Helping cities become smarter
Posted on 15/10/2019
Geospatial data is indicative of data which has a geographic component to it. With the vast amount of data now available through satellites, geo tags, GPS and other technologies there lies a huge potential in the information collected and companies like GeoSpock are providing the platforms to effectively analyse and utilise this data.
GeoSpock is a software technology business based in Cambridge, founded in 2013. As a resident of the region, CEO Richard Baker, considers it to be a privilege to have been around the growing high-tech and biotech industry in Cambridge over the last 20-30 years. When Richard met the founder of GeoSpock it was “a collision of the minds but also a collision of previous opportunities and industries.” Richard’s experience at that point included telecommunications, digital media and financial services, both with big international companies but also founding and growing his own companies. There were changes afoot in a lot of industries and these repetitive patterns resonated with him. Richard says, “There was a beautiful intersection in the technology GeoSpock was building at the time and also the markets it wanted to try and take those technologies to.” Having met the founder in 2017, Richard came on board to help take the business beyond its R&D phase – to build on its vision of getting into various markets by commercially scaling.
The big optical networks of the 1990s, which were once the backbone of global communications, are now changing. There is a new backbone to the data economy as we start to see societies getting connected. Effectively these connected devices are going into smart cities and autonomous cars, connected ships, wearables in society. All the data that is produced is now part of a new phase of the internet and it is this data that needs to be harnessed but also managed carefully. The insights that can be extracted make for huge benefits to society. The UK continues to be a very creative market particularly when it comes to data science/computer science. However, the journey of digital transformation programmes continues to be different for every market. The public sector has more ambition now to digitise its infrastructure, to get on with smart cities and digital healthcare, yet despite this ambition and appetite to do more, it gets caught up in legacy, supply chain and procurement processes. Through the last 10 years of digital transformation the new kid on the block is location-based data.
GeoSpock will be taking part in the Maintenance of Infrastructure Assets using Geospatial Insights event, hosted by the Geospatial Insights Special Interest Group (Geospatial SIG), on 21 November in Birmingham. “Infrastructure industries are going through an education phase”, says Richard. “How do companies and industries view all the information in context to what is happening? How can they run behavioural analytics and location analytics off a modern-day platform like the ones offered by GeoSpock and how does it benefit their business? There is an education gap and we see this event as helping illuminate where location analytics can play for modern enterprise.
Richard highlights 3 important themes to the necessity of this event.
- The first is infrastructure transformation akin to the rise of smart cities in the UK. Currently there are over 60 smart cities up and running. By showcasing specific use case, other cities will get the benefit of adopting from the learned experience and adopting technologies much more quickly, instead of inventing it all from scratch.
- There is also the recent rise of 5G telecommunication in the UK. There is a large spatial context to rolling out and utilising the 5G network. “This will include a re-architecture of networks, where old big masts and cell towers will be disbanded and smaller micro and pico stations will be built on streetlights and on top of buildings.” Density planning of a 5G network is completely different which throws up the question of does the city participate in giving up roof tops and their streetlamp posts? What’s the collaboration between the telco and city environments in that future infrastructure?
- There has also been a move in asset logistics or supply chains that are digitising. So, whether its distribution centres or fleet management with trucks on the road or a UK port with goods moving out, all of these environments benefit from spatial big data to really help find the value in digital supply chains.
The UK government is recognising the importance of geospatial data and its potential, clearly highlighted by the formation of the Geospatial Commission. The Infrastructure Commission sits alongside them, which looks at the transformation of infrastructure up and down the UK. GeoSpock have been participating in some of the evaluations and investigations the commission has been doing on what geospatial data means for the UK economy. Collaboration is the name of the game here, to ensure the data catalogue is available to service providers when needed.
Richard says; “There has been really good efforts by Innovate UK where early innovations like smart street lighting, environmental sensors for weather and carbon monitoring, the health of city centres, would not have been adopted without their support and funding.”
Find out more about the Maintenance of Infrastructure Assets using Geospatial Insights event. Get further information about the aims of this SIG by clicking here.