What impact is the roadworks having on the vitality of downtown Montreal? Who, cyclists or motorists, frequent local businesses the most? We will soon have the answers to these kinds of questions thanks to a brand new cloud computing dashboard created by the Société de développement commercial (SDC) Montréal centre-ville in partnership with Google Cloud.
“Until now, we had virtually no access to any of this data,” says SDC Montreal Downtown general manager Glenn Castanheira. “What really affects traffic? We really had no data on that. It did not exist or was owned by private companies. »
For its platform, the SDC will draw on data provided in real time by partners such as payment solution Moneris, pedestrian and cyclist counting service Eco-Counter, Bixi Montreal and Statistics Canada, among others. This data will be pooled on a cloud computing platform created by Google’s Montreal employees. Everything will take the form of a dashboard that will portray the vitality of the downtown area located between Atwater, Saint-Urbain, Saint-Antoine and Sherbrooke streets.
“We want to know people’s behavior and help companies in all sectors: hospitality, retail, restaurants. Then we want to be able to compare ourselves to other city centers: Toronto and Vancouver, of course, then Chicago, Boston and maybe New York in the United States,” says Glenn Castanheira.
According to the Montreal-based organization, while other North American cities compile different data like that used in its dashboard, there is currently no unified solution like the one created with Google.
A public dashboard?
This dashboard is currently still under development. The SDC Montréal centre-ville would like to make it accessible to the public by next spring. To do this, some confidentiality clauses relating to the data received from some suppliers will have to be eliminated. If not, the organization will publish quarterly reports from its platform instead.
Whatever the formula, SDC Montréal centre-ville wants to definitively demystify the economic situation of the city centre. “We want to be able to distinguish opinion from fact. Where is crime concentrated? Where do cyclists or motorists go shopping? This is the kind of information we will be able to produce,” says its general manager.
The Business Development Corporation, which represents nearly 5,000 companies, will analyze correlations between all of this data and uncover big trends in how downtown workers, consumers and merchants behave. She hopes that this will help him make the right decisions to improve the attractiveness of downtown Montreal for everyone his clients.
The SDC can also make recommendations, which it will pass on to the relevant authorities, such as the city of Montreal. “We want to help separate opinion from fact,” says Castanheira. For example, the SDC would like to dispel the impression that the offices in the center are deserted, while the occupancy rate is around 90%. “After that, we also want to help the municipality make the right decisions. We are not a lobby, we want to help the City develop better. »
Above all, SDC Montréal centre-ville hopes so this technology will help increase the economic activity of the center. The organization is also looking for new datasets from other organizations to add to their dashboard. By way of example, the use of street or public parking is mentioned. The idea is to draw the most representative portrait of the city centre. In digital version.