Introducing The Civic Intelligence Platform

Brooke McKim
Oct 24, 2019 · 5 min read

We at Stae have spent the last year working closely with cities to develop a product that solves some of their biggest challenges in managing their data. As the Head of Product, I have had the opportunity to visit and connect with dozens of local and city governments and tech leaders, to truly test our initial product offerings against the on-the-ground problems local government staff face every day. As our new CEO Dan Barasch shared in a previous post, this has allowed us to emerge with a clearer business strategy, and also a clearer product vision.

Today I’m proud to share that this process of discovery and development has led us to launch the Stae Civic Intelligence Platform.

Key Learnings

When Stae was founded, we began with the initial insight that local governments would face challenges as the complexity and volume of data being generated within the public realm would increase at compounding rates, and the current data management systems in place in government would not be up to the task. Our first product iteration was very focused on the data aggregation and storage piece of the problem. However, as we talked to more city staff, ranging from Chief Data Officers (CDOs) to Program Managers, we realized that just storing the data was not the entire problem. There was a need for this data to be compiled in a way that enabled the easy creation of dashboards, charts, graphs and reports. The product needed to evolve from its early focus on data aggregation to a full-stack data analysis tool.

Heading into the Syracuse City Hall

Another key insight from talking to folks in various roles throughout cities and counties is that we needed the product to be easy-to-use for a wide variety of both technical and non-technical users. We took this to heart, and make sure our product is accessible for users throughout local government.

The last take-away from this process is that the evolution of open data specifications, such as the Mobility Data Specification (MDS), have had a large impact on how data is exchanged between the public and private sector. Across the country, we have worked with jurisdictions who are for the first time ingesting real-time sensor data from micro-mobility providers, and need to gain insight into how these programs are performing. Cities use these data for permit enforcement, and to generate monthly ridership reports in order to understand usage patterns. The public and private sectors are able to share information due to MDS. This is why we joined the Open Mobility Foundation as a founding member, so we can play a role in supporting the governance of the MDS, for uses in micro-mobility and beyond. As part of this work, we made sure our product natively supports MDS and provides one-click integrations with vendor data feeds complying with the specification. This has enabled cities to hold vendors accountable and compare performance across vendors as well as streamline the process of enforcing the terms of their permits.

About the Civic Intelligence Platform

The Civic Intelligence Platform has made going from streaming data to insight easy by focusing feature development in a few key areas:

Data Ingestion: Along with one-click API integrations connecting to popular micro mobility, IoT and AV vendors we have also built a visual data import tool that makes it easy to transform and normalize data without needing to know how to code.

Data Type Awareness: We have continued to build out our civic data schemas and have over 40 predefined data dictionaries for the types of civic data cities use most for operational insights. This is powerful because it allows us to deliver pre-built and community-submitted reports that are reusable across municipalities and avoids the need to reinvent the wheel. Our plan is to continue to add additional data dictionaries as more specifications are developed and as we work with a broader range of departments and use cases.

Dashboards and Reports: We have heard over and over again that all users need the ability to generate dashboards from the data being stored. This includes specific program management dashboards, all the way up to executive level summaries for elected officials. We added this functionality over the summer and they can be kept private or shared on the open data portal.

The Future

We continue to keep an eye towards the future, and are eagerly awaiting both the continued development of civic data specifications as well as the continued investment in smart city pilots throughout the country. As both of these trends continue, we will evolve the platform to be the go-to data management solution for local government.

It has been an incredible learning experience to get an up-close look at the day-to-day operations of local government, and I am personally very proud of the product we have delivered to address those needs. I look forward to continuing to learn and incorporate feedback into our product roadmap as we take the Civic Intelligence Platform to the market.

If you have feedback or would like to learn more about The Civic Intelligence Platform get in touch.

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