Buzzstreets.com Offering Realtime Traffic Guidance and Routing for Users and Agencies
J oao Fernandes of www.buzzstreets.com talks to whereitsatlondon.com about their piece of technology and we learn what it does to share with you.

"Everything starts with the common problem for people that drive with traffic jams, I've spent my life in Lisbon Portugal sitting in traffic jams just like Milan, just like London they all have traffic jams and I began to study for two years what are the major reasons that cause them besides the sheer volume of traffic in any place at any given time; what i found is the things that affect the traffic such as construction, accidents, sports events, these have a knock on effect with road closures etc.

Every intervention in the streets cause some form of disruption. So i asked the question, how do i get that information? I saw that it was, for our city in Lisbon in city halls on their websites, it wasn't readily available in newspapers or online publication. It was just available online at the various city hall portals.

I began to develop a programme overall with my colleagues from Portugal that gathers all that information from accidents, from construction, from events etc. Both planned and unplanned and present that data in the form of an app to the citizens with the objective being to get the information to users in as realtime as possible in order for them to make informed decisions to alter their travel by either delaying or redirecting themselves via our app in notifications. So it basically identifies any problems before you actually physically arrive at the source of any such problem. It informs you how much time you could lose if you get there and or by providing you with an alternative to your route.

It sounds very simple, our competitors like Google can give you an alternative route but they do not have realtime information as accurate as our technology can provide. The information also comes from cross sourcing from our users. The cross sourcing from users relies on the information being accurate from more than one user too.

The technology, by cross sourcing from local authorities, from Police and from users is all collated and presented in a fashion on a dynamic platform utilising local information. This is our first revenue stream by working with local government and agencies to provide accurate realtime information for the citizens of any city.

The overall objective of this technology is to increase the quality of life of the users namely the drivers. The knock on effect is to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and increase the traffic flow hence improving the users quality of life".

Is it operational, and if so where?

"Yes, we are operational in Lisbon and Porto, we are about to begin on the 30th of this month in Madrid and we are in talks with the Mayor of London too. We are planning to pilot in a couple of districts such as Croydon and Elephant & Castle and maybe here in Canary Wharf area hence our participation on the Cognicity Challenge. We are pretty confident that we will prove our concept here in the UK starting with the capital of course and expanding to the others later on.

As i said we have started in Portugal first as we are a Portuguese company, then Spain secondly; but having applied to the Cognicity Challenge we have opened up opportunities to work here in the UK. We have begun conversations with the City of Amsterdam as part of a consortium working with Horizon 2020 and City A, City Tech Accelerator, moving onto Ghent after Amsterdam and Brussels we hope".

How does it receive the information?

"We have a piece of code that we wrote which overcomes the various languages of the various countries or agencies. It takes an hour to translate the language for our platform then we mark the places where the problems occur. We collect the information from the various agencies without any physical data entry from the cities, its all automated, which is very cost effective. It's all digitally done. They have the information already, we translate it and enter it onto our platform automatically which is then delivered onto our app which is available on iOS and Android.

So the bottom line is an easy way to collect, process and present information from various countries in various languages and presented on one digital platform for end users to deal with as they see fit on our platform".

Who else can use this information, is it just for end users?

"Well, two months ago we thought one thing, but now, since being here we now know that the application can be used by other organisations too. In the beginning I thought it was just going to work with local agencies and organisations but its application has a number of uses and possibilities. The trend for open data has helped us to access information which every major city in Europe are happy to share in order to improve the data exchange and flow. We found that our system has helped the city departments themselves because our data platform is presented in a simple form and is easy to use without major complicated overalls of systems and processes.

We are in talks with a number of cities for them to access our platform data which is creating revenue stream opportunities. As of now we are still a start up having only been in existence for one year we are looking for the second phase of funding. The second phase is in progress in Portugal and we are offering our realtime information to GPS companies. We ourselves are not a GPS company, we do not want to be a GPS company but we want to compliment the information for GPS companies.

As of now we obtain some of our mapping information from Google and others then we overlay it with our accurate information, accounting for the various languages across the EU and we present it in realtime to our users. It can be fed back to the various GPS or mapping companies that wish to access it. So for example we are working with the largest GPS company in Portugal; they have the routes they have the maps but they do not have the realtime information which we do so the synergies are there. It's currently being tested and it seems to be working well.

We hope to be working with Tom Tom and Garmin in the not too distant future too; It is a potentially lucrative revenue stream from these organisations as we complement their information by overlaying it with our realtime information. GPS companies are losing market share as their technology is becoming slower because of the lack of realtime information.

The third potential revenue stream is from Insurance companies, as we have begun conversations with them in Portugal, for them it's a tool to help them work out which areas of a city is more accident prone in order for them to calculate premiums and assess risk more accurately. It can help them identify more accident prone areas or which areas are prone to more problems which can affect the premiums. We can collect such data for them to use in their modelling and studies to improve their businesses. The data we collect can be of use to banks and universities that may have a use for such data in studies for modelling etc.

Our data can be used in a range of ways which is why we are here in Canary Wharf; for example we have been asked by a City in Spain to provide them with a product for parking, so we created buzz park which is essentially the same solution but targeted for available parking bays. We can provide end users realtime information about the available spaces for parking. The data can also provide the parking managers with information such as, where the high usage is, the duration and where available spaces are in realtime.

We can produce customised products for the likes of Canary Wharf as its a very challenging piece of tech because we are processing various pieces of data like buses, private transportation, stores, as well as construction and road blocks etc. For instance if you're travelling to Canary Wharf from Luton, Gatwick or Heathrow and you have a meeting here we can show you the fastest way to get here and give you an exact location to park or which ever mode of transport you're using, be it bus or train we can put you in the exact spot for your meeting in realtime accounting for any disruption. The opposite also applies too, if you are here and you want to get to anywhere from here we can provide you with the optimum method of getting there".

How far are you in your development for here?

"For now in Canary Wharf we have all the information that we need to collate, translate, process and present on our app; its all there. the problem is not the information, everyone can obtain information on the underground, the buses, DLR etc; the challenge is to give you a personalised pathway; you have your usual pathway but then there are occasions when you may require an alternative in its easiest possible form, and in realtime.

So by being here in this fantastic district of Canary Wharf it has really opened up opportunities for us to work with local authorities in London, whereas we thought that we would have to knock on doors of every local authority, we are now having to adapt our business model and offering so local authorities can plug into our application as and when it suits them.

Our objective is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of a district in any given city, we can actualise our technology with the minimum of effort from the local authority, its as close to plug and play as it can be for now, and local authorities can improve the lives of their locals by plugging into our technology and our aim is the same as theirs. We want to improve the lives of citizens by increasing the choice of information and how its presented in realtime to increase flow and efficient movement of people and vehicles through a city".

To find out more visit www.buzzstreets.com

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