Following a detailed analysis phase, Future City | Glasgow, the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) UK Future Cities Demonstrator, has started the procurement for their City Technology Platform.
The aims of the City Technology Platform
The City Technology Platform pioneers and promotes open data. It creates a catalyst for individuals and organisations to improve their understanding of the city. People have the opportunity to collaborate and develop innovative solutions that meet city challenges. Glasgow City Council (GCC) drives the platform – in line with the Future City principles of open data, community engagement and information management outlined in Glasgow’s Open Manifesto.
A detailed analysis phase
The project team has undertaken an extensive Architecture Definition exercise to gain a deep understanding of the user requirements for the City Technology Platform. This has included defining the following:
- Technology Strategy: setting out the vision, purpose, context, stakeholders, goals, objectives and principles
- User Requirements: high-level user requirements
- Reference Architecture: component blueprint demonstrating the platform capabilities
- Physical Architecture: the components’ functionality and how they will interface with each other
A high-level Technical Architecture context document for the City Technology Platform is available here.
Starting the procurement process
This exercise allowed Future City | Glasgow to reach an informed point to commence procurement of a City Technology Platform that meets the specific user requirements identified plus integrates with and overlays existing and planned ICT investments.
Approach to ICT Procurement
Glasgow City Council is committed to delivering effective procurement in an open and transparent way, ensuring fairness and equity in the treatment of all suppliers and achieving best value for money.
ACCESS is contracted to provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services and property management across Glasgow City Council and are managing the City Technology Platform procurement.
Two project tracks
The City Technology Platform Reference Architecture is comprised of:
- 6 Enterprise components (Track 1)
- 3 Open components (Track 2)
The Enterprise components (Track 1) are the foundations and the engine upon which the City Technology Platform is built and include: Visualisation Services, Data Storage & Analytics Services, Collaboration Services, Data Collection Services, and Publication Services. The Open components (Track 2) are, by definition, more open and innovative including: Open portals, Catalogue Services and Identity Management Services.
This split into two tracks is informed by independent market research from Gartner and Forrester that indicated two different marketplaces for these components:
- Mature corporate enterprise marketplace of long-term providers with established products, roadmaps and track records of delivering major infrastructural programmes; and
- Dynamic, innovative, consumer-driven marketplace of companies and open source providers who help develop software assets and services.
Request for proposal for Enterprise components (Track 1)
Having taken appropriate advice, we have proceeded with a one-stage commercial process for the procurement of the Enterprise components (Track 1). A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued to key suppliers on 7th November 2013. This decision was based on the independent market research and delivery of the best technical solution for Glasgow City Council:
• the market research highlighted that only a handful of smart city mega vendors have the track record, products and services to deliver the Enterprise components (Track 1) on an on-demand platform, and
• this approach ensures that the components come together and perform as a Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS) on-demand cloud-hosted model to deliver high capacity, availability and reliability, with the ability to scale.
Further procurement for the Open components (Track 2)
While the Enterprise components (Track 1) will deliver the core engine, the Open components (Track 2) are critical to making the City Technology Platform easy to access and use. These are, by definition, more open and innovative including: Open Portals, Catalogue Services and Identity Management Services.
These will involve a portfolio of smaller commercial procurements with opportunities for innovation.