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Rotterdam Urban Big Data Thesis Award 2019

Thesis Award


The Urban Big Data Knowledge Lab aims to promote knowledge about and development of urban big data policies. To this purpose, it yearly awards a prize for the best thesis on the subject by Master students from Erasmus University Rotterdam and Bachelor Students from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. The winner receives €2.000 and a published interview about his or her thesis.

Based on criteria such as originality, practical relevance and methodological rigor the theses by Rasmus Ramm and Jonathan Tschaffon were selected both as the winners of our 2019 Thesis Award. These theses received very similar scores on our evaluation criteria from our jury, which is why we split the award. Congratulations, Rasmus and Jonathan!

You can find Rasmus's full thesis here. The abstract of the thesis can be found below.

Fueled by the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, data for almost every aspect of urban life is collected in today's smart cities and the volume, as well as the domains from where data is collected, are increasing every day. This urban data gives organizations a unique chance to get insights about many aspects of urban life. To foster economic activities in the city, the usage of Urban Data Platforms (UDPs) is becoming more widely adopted among smart cities, encouraging the exchange of urban data between data suppliers and data users.
In this role, engaging with a UDP allows organizations to either receive or share their urban data and create a new value proposition based on this engagement. Analyzing this value creation logic through a business model analysis is not yet well understood due to the lack of an appropriate framework. This research fills this gap, by answering the research questions of (1) which dimensions need to be included in a UDP-engaging business model framework, (2) which business models are used by organizations and (3) how the business models differ.
This set of exploratory and inductive research questions was answered by adopting a two-staged, qualitative research design. First, a two-round Delphi study with 14 panelists was conducted to find dimensions for a business model framework. Second, the practical application of the framework was demonstrated while also answering the second and third research question by performing two case studies and comparing them.
The result of the Delphi study was a framework containing ten dimensions, five specifically targeted to describe the engagement of the organization to the UDP (Type of Engagement, Type of Data Exchanged, Type of Access, Degree of Interoperability, Native of UDP) and five to describe the operational aspects of the business model (Key Activity, Revenue Model, Partner Ecosystem, Offering, Target Customer) that were found based on group consensus. Utilizing the developed UDP-engaging business model framework to analyze and compare two cases, revealed two novel business models that are variations of preexisting business models, who could only be described by means of the dimensions included in the framework.
Three other findings are interesting to add to the body of literature about UDPs: (1) there appear to be different types of platforms regarding their willingness to enable UDP-engaging business models, (2) there can be more than one UDP in the context of one city and (3) there appear to be UDPs that are operated and governed by private organizations in a smart city context.
This thesis increases the empirical understanding of how the connection from UDPs to organizations generates new business models and provides a tool for systematic analysis.

Please find Jonathan's thesis here, and its abstract below:

This thesis investigates the impact of low emission zones (LEZ) on the particulate
matter concentration in Germany. The exploration of measurement data by over 500
monitoring stations between 2007 and 2017 allows me to evaluate effects within and
around the perimeter of LEZs. I distinguish between restriction level Euro 2, Euro 3
and Euro 4 as well as between a staggered and an at once implementation of the policy.
Whereas staggered stands for a start at Euro 2 and a subsequent upgrade to Euro 3
and 4, the at once procedure implies skipping lower levels. The results show that the
highest restriction level (Euro 4) is associated with a decreased concentration level of
about 4 percent, if the implementation is staggered. Starting at restriction level Euro
4 without any preceding treatment is not related to a reduction of particulate matter.
Furthermore, I find indications for increased pollution levels within the radius of 20km
of an LEZ after the initial introduction.