How to Turn Open Data into Smart City Applications 2

How to Use Data-Driven Decision-Making to Fuel Growth

Conducted by the SixThirty Group, “Explore Open Data” is a project targeted at fostering open data standards, assisting users and publishers to utilize open data more, and building a data-driven government. In this series, various data leaders will be interviewed.

In this week’s interview, Joyce Edson is our respondent. She is the Assistant General Manager for Los Angeles’ Information Technology Agency and the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the city. She participated in the launch of, which is Los Angeles’ Open Data site, and has several years of experience in the data field.

Question: Could you please explain your position as the City Deputy CIO?

Joyce: Being the City Deputy Chief Information Officer, I take care of app work on an enterprise level. Currently, the city employs more than 48,000 people, and I oversee their payrolls. Besides, I use the financial management system of the city to keep track of the payment of vendors. Besides, I manage the support the city offers to various departments, agencies, and bureaus.

Question: Could you please tell us about your experience as the Interim Chief Data Officer?

Joyce: I was part of the launching of the city’s open data. It should be noted that we were likely the last large city to establish open data; however, we performed well after the launching. During this period, I had a great interest in data due to my application background. Notably, the application is all about how data is created, utilized, and improved.

The city is saddled with the responsibility of making it easy for its residents, businesses, and tourists to work and move around. This can only be possible when data is used appropriately. Being the Chief Data Officer, I oversee the availability, accuracy, and meaningfulness of the data.

Question: When it comes to data-related applications in the city, what areas are experiencing the fastest growth rate?

Joyce: As long as data-related applications are concerned, the fastest growing fields are transportation, public safety, and public infrastructure. Under public infrastructure, the areas experiencing the fastest growth rate include Wi-Fi availability, green technologies, and childcare. Other fields also have some areas that are having the most significant growth rate.

Question: Could you describe how open data have helped in meeting the goal of enabling businesses and smart cities?

Joyce: Here, we need to mention the role of building permits and planning zones. These factors assist individuals and businesses to make an informed decision when choosing locations or doing other things. Besides, there is a link between the number of startups and the level of support that Los Angeles is giving to these businesses.

Question Could you shed more light on public engagement and things you would like to see more of?

Joyce: The City of Los Angeles has over four million residents; therefore, it is hard to engage everyone. However, we are using a few methods to engage the residents. The business portal and the Business Assistance Virtual Network (BAVN) are two of these methods. Through these methods, the public can now gain access to data.

Things we would like to see more of include networking with other governments. We are already working on this as well as other networks that can increase public engagement.

Question: Several startups create applications for the public. How do you engage these startups? How does the city support startups?

Joyce: We have an innovation platform known as La Kretz. This center is dedicated to clean technology and accommodating different startups. We are concerned about the stability and sustainability of our investment in any applications, but we are ready for startup technology.

Question: What would you recommend for any individual that wants to utilize open data to make the city smarter?

Joyce: Persistence and inquisitiveness are important factors such an individual must be. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. However, make sure your goal aligns with ours.