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Milton Keynes’ Data Hub opens to the public
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Milton Keynes’ Data Hub opens to the public

Posted by Zenobia HegdeJune 21, 2016

With Milton Keynes being one of the fastest growing cities in the UK and a great economic success story, the MK Data Hub was created by MK:Smart to inform smart planning and sustainable use of resources across the city and to support its continued growth.

Having been restricted for some time while in development, the MK Data Hub is now open to the public, providing free access to a huge variety of urban data to local citizens, businesses, tech entrepreneurs, community groups—indeed anyone with an interest in Milton Keynes.

The web portal streams sensor information from its many different data sources, combining over 500 datasets on specific entities such as buildings, places and topics. This intelligence can be analysed to help solve urban challenges.

At the MK Data Hub’s public launch event, held at the University Campus Milton Keynes (UCMK) last night [15 June 2016], MK:Smart’s experts were on hand to demonstrate data-led transport, energy and water applications, including:

MotionMap

Available to the public in 2017, MotionMap will show the movements of people and vehicles across Milton Keynes, in real time. It will include embedded timetables, car parking, bus and cycle information, and estimate congestion and crowd density in different parts of the city. All of this will connect Milton Keynes citizens with the information they need to make smart decisions about their movements, easing crowds, congestion and inconvenience.

Right now, a demo of MotionMap is being used to explore how this type of user-focused information might influence travel behaviour and transform the provision of all types of transport services in Milton Keynes.

Electric vehicles

MK:Smart is working with local suppliers to evaluate energy systems and technologies that will allow householders to harness domestically generated solar power for use within electric vehicles. It’s also collecting data about the driving behaviour of electric vehicles in Milton Keynes, so we can better understand their real-world energy demand and devise plans to minimise energy consumption.

Water monitor

HR Wallingford is working closely with Anglian Water, BT and The Open University on four complementary activities that look at influencing how much water Milton Keynes citizens use. One such activity is a website where householders in Milton Keynes will be able to access regular water meter readings for their property. It will provide lots of advice on how to reduce water use and householders will be able to monitor their change in water use over time.

Jon Hill, InVMA Paul Garner, BT Carole Mills, Milton Keynes Council Peter Horricks, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University Prof Enrico Motta

(Left to Right) Jon Hill, business development director for InVMA, Paul Garner, head of Future Business Technology Research and Practice at BT, Carole Mills, chief executive of Milton Keynes Council, Peter Horricks, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, Enrico Motta, professor of Knowledge Technologies at The Open University.

Key members of the MK:Smart project spoke at the launch about the value of data in such a thriving city.

Enrico Motta, professor of Knowledge Technologies at The Open University, said: “Today is the culmination of over two years of work in the MK:Smart project by a very talented team of IT experts, data scientists, and software engineers. The MK Data Hub is now open for business and we are very excited at the opportunities this unique resource opens up for both research and application development. We are very much looking forward to extending our network of collaborators and working with new partners to develop new data-centric applications that will help to progress the smart city agenda in Milton Keynes.”

Carole Mills, chief executive of Milton Keynes Council, said: “Milton Keynes is starting to experience some of the issues that big cities face, like increased traffic flows and congestion. We need to ensure that our infrastructure can support our growing population, and that we have enough energy and water. These are the building blocks of the MK:Smart project. And what a fantastic outcome we now have for the city—a data hub that is a nationally and internationally recognised as cutting edge. A platform for business, for universities and for citizens that allows them to all be a part of the solution.”

Paul Garner, head of Future Business Technology Research and Practice at BT, said: “MK:Smart has now become a project of great significance and it’s fantastic for BT to be working as part of an initiative that’s addressing fundamental challenges that will make a real difference to the lives of citizens in Milton Keynes and beyond. The MK Data Hub is at the core of driving the smart cities movement forward and the launch of the Data Hub will accelerate the pace of innovation for smart city solutions.”

Jon Hill, business development director for InVMA, said: “ This is an unprecedented opportunity for SMEs in Milton Keynes to use the resources provided by the MK Data Hub and associate partner PTC Thingworx to build applications—at no cost and with no risk—in order to grow their businesses.”

There was an opportunity sign up to the new Urban Startup Lab at the event too. This is a complete support programme run by MK:Smart’s technical and business experts. It will help SMEs and tech entrepreneurs to generate value and gain commercial advantage from the rich data resource provided by the Hub.

To find out more about the MK Data Hub, go to www.mksmart.org.uk/data

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