Open Data – MK:Smart addresses the challenge

The Open University’s Professor Gerd Kortuem presented ‘MK:Smart thinking’ at two Open Data Institute (ODI) events last week, illustrating diverse approaches to creating value from open data.

Challenges Snelshall StreetShow me the future of: the built environment and open data

This first event, hosted by Nottingham University on 19 May, was one of a series of ‘ODI Futures’ research afternoons. Prof. Kortuem gave a talk which illustrated how value can be generated from multi-owner data mash-ups.  He gave the example of combining data from Electric Vehicle (EV) owners, the Residential Energy Provider, the EV Charging Infrastructure Provider and the Energy Distribution Company. ‘Deep analysis’ of these mashed-up data has the potential to create novel services, such as, ‘urban energy demand models’ or ‘driver recommendation systems’. However, Gerd advised that caution is needed when it comes to data governance, since many high-value data sets are commercially sensitive and raise privacy issues. For this reason, the growing number of data sets requires the automation of data curation and rights management.

Also presenting at the event were Prof. Derek McAuley and Prof. Darren Robinson from the University of Nottingham who outlined their current research and shared their views on what the next ten years may hold in this field.  Other talks included ‘Open Data from a local government perspective’ from Karen Parkin of Nottingham County Council.

Kathryn Corrick (@kcorrick), Head of Training at the Open Data Institute, tweeted about Gerd’s lecture:

“It was really useful and gave a great overview. And chimes with the talk by Karen of the challenges in local gov.”

View the event slides here.


Image courtesy of Prof. Kortuem

How the Open Data Challenge Series is creating community, energy & open data innovation

On 23 May, Gerd presented at the ODI’s Friday lunchtime lecture in London. In this talk he introduced the EnergySchools initiative, a social enterprise which has originated from MK:Smart. EnergySchools recently participated in the Energy + Environment Open Data Challenge, one of a series of challenges funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, designed to generate innovative and sustainable open data solutions to social challenges. EnergySchools is one of three teams who were selected to go head to head in the next stage of the competition in June, where they will pitch to win £40,000 to fully launch their product.

Gerd explained that the key idea behind EnergySchools is to use the power of open data to empower young people to become energy community leaders. Its aim is to crowdsource energy data from students’ homes as a form of active learning. This activity provides shared benefits for students, schools and the community. Students can gain knowledge and understanding of energy issues, which could have a positive impact on their household’s energy use habits, while schools and communities could benefit by engaging students and households in energy saving behaviour.

Gerd’s wider vision included pooling energy data from a network of schools to draw comparisons between schools, aggregate demand and create a foundation for community energy projects. Such initiatives could potentially lead to ‘group buying’, ‘dynamic demand responses’ and ‘collective generation’.

Also speaking about their journey in the ODCS Energy + Environment Challenge, and the projects that they have developed using open data, were Nick Katz (Locatable) and Briony Phillips (ODI) .

Listen to the event presentations here.

Related link: Open Data Energy + Environment Challenge Finalists