The City of Toronto has recently allied with Chicago-based Internet of Things management firm Cityzenith in order to better manage the mounds of raw data cities collect daily.

The aim of this budding alliance is to help major urban centres navigate their massive datasets in order to come up with data-driven solutions to make cities more responsive to the needs of citizens and businesses.

“Cities have produced more data in the past two years than in the previous 200, and 95 per cent of that data is unstructured and hence, unused or underused,” said Cityzenith’s founder and CEO Michael Jansen, in a statement. “Making sense of that data—aggregating it, analyzing it, and visualizing it — is one of the biggest challenges facing cities today.”

The idea is that a user-friendly interface that offers city governments and their department managers useful data at their fingertips can help those datasets become the basic building blocks to inform solutions to problems with infrastructure, public transportation, traffic, and how to use non-renewable energy sources more efficiently.

According to Cityzenith director of product management Robert Lega, Toronto has two primary goals when it comes to this recent alliance: Smart City Database Ontology and visualization of transportation simulations. These two efforts are tailored to suit the needs of the University of Toronto, and are being guided by professors at U of T.

This partnership is also expected to have potential positive impacts on Toronto businesses, as investment opportunities sometimes arise after analysing data for hyper-local economies.

“As the adage goes, ‘location, location, location,’ and Cityzenith’s tools support the analysis of data and information improvements, as well as transportation intentions,” said Lega. “Therefore, a particular corridor may become more attractive to economic development due to traffic patterns or recent uptick in hyper-local economics. Once all data are included as part of the Cityzenith efforts, new and interesting analysis will shed light on all different types of new opportunities.”

Toronto is one of 10 cities across eight countries that have chosen to partner with Cityzenith in the last year. Toronto joins the ranks of major global metropolitan centres such as Chicago, Barcelona, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Washington, D.C, Mexico City, London, London, Singapore and Dubai.

“These 10 cities are forwarded leaning, and have specific needs for introducing more comprehensive solutions for the future of their cities, and already have some working designs and discussions on Smart City needs,” said Lega. “Cityzenith is supporting the needs of our customers and bring the experiences of other cities to each new city, thereby building a comprehensive [Smart City] ecosystem.”

Each of the 10 Smart Cities, including Toronto, will integrate Cityzenith’s 5D Smart City technology, which allows users to easily connect to real-time data with a few clicks. Users have access to a number of modules within the program to measure a number of customizable analytics based on the organization’s goals, including:

  • 5D Smart Environment: Building energy efficiency and GHG emissions tracking.
  • 5D Smart Infrastructure: Physical infrastructure coordination and monitoring, above and below-ground.
  • 5D Smart Security: Public safety module leveraging real-time sensors and CCTV.

The company also plans to offer a preview of the newest version of its 5D Smart City software at the upcoming Smart City Expo World Congress being hosted in Barcelona on Nov. 17 to 19.

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