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Data & Technology

Big data, smart cities: Understanding the challenges and embracing change

The rate of technological change is speeding up. As built environment professionals, we are faced with increasing opportunities and challenges in embracing the potential that such technology has to offer to the sector.

Dr Clare Eriksson, Director of Global Research & Policy, RICS
11 September 2017

'Smart Cities, Big Data and the Built Environment: What’s Next?’ is the latest publication to be released as part of RICS' research paper series. Sponsored by the RICS Research Trust and conducted by the University of Reading, the report provides highly relevant and timely insights into how the development of data platforms at the city level can be better utilised by built environment professionals.

The role of built environment professionals

One particular finding highlights the significant potential for improving our city environments through the smart city agenda. At present smart city data is being applied in energy management, transportation, low carbon projects and projects monitoring air quality and river levels. Future applications identified within the research include personal analytics data (including health data) and data relating to the circular economy, city resilience and house planning.

What are the implications?

Findings state that professionals need to become more 'data savvy'; to identify where big and open data, alongside the smart city agenda, can help inform and improve the operation of their own organisations, as well as those of their clients. Professionals and sector leaders also need to focus on data interoperability, which starts with agreement upon common data standards and a common language for data.

The World Built Environment Forum facilitates industry leading discussions harnessing the enormous potential of the 21st century's people and places.