The QROWD project offers local government and transportation businesses innovative solutions to improve mobility, reduce traffic congestion and make navigation safer and more efficient. To achieve this, QROWD integrates different sources of data to maximise the value of “Big Data” in planning and managing urban traffic and mobility. The project works with a range of partners that have backgrounds in a number of innovative and unique research areas.
ATOS Spain is one such company that the QROWD project will be working with closely. ATOS are leaders in digital services with pro forma annual revenue of circa € 12 billion, with circa 100,000 employees in 72 countries, serving a global client base. They are also the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic & Paralympic Games.
In order to get to know some key partners of the project better we interviewed Tomas Pariente Lobo, head of the data intelligence lab at ATOS, and asked him some questions about the company’s involvement with the QROWD project as well as what effects he expects the partnership to entail for smart cities and mobility in the near future.
[ATOS team photo or company logo]
Mr Pariente Lobo began by explaining that he has a background in knowledge management and semantics, with special focus nowadays in big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). He has participated in the past in projects related data acquisition and analytics, also in the FIWARE project (delivering generic enablers used for instance in Smart Cities), and many others related to data intelligence. He explained to us that this leads naturally to the QROWD project where he acts as the main contact from ATOS.
Mr Pariente Lobo furthered that he has a lot of experience in big IT companies, both working in commercial projects for customers and in research & innovation projects. For the past 15 years he has worked in RTD projects (most of them funded by different framework programmes by the EC, and some funded by Spanish National funding bodies).
“I think QROWD is a nice example of how big data can benefit of data integration strategies especially, but not only, involving data from the crowd and engaged citizens. We are interested in providing means to gather data for the project in an easy way.”
As part of the QROWD project, ATOS provide innovation by aligning their work in data acquisition to use of FIWARE data models and APIs in order to ease the process of replicability of the solutions for other cities besides Trento. Mr Pariente Lobo told us that alongside this, they are using existing tools and methods for data acquisition, with the aim to provide best practices and guidelines for the project. Consequently, ATOS can ensure that the solutions from QROWD could potentially use any other data acquisition tools from other cities.
[Photo of Tomas Pariente Lobo and/or QROWD related work]
In the case of data acquisition ATOS provide tools such as Pentaho Kettle and Karma to perform ETL (Extract-Load-Transform) of data existing in different repositories. This is the case of open data from the Trento region provided either by the municipality of Trento or other regional bodies, weather data, etc. ATOS also offer the FIWARE Context Broker and its API for data acquisition from stream data.
Mr Pariente Lobo further discussed that the data acquired from static datasets is stored into the QROWD CKAN repository, while the streaming data can be managed by other consumers (i.e. persisted in a database or directly plotted in dashboards or apps) after its acquisition in the Context Broker. Additionally, ATOS are also in charge of the Trento Mobility Dashboard where they provide a visual web representation of the city mobility use cases devised by the municipality both for their civil servants and workers, and for citizens.
“The use of crowdsourcing can be of interest for many aspects of the data value chain. We expect to learn techniques on how to involve the crowd for future projects and endeavours. We expect to use the results and the know-how acquired for being FIWARE-compliant, and to apply to smart city projects.”