Cities present a poetic tapestry of life – people, streets and data weave in between one another on the daily. But without a good system to manage and plan these interactions, the city can very quickly become a tangled mess of frayed yarn.

Data analytics can help. Over the last two decades, big data firm TIBCO Software Inc.’s AI-powered software has helped governments plan their cities better.

Nick Lim, the company’s General Manager, APJ shares how data analytics will power the future or urban planning and design.

1. How can TIBCO enable governments to do data-driven urban design?
Governments need to leverage data analytic technologies that allow them to extract reliable, predictable and actionable insights to help solve the multi-faceted challenges of urban planning in the 21st century. TIBCO provides the capabilities and technologies that are already powering smart cities around the world. Urban planners have to recognise technology as an enabler that drives outcomes, and data analytics play a crucial role in contributing to this process. With TIBCO, governments can seamlessly connect systems, unify disparate data sets to have better access to trusted data, and use that data to confidently predict outcomes with real-time data-driven machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI).

2. How do your tools and technologies help agencies manage data for urban planning from disparate sources?
For more than two decades now, TIBCO has been helping agencies increase their efficiency through faster, more intelligent, and data-driven decision making. While it is a challenge to collect and analyse data from disparate sources, TIBCO offers cutting-edge solutions to seamlessly and intelligently connect multiple data sources and unify that data for better access and control. This is extremely useful to urban planning where it is critical to have continuous access to real-time data. In TIBCO’s technology alone, more than 300 sources can be virtualised into a single view, presenting complex data in simple user-friendly interface. These expansive views make it easier for urban planners to find, understand, and use all the right data, empowering them to predict and act on opportunities to improve and transform urban centers.

3. How can TIBCO enable agencies to use AI and run predictive models?
Managing data is a challenging task for organisations and agencies. The key to efficient data management is to deploy an analytics solution that is not only easy to navigate but provides AI-driven data visualisations and dashboards. The TIBCO Spotfire AI-powered analytics solution comes with built-in data wrangling and advanced analytics capabilities, offering the most complete solution. Spotfire also enables agencies to quickly solve problems and allow the robust AI-enabled engines to predict future outcomes.

4. How have you worked with other organisations to do this?
Our smart city customers include some who have implemented smart mobility solutions to reduce road fatalities. Their solutions leveraged IoT traffic sensor data to create an aggregation of the data and provide actionable insights.

We also have customers who use our solutions for the preservation of the environment. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), for example, needed to efficiently analyse their data to drive evidence-based environmental and business decisions. With the TIBCO Spotfire and TIBCO Data Science, the agency instantly deployed data to the web to enable access to new analytical and statistical capabilities. SEPA also expanded their use of the TIBCO software to enhance regulation, organisational and business planning, and human resources.

5. How is Covid-19 changing urban planning and design?
Cities easily became hotspots for COVID-19 infections, due to the high concentration of citizens and level of economic activity. This led to several studies to understand the impact of the pandemic on cities and derive lessons for future urban planning and design. The health crisis presented opportunities to better understand how cities are affected by pandemics, the factors affecting the spread of infection, and what actions are needed to minimise the impact in densely populated commercial centers. Technology is an enabler of this understanding of the pandemic’s impact that is helping governments future proof their urban planning and design.