This post is part of our new Future of Smart Cities series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Apu Kumar, CEO of LotaData.
1. What’s the history of LotaData? Where and how did you begin?
AK: LotaData was founded in 2015. We are a global company with roots in San Francisco, California. LotaData provides geo-analytics and deep insights for the connected mobile world. We are very passionate about understanding how people move around and interact with the real world. We coined the term “People Intelligence” and invented “CityDash”, the citywide dashboard for smart cities and local government.
2. What specific problem does LotaData solve? How do you solve it?
AK: The majority of small to mid-sized cities are in desperate need of data insights to make informed decisions about planning and budgeting. But these cities cannot afford data science teams. CityDash is the Chief Data Officer in the cloud for cities on a budget.
CityDash combines public/open and private data to understand how people engage with city facilities and use city infrastructure. We use machine learning and AI to discover patterns, uncover insights and make recommendations for city managers and decision makers.
4. What’s the future of smart cities?
AK: With the accelerated migration toward metropolitan centers, the urban versus rural divide is exacerbating. Cities of the future will be massive metropolises with tremendous demands that will strain the limited resources available to them. Governing these cities will become an ever-increasing challenge that only technology can attempt to address. The future of smart cities will be forged by innovations in the below areas.
Prediction #1: Automation. Cities of the future will need to automate the mechanical chores of everyday governing to free up civic resource for addressing higher order problems.
Prediction #2: Equitability. Local governments will need to facilitate the equitable distribution of resources across city residents regardless of income or wealth to ensure a baseline quality and experience for all city residents.
Prediction #3: Resilience. Technological innovations will need to address the sustainability and resilience of our metros in face of natural disasters and human-triggered events.
4. What are the top 3 technologies trends shaping cities of the future?
Trend #1: Smart IoT Networks. From smart lighting to parking sensors and power meters to air quality sensors, an intricate network of IoT devices are starting to track and measure the living standards that cities are providing to their residents.
Trend #2: Machine Learning and AI. The enormous volume of real-time data flowing back from IoT networks needs to be analyzed, visualized and made actionable using machine learning and AI, transforming the raw data into predictive insights and recommendations.
Trend #3: Autonomous Fleets. Self-driving cars and trucks are not the material of science fiction anymore. With autonomous electric vehicles, cities will soon be able to upgrade their fleets of service vehicles to perform daily tasks with higher efficiency at lower costs.
About Apu Kumar
Apu, an acronym for “Accelerated Processing Unit”, has extensive technology experience in mobile location intelligence, predictive analytics, machine learning, data science and cloud services. Apu is also the CEO & Founder of LotaData, a company famous for introducing the world’s first “People Intelligence” AI platform for translating geo-location signals into actionable insights and behavioral segments, at massive scale. LotaData’s AI can tell you “where your mobile users are, what is on their minds, and what they might do next”. LotaData’s customers include mobile operators, ad exchanges, programmatic marketing companies, connected car OEMs, smart cities and local governments.
Prior to LotaData, Apu has held senior leadership roles at technology brands like BlueStacks, Hewlett Packard, Phoenix (acquired by HP), CNET.com and mySimon (acquired by CNET). Apu has a Master’s degree in Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Mumbai. When he is not globetrotting, deal hacking, or teaching tennis, Apu spends his time helping local communities. He strongly recommends the “civic tour of duty” for technology companies to invest in and contribute to the improvement of local neighborhoods, towns, and cities.