Thanks to your phone, this municipality knows how busy it is in the center

Oss gebruikt een digitaal dashboard om de stad te verbeteren (foto: Argaleo)

Businesses and government organizations in Oss, such as the police or the municipality, can now see how busy they are in the center via a digital dashboard. They can also find out how visitors get to the city center and where to park their cars. With this they can improve the position. Part of this information comes from the phone records of visitors and residents. What does that mean for them?

Increasingly, apps are asking phone users for permission to track their location. These are weather and travel apps or navigation apps like Google Maps. Oss Center management and the Argaleo company use this data to populate the digital dashboard.

How, exactly, does this work? “These apps provide your GPS location anonymously once every 15 minutes. For example, we see 150 phones on the market in the US at the same time, ”explains Argaleo director Jeroen Steinbachers. “You can read which companies you give permission to, so that’s a sign of privacy. Of course, not everyone gives permission to track a site, so we do the math.”

Combined with general information such as maps and company data, the company populates a digital dashboard. Business and organizations can find important information about the Oss Center there. Think about the number of visitors in the center, but also think about information about the number of vacant retail properties.

“The data is used to improve the status of the operating system.”

But what is the benefit of citizens sharing their data? “This data is used to improve the operating system’s core in all sorts of ways,” says Jacques van Lieschoot, center director and initiator.

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“If the municipality sees that many people come to the city by car, they can, for example, build bike paths or expand parking spaces. Or think about events. If they see that it is very busy every year, the police can deploy more people.”

But the dashboard also helps with job postings. “Now you can impress entrepreneurs with numbers. In the past, I could only tell you how busy the center was, but now I can show it,” Steinbacher says. So the consumer also benefits from it.

“The data is unique compared to major cities.”

This digital dashboard is already used in Brabant in Den Bosch, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Helmond and Breda. But what sets Oss Dashboard apart is that it has a lot more data available than those of those larger municipalities.

“I’ve been keeping the data on paper since 2011. Then I walked through central Aus and then I noticed vacant buildings or in which sector the store was active,” says Van Liechout. “This information is unique because I wrote it all myself.”

This turned out to be an advantage. “If you see that there are already many women’s fashion stores in central Aus, you can try to attract more men’s clothing stores to the centre,” he says. “This way we create a center with a very diverse offer.”

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