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The International Research Forum on Intelligent Sensing and Services in Urban Environment for Traffic and Mobility (ISSUE-TM) is the first Research Forum established by ICT Alliance and the experiences and lessons learned will be used when launched other such Forums, in areas where active cooperation already exists, such as in education and learning solutions and in smart living and smart homes for the seniors.
Sensing, social media and data analysis are among the topics studied for innovative solutions and new business opportunities in intelligent traffic and urban mobility. There are already a number of teams and projects active in China-Finland cooperation – or planning to establish such cooperation. They come from different cities and universities providing resources and expertise for complementary collaboration. There is clearly a call for a forum that would enable making use of the synergies, combining adequate resources for international collaboration and for big research initiatives aiming at helping to solve some of the major challenges in society.
ICT Alliance and its coordinators, DIGILE and WiCO, are well positioned to act as facilitators of such Research Forums where activities involve research combined with pilots for large-scale real-life experimentation that provide experiences and data to understand better the underlying phenomena and the proposed solutions. Pilots also provide context for studying viable business models and opportunities to explore commercial cooperation, thus bringing universities and companies together in business oriented R&D&I. The ISSUE-TM Forum has concrete and practical aims, including:
- Devising jointly agreed common “core” principles, data items and formats for data collection and data sharing, and agreeing on sharing of experiences from different experimentation approaches for making best use of the complementary data available in Finland /Europe and in China respectively.
- Sharing access to data sets and/or analysis results of pilots in Finland and in China, such as City of Oulu and City of Tampere, and the data sets being collected by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and in Fuzhou and Beijing.
- Preparing for applying for a cooperative national projects in Finland and in China, bi-lateral Sino-Finnish projects, and EU projects creating first proposals in 2014 (e.g. Horizon 2020)
- Arranging co-located ISSUE-TM Forum events in Finland and in China and setting up online collaboration. The events will be organized both in the context ICT Alliance events and in the relevant conferences and exhibitions in ITS and Smart City area.
- Arranging visiting expert talks as well as involving PhD level exchange researchers in the Forum activities and in related Doctoral Summer Schools.
ISSUE-TM is planning a joint application to develop a sensor network for the some of the most central urban areas in Finland (Prof. Jukka Riekki, University of Oulu, will coordinate this application). Discussions with Chinese partners regarding parallel projects are conducted. Linking already ongoing platforms and is planned to be followed by new joint projects. These may be initially funded by separate calls and later provide basis for joint calls e.g. by NSFC and Academy of Finland (for university driven research) and MOST and provincial / municipal S&T Committees and Tekes (for industry driven research). ISSUE-TM also forms a good basis for developing joint proposals for international calls, such as EU H2020.
Open Data – an opportunity for linking research teams and cities
In Finland the six biggest cities (Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Vantaa, Turku and Oulu) have a common program for work on open data and related issues and to open up more municipal data. There are expected to be pilot applications on open data and traffic, in particular, is one of the key areas. City of Tampere is coordinating the projects for that part, involving actors from at least two of the participating cities. Since ISSUE-TM includes active and experienced teams from the major Finnish universities it is in a good position for a strong application. For example, focusing on Traffic Situation Displays (snapshots of the actual or partly predicted situation of the traffic) the aim is to create methods for data analysis to improve traffic and environment situation displays, working on open data and/or producing open data. The sources include data from traffic, such as public transportation and traffic lights, and from sensors, including static city sensors, sensors in cars, and wearable user sensors, including mobile phones. The user or vehicle specific raw data cannot be opened, but the analysis results, if properly produced, can be. Also non-open data such as taxi traffic data can similarly be used. Infrastructure data on road conditions, and environmental data containing e.g. information on weather, should also be included, as well as social data. Prof. Jyrki Nummenmaa, University of Tampere, will lead the preparatory work for joint proposal in this area aiming at submission by the participating Finnish partners by September 2014.
Data and computation platform
The universities themselves have their own facilities, which differ, however it is not easy to open up the universities’ own platforms for external use. One preferred option is to use FORGE Service Laboratory launched by DIGILE. Other options are contacting CSC directly and using commercial cloud services. Prof. Jyrki Nummenmaa will continue the discussion with DIGILE on the platform. Such a platform could be set-up by partners in China to be gradually linked with the Finnish platform for joint research and development.
The events during summer 2014 involving ICT Alliance / ISSUE-TM include:
- The 10th ITS European Congress, Jun 16-19, Helsinki, where meetings of the Finnish teams was held.
- August 6th – August 13th University of Tampere will host a Finnish – Chinese event on analysis of Social Media. The Programme will involve a specific session in ISSUE-TM including both Chinese and Finnish experts.
- 2014 International Conference on Management Science and Engineering (21th) (ICMSE2014),
Organised by Harbin Institute of Technology and Aalto University, in cooperation with the eBEREA network and China-Finland ICT Alliance. Theme: Management of Innovation in Big Data Era, August 17-18, 2014 Helsinki, Finland. There will be a specific invitational workshop involving Chinese and Finnish partners.