When it comes to public safety, smart city leaders recognize the importance of engaging with citizens and encouraging them to report safety problems. In this article, we present a perspective on public safety — and focus on Vizsafe, a U.S. startup firm which discovered opportunities to incentivize citizens and improve safety by creating a platform which connects the power of crowdsourcing and smartphone technologies with a blockchain-based rewards system.
Open data could help to accelerate the development of smart cities by connecting the people most capable of creating smart city solutions with the data needed to generate and support them.
What is Open Data?
An overwhelming amount of data is being generated by both public and private concerns on an ongoing basis. This data is stored beyond the reach of most people, secured in government or proprietary databases or on individual electronic devices. The types and the depth of this data is growing as new and increasingly technological solutions are implemented to solve the problems of the governments, businesses, and private citizens of smart cities.
The potential advantages of data collection on such a scale are beyond question. Data collection is the most laborious part of any investigation, and yet the majority of global data is going largely unseen and unused. Limiting the number of people who can access it necessarily limits the number of problems to which it can be applied and, in most cases, prevents access to the people best able to apply it.
The solution to this is to make the data publicly available via an open government approach: open data.
The evolution of smart cities has shifted from technology-centered approaches via government-led strategies to a human-centric focus. We have discussed this recently in our article Towards a new paradigm of the smart city.
Considering the benefits of a human-centric approach, the question is how a city can tap into the collective intelligence of citizens, entrepreneurs, businesses or other organizations to accelerate the development of a more livable and prosperous city. Collective intelligence can be considered as a key success factor for a smart city (see A review of becoming a smart city).