Category Archives: Smart Cities

Posts about how technology and data can improve the cities we live in.

Datathon about pollution in Barcelona

 

A few years ago, when we created Bcn Analytics our vision was Barcelona can become a European analytics hub. Our ambition was to foster that different members of community (business, academia, data professionals) could meet and share experiences and knowledge. Now, 3 years after, we feel proud of we accomplished. We have organised 10 meet-ups where fantastic speakers from great organisations have shared their expertise: we had guests from Google, New York University, King.com, La Caixa, Telefonica, Schibsted, Social Point, BBVA, IPSOS or Vistaprint, among others. We also had the chance to organise two Datathons with Social Point so data scientists could compete to win some prizes while having fun with data.

But when we created BcnAnalytics we also wanted to contribute to make Barcelona a better city. We truly believe data can also be for good. So, we are proud to announce we are co-organising the first “Barcelona Pollution Datathon”. What is the Datathon about? First let me share some data points. According to this article 95% of people in Barcelona are breathing more particle pollution than is recommended by World Health Organisation. If you think about, this is scary. In fact air pollution in Barcelona rises by 48% on public transport strike days, study reveals. We thought we could do something to raise awareness on pollution levels and also get data scientists involved. And we decided to co-organise an event with CCCB, BSC, Leitat and Eurecat. That was the spurn of this first “Barcelona Pollution Datathon”.

The Datathon is going to be part of the exhibition “After the End of the World” which is being organised by CCCBB. Participants of the datathon will have to build a prediction model on Barcelona pollution levels. We have more than 3.000€ in prizes thanks to our sponsors Social Point, Holaluz and Gauss & Neumann. We also have the support of Mobile World Congress.

Datathon will be on January 20th and 21st and registration is now open through this link https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf6cMswcosinjbC6-VS13Ih4fIYUPaC3LYV5VcOGxLIiK8-IQ/viewform .

Do not miss it and let people know they can make a difference and also have access to great prizes.

Note: this blog entry has been written by Manuel Bruscas, co-founder of BcnAnalytics.  The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own




An introduction to smart cities

The digital revolution has pushed the limits of our technology to new heights and it has had a deep impact into almost every aspect of human life. Amongst these is the way in which we manage the up-keeping and growth of our cities, where data is playing an ever increasing role. Many models have been imagined, and some of them tried, that leverage data to create what has been broadly termed as smart cities. In the article from The Economist, Mining the urban data, they give a good view of some of the most innovative cities worldwide, which range from Masdar in Abu Dhabi (a start-from-scratch project developing a new city which is planned to be completely powered by renewable energy), to the integration of data into cities like Singapore, which is at the forefront of this wave. The article argues that most smart cities will be built from the bottom up (as opposed to projects like Masdar), and those that do join will reap the benefits of higher productivity.

As we take a closer look at ourselves, what have we done to become a smart city? And what can we do better?

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Can smartphone apps make better communities?

OurMobilePlanet.com (research commissioned by Google) has Spain ranking among the highest countries in terms of smartphone penetration (earlier research suggested it might have been even higher on the list only two years ago). Cities can and should leverage the widespread of smartphones to create better platforms of communication for their citizens. For example let’s take a look at what a suburban village of Chicago is doing. The Village of Gurnee has partnered with Nextdoor, an app that specializes in offering social networks for neighbourhoods, to offer a free app aimed at improving the communication among its residents.

If we take the cue from Gurnee and expand on it, the potential that this lends to cities is amazing. Apps could play a key role at creating/enhancing a sense of community, think about simple things like letting your building neighbours know that you will have some repairs done. It can also be a new and effective way to communicate to citizens, for example by letting a particular block know that their power will be shut off for system maintenance. It can also become a central repository for citizens to communicate with their government, by allowing them to log incidents and such. Of course all of this would also provide a host of very valuable data that could be leveraged to better improve the quality of life for the people living in these cities.

If smartphone penetration in Spain is any indication of Barcelona’s reality, then we cannot let this opportunity go unused (lest we forget that Barcelona is also the host to the most important mobile congress in the world). There are plenty of cities already taking advantage of all the opportunities that technology brings. What should we be doing?

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