“Smart Cities” has been the talk of the town at cities conferences for a decade – and for good reason. Smart Cities can dramatically improve sustainability, efficiency, and citizen welfare through the use of technology, data, and networks in city planning. But there are still incredible untapped opportunities. Here we present solutions moving from best practice to next practice.

A recent report from KPMG suggests that smart city solution providers don’t make the most of available data. There is incredible untapped potential and possibility for making cities more sustainable and essentially better, if smart city solutions providers succeed in identifying and accurately using the correct datasets.

But this transformation requires an unconventional shift as it states: “Unlocking the opportunities of data relies on leadership and culture. The best results come from an agile, incremental approach of trial and error that engages the whole of government – not just the analytics or IT department”.

Next level smart city solutions are vital for twenty-first century cities. Rapidly growing urban populations and the expected impact of climate change demands constant improvement in how we use technologies for infrastructure, energy usage and distribution, and more.

Here we give you some cases of clever and integrated use of data.

Ultra-local air quality data is made accessible to all by equipping Google Street View cars with Aclima’s mobile air quality sensing platform.

Aclima have partnered with Google Street View to collect high resolution air quality data. So far, more than 100 million data points have been collected from more than 110,000 km of roads in California and Denver. The cars collect measurements of air pollutants that affect human health and impact climate change. By making new environmental air quality data available to regulators and policymakers, the initiative aims to inform decision-making at all levels. The data will also be made available to scientists and air quality experts. In addition, the public will be able to view street-level air quality maps overlaid on Google Earth and Google Maps.

Using Google Street View Cars to Map Air Pollution

Nuuka collects and processes data on energy usage and indoor air quality in residential, commercial and public buildings. Their intelligent analytics platform helps building managers to identify and eliminate inefficient energy usage.

Nuuka is a software platform that helps property managers to monitor energy usage, indoor air quality and sustainability. In addition to individual commercial properties, Nuuka software is appropriate for property investors, municipalities, and residential building companies because the platform allows for centralised management of data from multiple sources.

Smart monitoring software for sustainable buildings


Everimpact provides the technology to measure greenhouse gas emissions and air quality in cities and regions. Their platform provides real-time data, allowing users to measure policy effectiveness and participate in emissions trading.

Everimpact utilises a combination of satellite data and ground sensors to measure greenhouse gas emissions in cities and regions in real-time. They have established partnerships with space agencies like the European Space Agency (ESA) and Group on Earth Observations (GEO), giving them access to high quality satellite data. They then partner with cities and regions to install mobile ground sensors, which allow them to measure and compare emissions and air quality in different areas of the city throughout the day.

Real-time Emissions and Air Quality Data for Cities

Digital Matatus uses cellphone technology to map informal public transport routes in developing countries and shares this data at no cost to help improve citizen services.

Using cell phone technology, Digital Matatus has collected detailed information on the 3,000 stops of the 130 routes that make up Nairobi’s informal public transport system. The data has been translated into physical and digital maps and uploaded to Google Maps, making it the first informal transit system searchable in Google Transit.

Making this data understandable enables riders to take more efficient, better-planned journeys, whilst allowing city officials to better manage road networks, maintenance schedules and traffic congestion. These usage and planning improvements are crucial for a well-functioning and efficient urban transit network. After its successful run in Nairobi, Digital Matatus plans to expand to other fast-growing cities in the developing world.

Using Cell Phones to Map Informal Urban Transport Routes