SpaceFinder for Smarter Working

All elements of the labour force are subject to pressures for greater flexibility and mobility. The market addressed by the Smarter Working use case is the increasingly mobile labour force of mostly younger people who may be employed, self-employed,  or engaged in microenterprises and SMEs. Through consortium partners Camden Town Unlimited – a Business Improvement District and significant provider of  shared and ad hoc working spaces including enterprise hubs and temporary “popup” events and retail spaces – and UX designers Images&Co, VITAL is well placed to obtain both qualitative and quantitative engagement and feedback with the intended end user group in Camden Town at appropriate points in the development cycle.

Data aggregation

The greatest potential benefits in the London context, where open data including use of live transport data is already well established and advanced, lies in the aggregation of pertinent and trusted data from multiple and burgeoning sources to provide users with choices that can improve their experience and quality of networking, as well as beneficially affect the local economy, employment, sustainability, security, inclusion and accessibility.

Transport data is significant, but in many if not most cases answers only part of the user question. Transport data in association with live air quality data and people density may be a more useful aggregation to compare two or three possible locations. The data to be included in a query depend on the individual user need and preference. The requirement thus arises from the siloisation not only of data sources and systems, but also in current end user applications which focus largely on discrete requirements such as transport, retail or entertainment. The potential use of urban information will be considerably more effective and hence beneficial to smart city objectives – subject to appropriate management of risks such as privacy and data protection – if such barriers can be effectively removed, enabling street-level developers as well as higher level solution providers to develop services born of rich data aggregation which are unlikely ever to see the light of day if the field is left to city planners and commercial organisations. In this way the London use case seeks to build on the political intention behind open data, by opening up opportunity to developers on an open data, open source and open innovation basis.

Camden Town

The central London district of Camden Town is a major centre for the fast-growing creative industries SME sector and close to major investments in the use of IoT by Smart Cities, including Google’s European HQ and Cisco’s London IoT centre. London moreover is a major centre for the development of open data by government as well as the private sector, promoted inter alia by the Open Data Institute of which Images&Co is an active member. A wide range of Camden-local and London-wide data is held in the London Data Store developed by the Greater London Authority, and VITAL is liaising with the GLA and the Borough Partnership that promotes these developments. The London use case is thus concerned with the huge potential for data aggregation in enabling smart citizens to make better choices in smart cities, specifically focused on the economic driver of smarter working. Since Camden Town is a geographically small city area of intense activity, the London use case focuses on fine grain, pedestrian level data, i.e all data that may have pertinence for those are in (or want to go to) the Camden Town area, such as footfall data, air quality, events & attractions, transport and traffic, parking, refuse. In addition to gathering pedestrian level data, the project will concentrate on showcasing the potential of VITAL for developing new business ideas using life IoT data from different silo systems.

VITAL-powered applications

The application example for this is a booking system for smart working, i.e. an application that will support mobile workers and sustainable working in a smart city. Mobile workers require suitable (short term) working environments / business centres (including a working desk, printers, etc). Owners of offices (both public and private) may have unused space and desks in their offices that they can rent to mobile workers for a short time. The system will enable publication of live data about available spaces and any other factors that may be pertinent in the selection of a space. The demonstration shows the current development of the venue admin interface of a bespoke application powered by VITAL and integrated with other third party applications such as CityMapper and NearDesk to provide a seamless end to end user experience.

Click to view admin interface.