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Kainos joins Urban Data Project to help build citizen trust in smart cities

The digital services and platform provider will help develop and support the City Data Guardian platform that aims to safeguard citizen data.

City Data Guardian is being rolled out in the UK city of Cambridge
City Data Guardian is being rolled out in the UK city of Cambridge

Digital services and platform provider Kainos has joined the Urban Data Project (UDP), the smart cities initiative that aims to help cities build trust with citizens around their use of data.


Kainos has been chosen by smart city application developer, Telensa, which is lead partner in the project, because of its experience in developing on Microsoft Azure, and its track record in providing digital services to government.


What is the Urban Data Project?


Telensa, Microsoft, Smart Cambridge, Qualcomm and Kainos are working together to build the cloud-based City Data Guardian trust platform, which applies a city’s policies on data privacy, governance and usage. By providing transparency over the use of data, it aims to help smart cities’ chief data officers to build public trust and engagement and is currently being rolled out in the UK city of Cambridge.


The platform, built on Microsoft Azure, collects, stores, secures, manages and analyses data from Telensa’s Multi-Sensor Pods. These gather and fuse sensor data from devices, including camera and radar imaging, to measure, for instance, levels of traffic, footfall, pollution and noise. Data processed at the edge is secured and transmitted to the platform and the data safeguards applied.


“Privacy and trust should be central to any smart city project and cities should retain full control of their data,” said Jon Lewis, vice president, Urban Data at Telensa. “We are committed to enabling cities to protect potentially sensitive citizen data and ensure transparency around how data is used.


“It was imperative that we partnered with a provider that understood this requirement, had expertise in building secure cloud-based data insight platforms and IoT solutions, and the digital capabilities to build a flexible platform to meet our need.

“Privacy and trust should be central to any smart city project and cities should retain full control of their data”

City Data Guardian is built on Microsoft Azure, using platform-as-a-service (PaaS) features such as IOT Hub. Kainos, a Microsoft UK Partner of the Year, will provide ongoing support as it is rolled out to other cities.


Key features of the platform include:

  • Secure-by-design trust engine: with a secure-by-design approach, the platform puts cities in full control of who receives data under which circumstances, enabling greater transparency.
  • Digital twin: the platform collects and analyses real-time urban data to create a digital twin of the city, representing how people use the city, the mix of traffic on the roads, hyper-local air quality, noise levels and more.
  • Analytics, machine Learning and AI: the platform is integrated with AI and machine learning, helping to provide deeper analysis, correlating data insights and enabling what-if scenario planning.
  • Modular architecture: both Telensa’s MSPs and the platform have modular architectures that future-proof smart city projects, allowing for new data-driven products and datasets to be introduced in line with the evolving needs of cities.
  • Support for open standards: easy integration between applications helping to connect and share data, where cities have granted permission.
  • Collective intelligence: as the Urban Data Project is expanded to other cities, data can be consolidated – with appropriate permissions – helping to build collective intelligence around how cities work. Ultimately, this data will help to build cleaner, safer and better cities in the future.


“We wholeheartedly support Telensa’s mission to strengthen citizen trust and policy transparency in urban data,” said Russell Sloan, divisional director at Kainos. “The platform enables cities to apply technology in a transparent and ethical way, so that citizens can be confident about how their data is being collected and used.


“Once the Urban Data Project is rolled out to other cities around the world, the collective intelligence gathered will identify trends and patterns that could completely transform how we live.”


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