A global pandemic, alien invasions, and the zombie apocalypse… it’s all fun and games when it’s just the theme of a movie. But when at least one of those movie themes starts to resemble real life, the impacts to business become all too real. Looking beyond this outbreak, cities, governments and nations will need new ways to monitor patterns and maintain smarter cities to address health risks to its citizens and impact socially responsible strategies.

Data is Everywhere

Recently, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University developed an interactive web-based dashboard, to visualize and track reported cases in real-time. The dashboard illustrates the location and number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries for all affected countries. It was developed to provide researchers, public health authorities and the general public with a user-friendly tool to track the outbreak as it unfolds. This along with other adjacent data sources can be used to effectively monitor and aid in the reduction of this and other outbreaks from spreading. China has reacted quickly to respond to the monitoring of the spread of this outbreak and Reuters reports that this could be forward looking to reshaping China’s smart cities.

How Cities Globally can React

Information from communities provide a critical collection of data in every faction of work, play and healthy lifestyles.  Often this data is publicly available through multiple sources like the John Hopkins dashboard and strategies for getting a visual summary and model insights to aid in the monitoring of health risks for social responsibility. This allows developers of these types of solutions to be able to learn as much about the data, its structure and its attributes, as fast as possible.  Several open sources include numerous states, cities, and counties that have launched open data sites or portals to encourage useful implementation of this information. You can find many cities and countries that offer data here.  Several necessary steps are required before information can be converted into open and machine-readable data, however. This includes identifying and prioritizing data for release, assessing data quality, reviewing data for accuracy, legal, privacy and security implications, making data accessible and compliant.  With this open data and Smart Cities initiatives, this data can also provide insights in terms of identifying high-risk areas in a timely manner further protecting its citizens.  Strategies from the availability and visualizing this data, can be used to predict outcomes by combining local infections and population mobility trends, and therefore optimize allocation of public resources more efficiently.

Extending Cellular Location intelligence to address Global Health Risks

Several methods can track location history on public devices.  There are several privacy concerns to address, however.  These concerns include regulatory laws that prevent sharing your identity, but often location information is for only understanding diagnostics purposes each subscriber has accepted through application policies.  Also, the way people connect to the internet can capture location, including via Wi-Fi, GPS, and cellular.  On their own, there are limitations on accuracy for each.  A VIAVI white paper explains how cellular operators can benefit with working with several data sources in providing new ways to share the details from their networks.  With this information, accurate predictions can be made as to where subscribers will go next, where they will go later in the day or even next week. The focus is on patterns and trends based on sophisticated machine learning algorithms, rather than individual locations. Once an operator can predict where someone will go and combine that with the topics that matter to health risks, an unprecedented opportunity arises for the operator to share that information to interested government parties.  VIAVI has worked across the globe with some of the largest service providers to accurately extract the right data at the right time and turn that data into useful information to share quickly and help monitor these types of social and health risks.  With the introduction of 5G however, cellular location will provide new visibility that no other location technology can reveal (i.e. GPS, or Wi-Fi).  With the introduction of Beam Forming in 5G, Geolocation and elevation, accuracy requirements are much higher than any form of connectivity include current cellular technologies.

Location intelligence analytics is the science of taking a series of applicable data points and extracting value. That’s what the VIAVI Location Intelligence solution does. By providing both historical and real time analytics, the cellular operator can know who’s where, what the traffic flow and patterns are, which can be used to make changes for addressing public health risks, but also towards socially responsible projects and economic impact concerns.  To become more acquainted with our products for services providers on this subject, visit the VIAVI Location Intelligence page.


Luc Boucher is a technology marketer passionate about how storytelling and targeted messaging create business-changing content through technology solutions. As an Senior Solution Marketer at VIAVI Solutions, he is responsible for implementing inbound and outbound marketing strategies that help his stakeholders increase brand awareness, product adoption, and acquire new customers. When he isn’t working, you’ll find Luc spending time with his beautiful wife and family, spending time in the mountains whenever he gets a chance, and enjoying a great book or exercising.

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1 Comment

  1. Great Read. It gives me something to think about moving forward with my patients.

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