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Photo: City-Life-city-hall-by-Gundersen

Copenhagen to launch world’s first city data marketplace

03 May 2016

by Steve Hoare

The City of Copenhagen, in partnership with Hitachi, is set to launch an innovative one-stop shop and market place for public and private data–the City Data Exchange (CDE).

“The new big data platform is expected to provide citizens and businesses access to information, which among other things, can create new technological solutions,” said Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.

The Copenhagen portal, to be launched on 18 May, follows in the footsteps of similar projects such as the pioneering Leeds Data Mill, which was launched in 2014, but the CDE is the first platform to monetise data and create a city data market.

“The City Data Exchange is a market place where you can buy and sell data (some will also be free of charge) and it has a special focus on data related to the challenges in the city,” said Peter Bjørn Larsen, CDE Copenhagen Director, Hitachi. “It should not be seen as a replacement for open data portals, but an addition.”

The concept emerged from a meeting of cities, regions, companies and universities, hosted by Danish green technology network CLEAN in 2014. It was agreed that access to data (both public and private) is vital in order to create new and innovative solutions and for the cities and regions to reach the ambitious CO2 targets and at the same time create growth.

The city government agreed to contribute 4 million Danish kroner (US$623,000) to support the proposal and the Capital region followed suit with a further 5 million Danish koner. Hitachi Consulting won a tender to lead the project and in May 2015 started working on both the technical solution and building up the ecosystem of data suppliers and consumers.

Larsen commented that one of the biggest challenges has been trying to understand that ecosystem and explaining its benefits to all participants.

“What role do government, citizens and companies have in making data available and making use of it?” said Larsen. “And what is the incentive for private sector companies to give their data away?”

The answer to the second question is that companies can earn money from people purchasing their data (especially important for start-ups and SMEs), and secondly, they can get an insight into the sort of consumers who are interested in their data. This can be valuable information in their search for new products, services, markets or innovation partnerships.

Copenhagen has been a trailblazer in smart city initiatives since declaring its ambition to go carbon neutral by 2025 but much of its data on these projects has been kept in silos.

Hitachi worked with more than 50 companies co-creating the CDE and also several universities, non-profit organisations and other cities.

The CDE team has already found 65 sources of open data on Copenhagen–everything from demographics to weather and crime statistics. By combining this with information submitted by citizens and businesses, it is hoped the platform will enable advanced analytics to support city functions such as green infrastructure planning, traffic management and energy usage.

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