, the cost of extracting and processing it can easily outweigh the benefits.”
“With the City Data Exchange, Hitachi does all the heavy lifting: we are the connection between organizations holding the data and the people who urgently need them to help the citizens of Copenhagen.”
“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.
“Privacy is a critical factor when designing applications that capture user data” said Graeme Gibson, Founder, Appsherpas, “The Journey Insight app collects information about a user’s travel habits in the city and not only does that need to be protected in the City Data Exchange but we believe it is vital to always be under the control of the user. This is provided by allowing the user to both view and delete their own data, even individual items of data, that they do not wish to have shared. This allows the user complete control over data privacy while fully anonymising the data within the Exchange so that it can still add value to city wide insights.”