Data science, a tool at the service of community uses

Estimated read time 5 min read

Data science, a tool at the service of community uses

In terms of environmental preservation or sobriety of consumption, there is a real urgency for local authorities, which must confront major issues and constantly evolving needs. The calls to reduce water consumption in the summer of 2022 and the recommended restrictions on energy consumption this winter are just a few examples. In such a context, local authorities have every interest in using the strategies and technological tools already well proven by the business world, and in constant innovation, to optimize informed decision-making.

Analyze to act effectively on real issues

We have been, for many years now, in an era in which climate change and its consequences greatly worry the experts and leaders of the planet. The combination of the IoT, to produce and restore data, and data science, to transform them into useful information, has a decisive role to play both in raising awareness and in limiting adverse impacts and risk prevention.

This fruitful combination offers incredible opportunities for local authorities, by allowing experts to adapt their perspective to design new products and services that meet current issues. Thanks to its role as an incubator, data science is a veritable incubator for experiments facilitating the prototyping and design of solutions adapted to each need in local authorities, whether it is to create new innovative services, solve existing problems or improve the performance of existing services.

For example, we observe frequent requests related to urban heat island issues. The collection of data helps to identify climate and environmental changes in order to prioritize an adapted intervention in the most affected neighborhoods. For example, by insisting on the development of vegetation, with tree plantations, to optimize air quality or shading in the necessary places. Data science, in this specific case, makes it possible to guide the adaptation choices of infrastructures and developments in order to reduce the sources of nuisance, rather than limiting ourselves to fighting against harmful effects such as pollution or heat waves.

Sobriety, from the collection of data to their processing

From a technical point of view, interoperable telecom networks allow the collection of multiple relevant data by cities to meet defined needs and launch new projects.

The idea is not to exploit the data frantically, in a logic of “always more”, but on the contrary to imagine the treatment adapted to environmental concerns
and citizens. It would be very clumsy to advocate sobriety on the one hand, but to develop excessive treatments on the other! The valorization of these data is a real success only if it leads to concrete actions and useful decision-making. An important part of the work therefore consists in supporting the understanding of the information produced and in ensuring that it is properly valorized.

The role of data scientists is thus to use data to inform and equip decision-makers and community stakeholders. Understanding the data is essential to act effectively. Understanding and analyzing data means above all understanding the uses of citizens in order to better serve them and anticipate their needs. But it also means having crucial information to help all stakeholders better understand the impact of their activities and their consumption.

In parallel, data science also makes it possible to anticipate outages in order to avoid any interruption of service for citizens. Thanks to data analysis, it is possible to go beyond preventive maintenance to favor predictive maintenance. Thus, the analysis of the collected data makes it possible to determine the causes of a possible malfunction in order to institute preventive measures and useful advice for better sustainability. It is the real state of the asset and not a theoretical schedule that triggers an intervention. Here too, this allows more sobriety in the management and maintenance of equipment, avoiding systematic or disorderly interventions.

A long-term vision for a successful sobriety

From proof of concept to deployment and then data valorization, the development of projects related to IoT and data science are quite long processes for local authorities. But this is a real long-term investment, because the objective is to succeed in powering several uses from the same project by refining the data and exploiting it for several purposes.

For example, by setting up a device aimed at measuring the temperature of a certain environment, it is possible to detect local anomalies suggesting that a heat loss in a neighboring equipment is in progress. A trained eye will then see the opportunity to understand this loss of energy, to reduce the associated costs, or even to avoid a future breakdown.

All the ingredients are there to act now

Communities and citizens are facing real environmental and climatic, but also social challenges with a strong desire to improve the quality of life in the city.

Having privileged access to relevant information, thanks to data science and the IoT, is essential, but the key lies in the understanding and the very processing of this data. As in cooking, good ingredients – here the data collected by the IoT – are an essential basis, but the magic happens thanks to the expertise and tools of the cooks, allowing them to define the right dosage and add a personal touch to create useful dishes,
nutritious and sustainable. Today we have all the ingredients and the necessary expertise. By focusing on data and by imagining, with the appropriate partners, “recipes” adapted to societal needs and environmental issues, local authorities are ensuring a more sustainable future.

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