The case for umbrella sharing in smart cities

December 22, 2018

The many upsides of walking

Lately, Dripdrop Umbrella Sharing has brought attention from cities like London, Gothenburg, Zurich and Milan where initial conversations is taking place to implement the system as part of the public transport infrastructure. Umbrella sharing is interesting for cities and governments because today cities wants to be as walkable as possible, as this is proven to have a number of enormous positive effects. Increased walking and biking brings down CO2 emission, promotes social interaction, reduces car accidents, reduces blood pressure, attracts tourism and revitalises retail. Umbrella sharing is an opportunity to offer people an alternative to grab a taxi, drive a car or stay at home.

The United Nations estimate that 6,5 billion people will be living in cities by 2050.

By 2030, 9% of the world's population are going to live in just 41 megacities. It is our belief that a liveable city is a city that holistically takes care of its citizens and guests and that Dripdrop is a substantial positive addition to any city where rain influence the urban life.

Smart cities

As cities get more dense and complex, the need for efficient intelligence is increasing rapidly. The overarching name for this shift is 'smart cities'. Anonymous data is collected through things like smart sensors in street lights or use of smartphone apps and insights are generated by algorithm. It can sound simple but is a maze of different software, hardware, APIs and people - all of which weren't necessarily built to communicate with each other. At its' best, smart cities can make something infinitely complex into something actionable and improbable. In a truly smart city, the smartest people have the best information and the means to act on it.

The moral dilemmas of intelligence

There will be pitfalls along the way. Looking at the industry of smart cities as a whole and umbrella sharing in particular, we can at least foresee some tough decisions. How much data is necessary for making the service maximally useful? When does data collection become intrusive and plain creepy? What sort of relationship will private actors (such as ourselves) have with city officials? What are the interfaces for data sharing? Who takes part in the sharing? What value does data have and when is it fair to share?

At our visit to Smart Cities Expo World Congress 2018, we saw how these were some of the real hot potatoes during debates and conversations. Far from resolved, this conversation has just started and we are following it with curiosity.

It's refreshing and inspiring to see people in the whole world tiring of and speaking up against the big data cohorts of the tech world.

In a study by IBM, 75% of the respondents said they wouldn't buy a product from a company - no matter how great a product - if they don't trust that the company is protecting their data properly.

Smart walkability and umbrella sharing

As we evolve Dripdrop and our services, the need to measure and analyze movements and actions is increasingly a priority for creating value for the cities and to improve our service offering to users. We will keep "data minimalism" as a guiding star and keep discussing these topics with colleagues and peers. The goal for all our actions is to create the best cities in the world on rainy days, through umbrella sharing.

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