Making cities smarter

With the rise of Big Data in construction and design gathering pace, we have the opportunity to use measurable data to shape buildings and cities around their occupants like never before. Ever on the lookout for the next big technology in the field, the team at Innovate UK recently picked data-analytics company NquiringMinds as IoTUK Boost winners, and they're here to tell us what all the fuss is about.

The Internet of Things has been regarded as the next step in our evolution for a while, but until recently we’ve only just started to realise its full potential. With the ability for everything to be connected and working in a smarter, more efficient way, it’s little wonder that innovators have been looking for different pathways to creating a platform to reap the benefits of it all. Step forward, nquiringminds, who won a Small BusinessResearch Initiative contract to develop an open data platform to help cities deliver key services in a smarter fashion.

To put the power of the technology into perspective, nquiringminds allows cities to capture, secure, analyse and use all sorts of data so that all of its operations can be smoothed out. Whether that’s the running of schools, managing the traffic flow of public transportation, connecting health and social care services or many other things, we now have an answer to make our cities much smarter places to live and work.

The data has always been there, but before there’s never been a chance to round it all up and analyse it with any great depth. That’s because there’s no one organisation or individual who owns it, so the likes of national agencies, emergency services, private companies and subcontractors horded the data and made it tough to decipher. With the nquiringminds platform we have the technology to break down the dam holding the data back, providing the key insights that we’ve been looking for. This means the planning and running of a city’s operations can be streamlined like never before.

The software that nquiringminds developed allows for sensors to be placed into buildings, which then provide state of the art analytics. These analytics can be shared with numerous people and organisations, resulting in a variety of benefits for the people living in them. For example a social worker would be able to tell if an elderly person was moving around the house okay, and a maintenance company would be able to tell if any equipment is close to failing. Elsewhere homeowners will be able to check if they’re getting the very best deals on their energy usage.

New technology is vastly increasing the amount of useful data available to engineers 
These sensors are already being used in 200 council homes in Southampton in order to predict when any refurbishment will be needed. The technology also currently looks into the management of waste, the planning of infrastructure and many other useful insights. Thanks to innovations like this we’ll be able to overcome many of the challenges faced in our cities and enhance the quality of life for everyone residing there.

For more videos like this head to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel, or take a look at their Twitter account here.


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