#OI2Dublin – Interview with Dublin City Council’s Peter Finnegan (video)

20 May 2013

Peter Finnegan, assistant city manager (acting), Dublin City Council

Dublin City Council’s Peter Finnegan says the forthcoming Digital Dublin roadmap will position the city as a world leader in smart city technologies and could make the capital the innovation engine for the rest of the country.

Finnegan, who is assistant city manager (acting), told the Open Innovation 2.0 conference at Dublin Castle that the city’s leaders intend to make the city a beacon for smart cities around the world, where energy efficiency, merged with greater connectivity and innovation, will enhance the quality of life and the economy of the city.

“A city government in today’s world isn’t just about providing services like refuse collection, etc, it’s also today about facilitating a collaborative leadership of key stakeholders that can make difference in how the economy and society of a city operates.”

He cited the design of what is now O’Connell Street in the 19th century, which today continues to fulfil its purpose as a traffic artery as an example of the kind of forward-thinking that should permeate all strands of city governance.

Open data is the key to the future of a smart city

“The Creative Dublin Alliance aims to create an open city region that can act as an economic engine for Ireland and the go-place for innovative minds and investment.

“‘Open’ is a keyword in that vision. The fuel will be releasing open data into the innovation space.”

Finnegan said the city is already being utilised by tech giants IBM and Intel as a testbed for future technologies in terms of energy efficiency and smart transport.

One example is a big data project where in collaboration with IBM researchers, Dublin City Council is now able to
combine data streaming in from an array of sources – bus timetables, inductive-loop traffic detectors, closed-circuit television cameras and GPS updates that each of the city’s 1,000 buses transmit every 20 seconds.

Traffic controllers can now see the current status of the entire bus network at glance and rapidly spot areas of the network that are experiencing delays. This data then gives them an opportunity to identify the cause of the delay as it emerges before it moves further downstream. This approach can now accelerate the decision-making process to clear congestions more swiftly.

“Our roadmap is designed to think in a disruptive way, to take actions and challenge current obstacles and look at building how Dublin might be shaped and work in the future.”

He said that at the heart of Dublin’s innovation master plan is the idea of a digital maturity scorecard that can be used to compare the city with other cities

“The plan is to develop the Dublin as a future city. We are open for digital.

“The only way that will work is to think of innovation not as an academic concept but something that has to be translated into a reality for people’s lives.”

More on Open Innovation 2.0:

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SolarPrint and Intel demo energy harvesting device at innovation event

Innovation about execution, not just invention, says EIT’s Alexander von Gabain

Dr Stephen Hawking says world needs a more sustainable trajectory

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years