How smart data is helping to shape a safer more confident world

by Eduardo Tarasca

14 April 2021

Lady riding bicycle under green trees

Technology is critical to ensuring more sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s not as simple as returning to business-as-usual. There are new and existing public health measures that must be adhered to, as well as new regulations and guidelines dictating how businesses can operate. To enable safe and happy communities we need to ask how smart digital technologies can help us navigate our new normal while preparing for future disruptions?

Finding new ways to accelerate recovery

The use of data is vital in mitigating the impact of the pandemic. The use of digital data collection and analytics to enable decision making is fast becoming one of the highest priorities in planning for the recovery. When used right and with a clear vision, data offers endless possibilities in addressing the challenges created by the pandemic. For example, data can help identify shifts in consumption patterns, enable better management of social distance controls and aid in the improvement of health logistics.

People standing in a queue with masks

Data can help venue managers adopt the right physical and operational design changes

New platforms and systems allow us to analyse and process data faster and more efficiently, speeding up the time it takes to create actionable insights. This ability to act quickly is critical in enabling city leaders and citizens make better decisions, and predictive analytics key to making this happen. At NTT we’ve been exploring ways to help clients make sense of their data.

Often the volume of data is overwhelming and trying to make sense of it can be costly and slow.

Harnessing data to encourage passengers back to public transport

Known as NTT Smart Solutions, our team works with clients around the world to reduce the strain placed on IT infrastructure by data and to use this to aid decision-making. Recently, we worked with the Victoria Department of Transportation in Australia to provide a new online platform to encourage passengers to safely return to using public transport.

Public trains and buses are critical to any city's operation, but COVID-19 had a massive negative impact on people’s attitudes towards public transport. For years, major cities have tried to encourage people to use their car less and take public transport more but much of this good work was undone by hesitancy and reluctance among passengers. Robust health messaging and regular cleaning are important ways to instil confidence in public transport, but what about overcrowding during peak hours?

Empty train station

Data can help passengers plan their journey, avoid peak hours and re-instil confidence in public transports

The new platform provides real-time information for passengers travelling on metropolitan trains, showing them how busy or quiet their station, platform and carriage are before leaving home. Occupancy control detects current and future passenger levels, while statistics make it possible to anticipate crowd movements and allow transit operators to assign resources as needed. This encourages people to go back to more regular timetables and commutes while maintaining physical distancing and safety measures.

Creating a blueprint for the next phase

In times of crisis, we instinctively consider options and make decisions based on the information we have available. The last 12 months have shown us the importance of having the processes and systems to better prepare for potential scenarios. Insight creation with a strong focus on citizens and employees is the shift organizations need to make to move ahead confidently. Many of us are experiencing our second or third wave of lockdown mandates, with no certainty of what’s around the corner. Leaning on data science tools to inform better outcomes can help people, communities and societies to be more ready and resilient to face what comes next, while focusing on their safety and wellbeing.

Learn more about NTT Smart Solutions
Eduardo Tarasca

Eduardo Tarasca

Director of Product Marketing, NTT Smart World