We’re excited to announce that we’ll be working with Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) in the coming months to understand the needs of key stakeholders in municipalities in Europe and across the world. We will then help transform those insights into live services for members of this growing network of cities. 

OASC is a network of over 150 cities which was founded to address the problem of scaling smart technology that is based on open interfaces and open standards. In this industry it is clear, one city is not a market. 

During our “Follow the Data” workshop, municipalities browse the kinds of data that may already be available to them to solve urban challenges.

What does this mean?

For many cities, most in fact, which are mid-size to small in population, the kind of technology solutions which can help with modern urban challenges are too complex, and too expensive to easily buy and deploy. Even if a deployment proves affordable, cities often then find themselves locked into a closed system. Even larger cities procure technology solutions which have challenges when it comes to connecting with legacy and neighbouring systems that are already deployed. 

Despite over a decade of work in this field, the difficulty of taking proven technology solutions to scale, across multiple municipalities, has not been solved. 

Plotting urban challenges against opportunities presented by data driven services and solutions.

What’s the challenge? 

The vision of the Open & Agile Smart Cities network is to create an open smart city market based on the needs of cities and communities. 

And so, OASC is bringing together cities from around the world to work on technical themes to include standards, interoperability, procurement, technical architectures and more, and to find out what is minimally needed to exchange data and solutions – all with the needs of citizens and communities at heart. 

How are we helping? 

Context Studio is assisting in multiple ways – beginning with a rapid research sprint during which we will speak to technology and innovation leaders from cities around the world. The diversity is astounding, but we’ll be looking for patterns in their needs, and prioritising design challenges for the development of new services and interactions within the network. 

Additionally we are facilitating a series of roadshow workshops, working with commercial partners who have the opportunity to demonstrate their digital products to potential customers. But the key goal of the workshop is in data exploration, indeed the format we have designed “Follow the Data” enables municipality stakeholders to look across all of the challenges they can think of in their city, and match against data sources which might drive digital solutions to some of those challenges. 

Workshop participants in the city of Poznań, Poland.

As the work progresses we’ll be co-creating digital, and event-based services and interactions for OASC with the city members. We’ll specify the online touchpoints, and work with development teams to help them user-test and iterate these as work proceeds. 

We’re doing all of this, in collaboration with the OASC team, ensuring that services can continue to be iterated and improved, based on constantly evolving user insights, by a team empowered with the methods and mindsets of service design. 

Participants finish a “Follow the Data” workshop in Novi Sad, Serbia with a group photo alongside their chosen design challenges along with Davor Meersman, OASC CEO.

Things to look out for… 

Join the OASC community at the networks’ annual  Connected Smart Cities and Communities conference in Belgium in January. For more information and registration visit www.connectedsmartcities.org. We’ll be there to learn as much as we can from the cities and businesses present. Definitely worth a visit! 

Finally, follow @oascities on Twitter for news and events!