Smart cities
Smart cities

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Smart cities

3.3 Can data power a smart city revolution?

The role of data in the smart city

What are the three Vs? Who has access to what data? And how do they use it?

Big data, open data, freely accessible data, closed data, personal data … here’s a guide to the different types of data.

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LORRAINE:
Data plays a central role in smart cities driving innovation and enterprise. Data comes from many places, for example, weather sensors, smart travel cards and online transactions. We hear a lot about terms such as 'big data' and 'open data' but what do they mean? 'Big data' refers to large volumes of raw data gathered at high frequency with a high degree of complexity. For example, 500 million tweets are sent each day and there are 1.44 billion active Facebook users all generating data. The three Vs apply to big data. There are large volumes of big data, there is lots of variety in big data and velocity as big data needs to be analysed quickly.
But who has access to what data and how do they use it? 'Open data' is data that anyone can access, use and share. It is data that is published under a license with express permission to re-use, share and modify. However not all data is open data. Data being freely accessible does not mean it's open data. For example, Twitter feeds are freely accessible but you can't re-use the data without buying a license with strict conditions. Some data will be 'closed data' for reasons including privacy, security and commercial confidentiality. When personal data is being dealt with it's important to put in place privacy safeguards and ways for the individual to access their own data.
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You’ll be exploring how cities use and benefit from these different types of data in the case studies that follow.

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