- Industrial technology company Rolls-Royce, along with its data innovation branch R2 Data Labs, has launched a data analytics alliance to develop best practices for economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The alliance, Emer2gent, will merge various industrial datasets with behavior and sentiment data to develop insights and "practical applications" that support government and business decision-making in reopening the economy, according to a blog post.
- Alliance members include IBM, Google Cloud, The Data City, Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, Truata, ODI Leeds and Rolls-Royce. The alliance is facilitated by Whitespace, a digital platform that assists organizations in the development and conception of innovation strategies.
Despite operational limitations imposed by stay-at-home orders, smart cities are still using data and analytics to best understand the novel coronavirus and its impact on residents.
In a recent webinar, What Works Cities' Director of City Progress Zachary Markovits explained that data can help partnerships and improve the progress cities are making in working through the pandemic. He pointed to cities like Philadelphia and Baltimore that have leveraged data to understand community needs and identify the locations where food should be distributed.
In Chicago, anonymous location data was recently analyzed to find efforts to "flatten the curve" are working. Cellphone movement data from BlueDot revealed that residents remained home nearly 80% of the time last week, compared to an average of 59%-64% of the time in February and early March. As a result, the city's number of COVID-19 cases are now doubling every 12 days instead of last month’s rate of doubling every 2-3 days.
The Emer2gent alliance will enable another method of comprehensive data analysis, but will use the vast resources and platforms of IBM and Google Cloud to complement existing government insights. IBM and Google Cloud have both been champions of coronavirus mitigation in cities; IBM has turned its 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge into a search for coronavirus-related solutions, while Google Cloud has enabled more remote connections for global employees forced to work from home.
Guidance from the alliance on how to reopen the economy could be useful to governments officials. President Trump on Thursday unveiled an 18-page document that details how governors can approach a slow reopening of the government, following a week of mixed messaging from the White House.
To keep up with all of our coverage on how the new coronavirus is impacting U.S. cities, visit our daily tracker.