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Large and small-scale uses of data collection in cities

city-dataData collection on a large scale in developing, and its use in cities is increasing drastically. An American company is now providing businesses and cities with detailed, real-time data that aims to help cities get deeper insight into the patterns of stationary and moving objects, for both indoor and outdoor environments.

The way this works is through the utilisation of a supercomputer that runs advanced neural networks, with an extensive range of wireless radios and a HD stereo camera. Through this, near-instantaneous scene analysis can display critical event notifications in real-time.

This company can, however, ensure customer privacy, as video data streaming never happens outside the sensor itself – the video is analysed on-site and immediately removed from the embedded system. After this, the scene can be described but can never be reconstructed, as to guarantee the safety of the privacy of the public.

This data collection can perform a variety of tasks, as large scale as estimating traffic flow and patterns, and performing detailed and accurate pedestrian and object counts. The technology can monitor the precise trajectory of objects either moving or stationary, whatever speed. This can be used as self-contained analysis, such as in shops, or combined to create a citywide field of view.

In terms of small scale use, this product can be invaluable in shops, monitoring how long a customer dwells on an object, and whether they proceed to buy the object or not. It also monitors how many people come and go from the shop, and whether they enter after spotting something of interest in the window.

Other small scale uses of this are at car parks, where the number and location of parking spaces can be monitored and displayed, perfect for optimising parking utilisation. This type of monitoring, along with monitoring the number of people waiting at bus stops, can be a step on the road to creating true smart city application.

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