Operational Intelligence Systems: The Backbone of the Smart City

One city leading the way in Smart City innovation is in the center of the Buckeye State. When Columbus, Ohio won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge in 2016, the city set out to build the Smart Columbus Operating System to provide near-real-time data on traffic conditions throughout the city. After the initial phase is complete, the plan is to expand the system to all smart city operations and services.

The Smart Columbus Operating System (SCOS) is an operational intelligence system which will integrate and analyze data coming in from a variety of sources in order to gain real-time, anytime information about the activities of the city. This central management design strategy eliminates the departmental silos that occur when city agencies gather, store and utilize the data for their own internal use. SCOS will be the technology backbone and will encourage city-wide data integration across fragmented data sources such as open source data, crowd sourced data and data from other sources, in order to create robust analytical insights.

In May 2018, Columbus officially launched the first version of its Smart Columbus Operating System, (SCOS) which manages 1,100 data feeds and distributes them to government offices and private sector companies. The initial goals of the overall Smart Columbus Program are improved safety, enhanced mobility, and reduced environmental impact. This data management platform will ingest and disseminate data, while providing access to data services from multiple sources and tenants, including the planned Smart Columbus technologies, traditional transportation data, and data from other community partners, such as food pantries and medical services. It is built on open source code allowing other cities to leverage the code for their own data management platforms.

Although initially focused on mobility issues, the SCOS will become the basis of all smart city projects moving forward. It will support the monitoring and optimizing of city operations and it will help the city fulfill its mission of ensuring a good quality of life for its citizens, making Columbus a truly smart, healthier and happier city.