How the city of Milton Keynes uses Big Data in practice
Estimates suggest Milton Keynes’ population will swell to 350,000 in 10 years’ time. Existing infrastructure will struggle to cope with this rise – which is where smart city projects can help.
Connected, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions have been proposed for transport, enterprise growth, education, energy efficiency, and water supply planning. In one project, sensors will be installed at recycling facilities, meaning the process of emptying them can be made more efficient (for example, by not sending trucks to empty containers that are not yet full). In another, traffic and footfall through public spaces will be monitored to help plan public transport routes, footpaths and cycle paths. And a number of homes are taking part in trials of energy-saving home appliances and smart meters.
Although the smart city initiative is in its early stages, Milton Keynes’ council is already working with over 40 partners on projects across the city.
The technical details
Among the many data projects, data is collected from more than 80 council-run refuse disposal sites. Sensors monitor the flow of traffic on roads and paths throughout the city. Smart street lighting technology gathers data on when and where people are walking at night, to ensure street lights are on where they’re needed and off where they’re not needed, thereby saving energy. Data on water and energy usage is gathered to better understand demand and to help plan for supply.
An analytics platform, which is based on Hadoop and designed by the Indian company TechMahindra, provides much of the data processing infrastructure. Other opensource technologies are also used, such as Sqoop, Flume, Spark, Oozie, Mahout and Hive.
Ideas and insights you can steal
IoT and smart city technology could massively improve efficiency in the delivery of public services, and it’s an idea that can be easily applied to the world of business. As Geoff Snelson, director of strategy at the council, says, “A lot of these solutions are about delivering efficiencies by gathering better – more timely and more accurate – information. It’s not voodoo – just better information.”
You can read more about how Milton Keynes is using Big Data to drive success in Big Data in Practice: How 45 Successful Companies Used Big Data Analytics to Deliver Extraordinary Results.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.