The Sensing City concept positions Christchurch as a world leading city by incorporating an integrated network of digital sensors into the physical infrastructure (utilities and buildings) of the Christchurch CBD that generate real time, granular data for multiple uses and benefits.
Private and public entities engaged in the rebuild of Christchurch are already integrating some sensors and data collection priorities into their developments. The Sensing City initiative aims to ensure that those entities achieve maximum value from their spend and importantly, that maximum value for the city and country is created from the $30bn invested in the city.
The Sensing City is a social enterprise. It is driven by three core values that underpin this concept. Each need to be present for the whole system to be viable. They are:
- The data must be open: this means that the same data that is available to the City Council will also be available to the public. This not only creates total transparency, but it also creates an innovation ecosystem where a two-person start up company has the same advantage with the data as a multi-national corporation.
- Individuals will not be tracked: there is more value in tracking flows of things across the city (water, traffic etc) than tracking individuals. Arguably the technology to track an individual is already widely accepted by society, with cellphones carried by the majority of the population.
- Measure everything: the real value of the concept is reached when anything that can be measured is actually measured. The value of measuring a certain variable may not be fully understood at the implementation stage, but is likely to be discovered at a later date from an unexpected source.
The objectives for the Sensing City initiative are:
- To be the catalyst in the creation of new information based services and solutions to benefit citizens, improving quality of life and enhancing the way people work, live and play in Christchurch.
- To kick start a new data focussed export industry in New Zealand, encouraging inward investment and talent, stimulating growth, fostering the development of local expertise and attracting talent to the region and positioning Christchurch at the forefront of future cities.
There are several key components of the Sensing City. These are that sensors are installed in
- Public infrastructure, buildings and spaces; and
- Private building.
- An enterprise architecture is created to collect data from multiple sources, including the sensors, other public and private sources (as agreed), smart phones (subject to ethical safeguards) and any other appropriate sources that emerge over time;
- The data is made available and can be transformed into information and applications that generate benefits for all sectors.