With the Live Data Hub, Orange is positioning itself as a partner of cities and a facilitator for the implementation of their data strategies.
Data is at the heart of the contemporary digital transformation, but it still must be harvested, to collect, aggregate and visualise them to define those to be shared in order to unlock the value of this raw material. While it is particularly urgent for the commercial and private sectors, it is also a challenge for the administration of cities. This is because, in terms of their different departments, cities also generate significant volumes of data that may be left unused, either intentionally or due to a lack of suitable means or even a clearly defined data strategy.
More than sharing data
The French Digital Republic Act passed in 2016, also known as Lemaire’s law (named after the former French Minister of State for Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire), heralds the dawn of a new era. Indeed, it enshrines the principle of open data by default to communities with more than 3,500 inhabitants. Henceforth, they must organise themselves to ensure public data is distributed, in particular data that presents “an economic, social, health or environmental interest”. The aim? To turn the data into a fountain of “wealth” that will be made available to citizens, businesses, start-ups, etc. in order to develop new, value-added solutions. This wealth is also, and above all, a great opportunity for the various services of the community to better know their territory and identify levers of action. Large cities and towns did not wait for this law before launching their plans: “Rennes in particular has been working on this subject for more than five years in partnership with public services and/or partner businesses”, explains Xavier Augustin, Head of Live Data Hub at Orange. “This ecosystem of stakeholders pour their respective data into a ‘data lake’, which then produces new services, such as a tool for determining both the positive and negative impacts related to the construction of new buildings. For example, this allows for the impact of the construction of buildings on traffic, energy consumption, etc. to be evaluated.”
Orange naturally forms part of this approach to Big Data/Open Data as a driver for value creation. Orange Labs Services in Sophia Antipolis has capitalised on various responses to tenders to develop a data management platform: the Live Data Hub.
Live Data Hub, the station for controlling/sharing data
The Live Data Hub is so much more than a solution to comply with regulations, and is equally intended for businesses. As well as its already-operational Open Data division, which gathers, organises and publishes public data, and especially as an integrator and aggregator, the platform will also use data from different internal and external sources. Orange therefore positions itself as a facilitator that can provide cities with a self-service solution (Software as a Service, SaaS), without having to deploy any infrastructure to achieve integration or having to worry about the complexities associated with the types of licence required for the data. “The SaaS method guarantees easy deployment”, confirms Thomas Lafargue, Head of Data Products at Orange. “The solution, based on an Open Source foundation for most of its building blocks, from storing and safeguarding data through processing or even indexing, is destined to develop and evolve.” If this is designed for controlling, it is also used through its sharing component for cities (or groupings of cities) looking to build an ecosystem of partner businesses and start-ups that will consume the data and restore or transform it into new services.
Will AI soon be in the Live Data Hub?
Orange is therefore looking to achieve functional enrichment, “with environments for processing heavier Big Data”, adds Lafargue, “even going as far as integrating artificial intelligence solutions to benefit even more from the stored data”. The other development concerns the market: if Live Data Hub initially addresses cities, the platform will have to be adapted or developed to respond to the needs of several verticals, in particular in the energy or health sectors. It is equally intended to connect or establish synergies with Orange’s other services universes, such as Live Objects for the IoT or “Ma ville dans ma poche” app for citizen feedback.
An attractive product for cities
Without waiting for these future developments, the solution already represents a beneficial product for mid-sized communities, the core target of Live Data Hub, which do not have the same means as large cities, but nonetheless want to develop a data strategy. “We offer these communities a standardised, safe and reliable product to meet the requirement for transparency and their need to share data,” emphasises Xavier Augustin. “They will be able to better understand their data heritage, better use and take advantage internally between services and externally with partners.”
All this can be achieved very easily, without having to make developments and on a customisable platform.