Cambridge Launches Urban Data Project with Telensa

The city of Cambridge in the United Kingdom will launch the Urban Data Project with Telensa – a smart street lighting and smart city applications company – in March of this year. Telensa has worked with Microsoft to build a solution based in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform that enables cities to take control of their urban data assets with streetlight-based multi-sensor pods.

“We’ve been busy working with cities for the past ten years, making millions of streetlights smart and turning light poles into sensor hubs,” said Will Franks, CEO of Telensa. “But for us it was always about data, and finding an economic way for cities to take control of their urban data assets.”

Telensa describes urban data as, “the mosaic of street-by-street, minute-by-minute information that makes up a city’s digital twin”. The multi-sensor pods run on Microsoft Azure IoT Edge and feature real-time artificial intelligence and machine learning to extract insights from the raw data. This raw data can include mapping how people use the city, the mix of traffic on the roads, the hyper-local air quality, and noise levels.

Telensa has addressed the issues of cost, privacy, and transparency to citizens data by using existing street light poles for the sensor installation, and by combining gathered data with other city data in the City Data Guardian. This is what Telensa calls the “trust platform” that enables cities to apply privacy policies, comply with data regulations, and make data available to improve services and drive future city revenues.

“Cambridge has pioneered a number of smart technologies, collaborating between the city’s world class academic and commercial R&D organizations and the local authorities,” said Claire Ruskin, executive board member for the Greater Cambridge Partnership and CEO of Cambridge Network. “The Greater Cambridge Partnership has funded Smart Cambridge to see how data supports activities that help to make Greater Cambridge even better to live and work in.”