This post is a translation of an article first published by Sophie Garrigues on www.commentcamarche.net, Wednesday, April 4th 2016. It is an interview of Citilog CEO Eric Toffin, as he talks about the OpenDataSoft platform’s role in managing incoming traffic data collected from cities and roads using the company’s different traffic management systems.
Eric Toffin talks about leveraging traffic data for smarter cities
Gathering a massive amount of data (or big data) is good. Being able to process and to use them in a relevant way is even better.
Citilog, a specialist in optimizing transportation based on image processing, brought its skills together with those of OpenDataSoft.
The result: a user-friendly turnkey solution meeting the new needs of the digital age, especially for smart cities. Éric Toffin, the chief executive of Citilog, told us about his experience.
CCM – Can you introduce yourself and your company?
Éric Toffin – I am the Chief Executive of Citilog. We specialize in smart transportation. This includes the automatic detection of incidents on roads, intersection and traffic light management, and the gathering of traffic data. Our clients include highway agencies, interdepartmental road directorates in France, and cities. We operate in about sixty countries.
CCM – How did you find out about OpenDataSoft and for how long have you been using it?
Éric Toffin – We met the OpenDataSoft teams in the Mov’eo competitiveness cluster. We have been working with them for three years.
CCM – What are the specific needs this solution meets?
Éric Toffin – First off, OpenDataSoft meets our clients’ needs, who typically include small structures who do not necessarily have the resources to collect and to store data. The initial ticket price is generally too high with classic systems.
Today, this solution also allows us to meet the requirements of “smart cities” and to redistribute the data to different services. For instance, the connection of our video sensors to the OpenDataSoft platform enables a city to adjust street lighting according to traffic conditions. It generates savings for the city… and for citizens as well.
CCM – How did the integration with OpenDataSoft take place in your company?
Éric Toffin – Technically speaking, our sensors had to be able to send the data to OpenDataSoft. It is an easy-to-use platform which did not require any in-house training. It is even one of the most user-friendly solution that we had to integrate so far!
The first version was set up in three months, and it took us about a year to achieve a “final” version. This is still very short for the transportation and infrastructures, where the majority of projects take a few years.
CCM – How is OpenDataSoft used on a daily basis?
Éric Toffin – The features and uses of OpenDataSoft vary according to our clients and to their needs. Some applications – such as the adjustment of street lighting – are automatic, and run based on the data collected. For our part, we provide a turnkey solution consisting of our sensors and of OpenDataSoft. We set up the platform for our clients and we provide support.
CCM – What is the return on investment for such a system?
Éric Toffin – For our clients, it takes between six months and one year to obtain a return on the investment. For us, it has already been achieved.
CCM – What are OpenDataSoft’s strengths?
Éric Toffin – Its accessibility, for us as well as for our clients. Its use also offered us some new perspectives: it is a real accelerator that provided access to new markets. OpenDataSoft is a strong value-added for a company like ours.
CCM – What would be the points to improve or to add according to your experience?
Éric Toffin – I do not really see any, especially since the platform is constantly improving. It evolves to anticipate the needs of the smart city, which is still creating itself.
Data processing and data valorization solution.
Founded in 2011 by Jean-Marc Lazard, David Thoumas and Franck Carassus.
Smart transportation solutions.
Between 20 and 49 employees.