- A new guide from nonprofit smart city organization US Ignite and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) looks to help cities exchange data between themselves and with vendors in a bid to solve challenges across jurisdictional boundaries.
- The Smart Cities Data Catalog Specification recommends taking a common data-sharing approach that would standardize collected data, so it can be easily accessed and used by government agencies, developers and other partners. That data could then be used by neighboring cities and jurisdictions in a cooperative way.
- The organizations said the use of data exchanges will help break down municipal silos, and would be like the data portals open to residents and developers for their use, and having multiple cities connect those data exchanges together would make the data they collect and standardize even more valuable.
An increasing number of cities and related organizations have started to approach issues like climate change, mobility and economic development on a regional basis. In recognition of the fact that, as Amanda Daflos, director of innovation for the City of Los Angeles, said during the Smart Cities Connect conference in April 2019, "Problems don’t see borders." Already, groups including the Greater Phoenix Smart Region Consortium, the North Texas Innovation Alliance and the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance have looked to lead those regional efforts.
With data sharing, that regional approach can yield results that benefit a multitude of cities and local jurisdictions, whether it be through reducing congestion, controlling emissions, helping with emergency response and enhancing strategies to encourage more tourism.
"The value of city data doesn't end at the borders of municipal control," Praveen Ashok, Technical Program Manager at US Ignite, said in a statement. "Whether people are monitoring traffic patterns to understand mobility demands, or analyzing resource availability to develop economic strategy, they need data sets that extend beyond governmental boundaries."
The value of data and collaboration has taken on even more importance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as states and cities have looked to keep residents informed on the spread of the infection, not just within their own boundaries but nearby. Dana Berchman, chief digital officer for the Town of Gilbert, AZ, said in a previous interview that having available, usable data is a way of providing strong leadership during a crisis like a pandemic.
"This is one of those things where we've tried to create this drumbeat of information," Berchman said at the time. "It's like, if you build it, they will come."
And those involved said with a richer collection of data to use, there are opportunities to lean into new technologies to enhance their goals. Mike Nawrocki, ATIS' Vice President for Technology and Solutions, said in a statement there are opportunities to make use of advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), with all those tools helping to "increase the value of smart cities data."