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Cities share data hub knowledge

The platform will be based on the same technology as MK:Smart’s hub but BT will build on the functionality for Manchester’s smart cities project

The CityVerve data hub is planned for launch in October
The CityVerve data hub is planned for launch in October


The capabilities of Milton Keynes’ data hub will be expanded by BT to provide a data platform for the management of travel and transport in Manchester. It forms part of the two-year smart cities project, CityVerve.


John Davies, chief researcher for future business at BT, said: “One of BT’s roles in the project is to provide a data platform for the travel and transport theme.


“The platform will be based on the same technology as the MK:Smart data hub, but the project gives us the chance to further enhance our capability.”


Deployment of the Manchester data hub is scheduled for October and it will be developed over the duration of the project with the first prototypes expected to become available in summer 2017.


The MK Data Hub was jointly developed by The Open University and BT as part of the MK:Smart project and brings together data from a range of sensors around Milton Keynes.


It’s enabling developers to use the data in a number of smart applications, and government and research bodies to compile reports on the management of resources in one of the UK’s fastest growing cities.


Speaking to SmartCitiesWorld, Mathieu d’Aquin, senior research fellow at the Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, who led the MK Data Hub project, says local SMEs which wouldn’t normally map data are already finding the hub useful. MK:Smart is also running the Urban Startup Lab which aims to help SMEs and tech entrepreneurs generate value and derive commercial advantage from the rich data source provided by the hub.


D’Aquin also reports that the recent digital artwork project, Ground Resistance, which visualised the city as data, helped capture the imagination of local people. The installation, created by artists Wesley Goatley and Georgina Voss, invited audiences to walk through and around a projected representation of Milton Keynes, watching live data from utilities, communications, and sensors pulse through the city, while learning how these systems work and the data they carry.


“This helped to raise awareness of the hub and we are currently working on MK Insight which will provide an interface to the data which is designed more for citizens,” says d’Aquin, who said it would be accessible by the end of the year.

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