Getting from A to B — the smart way

Alexander S Pieri, editor of ACN, debates the value of data sharing in a smart city environment.

Tags: ITP Media Group (itp.com/)United Arab Emirates
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Getting from A to B — the smart way Alexander Sophoclis Pieri, editor of Arabian computer news.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  April 24, 2017

Back when I was still the deputy editor for facilities management Middle East, I put together a feature on the topic of access control.

As part of that feature I reached out to Kone, who at the time had released an impressive turnstile solution that served as both the building's access point, as well as the first step in the company's People Flow Intelligence.

Starting from the moment people passed through the turnstiles, all the way up to when they reached their floor, Kone's technology optimises the movement of human traffic through the building.

It does this by grouping people and assigning them to specific elevators, ensuring that everyone reaches their destination as efficiently as possible.

The vision for Kone's smart building technology didn't stop there however.

At the time, the company was aiming to have its People Flow Intelligence platform deployed in facilities connected to public transportation hubs, such as subway stations.

This would enable the platform to track passengers traveling on the subway and to prepare for their arrival to the destination building well in advance.

In addition to calculating the movement of the average employee way in advance, the concept also provides the opportunity to create new services.

 An example of this would be a VIP service that once it detects a high-profile individual, it can designate an exclusive lift for use, and even start the environmental systems in the person's office, such as lighting and air conditioning.

This ‘complete journey experience' can be further expanded with additional travel points, such as bus transfers and vehicle transportation, but also with sub-services targeted at the user.

The latter could include targeted marketing and special offers that would be sent to the user during their transit.

For example, if there was a coffee shop on one's journey to the office, a two-for-one offer could sent to their mobile device once they are in close proximity.

The realisation of this complete journey however, will require a number of critical factors to fall into place. The first and foremost is the challenge of data. For such as an ecosystem to exist, data from each step on the path needs to be generated and shared in real-time. But not every point will necessarily have the capability to generate data or have the analytics to process it into something meaningful.

If we assume that each step along the individual's path was generating data, that wouldn't necessarily mean the information would translate easily from one organisation to another.

If we go back to Kone's example of where a subway station meets a smart building, while the two facilities could be easily connected, the data generated and analytics used could be quite different.

Adding additional components, such as Uber car services and targeted marketing, the issue becomes further compounded. It therefore becomes imperative to establish set standards around data and analytics that will further promote collaboration within a smart city environment.

Outside of the technical challenges, this idea of a complete journey experience for the user is one that crosses various channels, organisations and businesses. Because of this, we are likely to see more and more organisations engaging with each other and forming partnerships, as a way to differentiate their service from the competition.

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