ITS World Congress is over – call for action

October 30, 2012

ITS World Congress in Vienna is over. A well organized high-profile event with ministers, a grand opening event and a grand ball. The large exhibition halls were full of technology and complex drawings, the seminar program extensive and ministers from all over the world attended. We have seen the movie before: there was full agreement among delegates, speakers and exhibitors also at the 19:th ITS World Congress that ITS is important to save the world, increase safety and security and improve efficiency for people, organizations and societies. A lot of things are  happening in the field but still too many “one road here and one road there pilots”.

But there are three fairly new enablers in the ITS market that can make things happen big way:
  • – the smartphones and pads allowing us to visualize complex things and deliver relevant real-time information for powerful decision-making
  • – the Open Data initiatives carried out in Europe and elsewhere enabling developers to access enormous amounts of relevant data for innovative ITS solutions
  • – the rapidly growing M2M market is feeding Service Enablers with data and together with the Open Data sources this enables faster and more cost efficient development and maintenance of applications.
We have what we need to start taking real advantage of ITS now. Decision makers need to be brave enough to make the right decisions: ensure a strategy for management of data, use of M2M, etc. then go from pilots to action, open up the data and let the entrepreneurs figure out what users want. This will help us realize the benefits of ITS in terms of efficiency, sustainability, security and convenience.

M2M and PSI – Public Sector Information

February 14, 2012

The connecting part of M2M is not really the interesting one, it’s the enabler. The computing part is the interesting one and where most value is created. Connecting things becomes easier and easier technically, practically and financially. Meanwhile the computing power in the cloud is developing immensely fast. Making information collected from machines and other relevant sources available to Internet application developers using the computing power available in the cloud will push innovation to new heights provided security and integrity is taken care of properly. By utilizing computing power in the cloud, devices can be lighter, faster, cheaper and optimized for other things like interaction and usability in something quite similar to the good old client server architecture.

Governments around the world try to support their local high tech industry and most cities today have their local incubators, investment funds and support programs. A quick and quite affordable way for governments on all levels to push and support innovation is to provide access for developers to data produced in the public sector and to promote, maybe push, usage of modern innovative information technology. The access must be affordable and not too complicated for the developers.

EU issued already 2003 the PSI directive – Directive on the re-use of public sector information – which was built on the two key pillars of the internal market: transparency and fair competition. The directive defined minimum rules for re-use of PSI and recommended states to go beyond these rules and adopt open data policies. Several countries including Sweden have been chased by the Commission for slow or poor implementation of the PSI directive which in the case of Sweden is strange since we have had our legislation regarding freedom of information including the right to reprint official documents since 1766. In the most recent version of the directive, 2012, also museums, archives and libraries are covered in the scope.

Most data produced within governments remain there and their ability to attract developers to make innovative and useful applications and services for citizens and society are limited. The growing number of M2M solutions deployed will drastically increase the amount of useful data created why countries acting now will have a growing advantage to others.

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