Carl is Vice President Strategic Programs at TM Forum. He is passionate about market and technology disruptions and about helping the TM Forum membership transform to successful digital service providers in the emerging digital economy.
He is now leading the Smart City Forum with the vision to provide the business and technology blueprint for a scalable and sustainable Smart City, underpinning the top 100 Smart Cities by 2020.
Carl has been working 20 years in the IT and communications industries and has a background from consultancy and global software organisations. Carl holds a M.Sc. in Engineering Physics from Uppsala University and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Shanghai Academy.
One of the things that came through loud and clear from speakers and delegates from 170 smart cities around the world at our recent Smart City InFocus event in China’s smart city capital, Yinchuan, is how technology and data are not important in themselves, but how they enable citizen value, citizen inclusion and city sustainability. I believe we will see this demonstrated even more clearly as cities advance to an economy of data model driven by services consumed by citizens.
Many cities around the world are already using open data, whether static or real-time, to work more efficiently and spot patterns. A growing number are using platforms or data hubs to integrate that internal open data and augment it with data from paid, third-party sources, such as local businesses. The next stage of this is scaling up to sharing data and services between cities, which was a hot topic among the 1,000+ delegates at our recent smart city InFocus conference.
A step further
The benefits of enabling this kind of data sharing will be huge – we are only at the early stages of understanding the possibilities. Data could be shared across cities to support wider innovations and a smart region, smart nation approach. This avoids each one reinventing the wheel, duplicating investment and repeating mistakes: The trends in one city could help with understanding those in another or across a region. Further, the bigger and richer datasets are, the more statistically relevant and reliable they become. This leads to much better insights into of trends, city operations and citizens.
In particular, areas such as security, health and environmental sustainability stand to benefit from inter-city data sharing.
One city is not a market
Commercial and end-to-end apps have a lot of potential too. If apps, services and solutions can be developed once and used in multiple cities, as well as end-to-end between those cities, the proposition is a much more compelling proposition for developers, which should ensure more innovation and greater benefit for citizens.
As Jarkko Oksala, CIO, City of Tampere, remarked in his presentation at Smart City InFocus, “One city is not a market.” He outlined work on scaling the use of data through the Six Cities initiative, a strategy for sustainable urban development between the six largest cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku and Oulu. The strategy has three focus areas: open innovation platforms, open data and interfaces, and open participation.
The innovation platforms are used to create and test new services and products in real-world conditions. Meanwhile, the data and interfaces opened up by the cities serve as the raw material for developing new services and operations. To achieve this vision, common standards and APIs are required to ensure interoperability.
To scale this further, Tampere is active in the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative, which recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TM Forum to use our Smart City Maturity & Benchmarking Model for its members.
OASC also works to bring the Forum’s digital partnering application program interfaces (APIs) to market, which are bundled with those of FIWARE, an open, cloud-based platform for the creation and delivery of smart city applications and services.
Indeed, APIs are a major strand of TM Forum’s efforts through a number of inter-related initiatives. APIs are key because they unlock the usefulness of data, enabling them to be combined with other internal or external data assets quickly and easily. Consequently, they allow mashed-up services to be assembled at unparalleled speed and scale, bringing all kinds of information, individuals, companies and other organizations together for purposes limited only by imagination.
For this reason, TM Forum’s member organizations have developed a suite of 18 open APIs, with more in the pipeline. These include Product Catalog, Product Ordering and Product Inventory.
We are proving the value of these APIs in a smart city context through the work we are doing with FIWARE on a Business Framework for the economy of data and in our Catalyst projects.
Through this work, we are tackling challenges such as creating the technical foundations for the management and monetization of different kinds of digital assets involving multiple partners. We are also working on areas such as managing service-level agreements and ensuring trust.
In addition, as part of the Yinchuan Innovation Center initiative, TM Forum is working in collaboration with ZTEsoft and Smart Yinchuan to build a city platform using these APIs.
Find out more: www.tmforum.org/smartcity.
See more on Open Data Con Blog.