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Telematics Data Helps Smart Cities Minimize Pollution, Gridlock and More

A city is only as smart as the data it collects.
By Mike Branch

However, research shows that even a small number of vehicles can yield enormous insights. For example, a September 2018 study conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund and Geotab analyzed telematics data from more than 1.25 million vehicles. The report found that just a handful of vehicles could provide a city with granular, actionable insights into air quality. Among the key findings:

• Data from just 10 vehicles could be sufficient to map at least 50 percent of a small or medium-size city. With 20 vehicles, the amount jumps to almost 80 percent.

• Even a small fleet can collect a lot of data within a short amount of time. Twenty vehicles could provide data for about 65 percent of a city in three months. In a single month, 20 vehicles could achieve 45 percent coverage.

• Telematics can be significantly less expensive and more effective than fixed IoT. For example, an analysis of Washington, D.C., shows that 50 municipal vehicles equipped with air-quality sensors can analyze 70 percent of the city's geography within six months. It also has five fixed air-pollution monitors. Expanding the fixed network to cover 70 percent of the city would be prohibitively expensive, and the study with EDF shows that air quality varies even within individual city blocks.

A city is only as smart as the data it collects. By leveraging telematics, smart cities can ensure they are getting every dollar, euro, yen and pound of value out of their limited transit and infrastructure budgets.

Mike Branch, Geotab's VP of data and analytics, leads the charge for developing solutions that enable insight from the more than 1.4 million connected vehicles and 30 billion telematics records that Geotab processes on a daily basis. Mike joined the Geotab team in 2016, and prior to that he was the CEO of Inovex, which spun off new entity Maps BI, a platform for geo-spatial data visualization, in 2013. Maps BI was integrated within Geotab's telematics platform as a key partner and was later acquired by Geotab in 2016. Mike has received numerous honors, including the University of Toronto's Arbor Award and Early Career Award, Engineers Canada's Young Engineer Award, Professional Engineers of Ontario's Engineering Medal and the Cloud Innovation World Cup.

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