Frequently Asked Questions
This page answers some of the most common questions asked about the IoT Programme.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q – Do you have a website to explain what is going on?
A – Yes, the home for our programme is https://www.innovateproject.org/ and it is regularly updated.
2. Q – Is the data captured subject to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
A – All data captured aligns with relevant data regulations set out by the UK government and Information Commissioner’s Office, but most of the data we collect does not contain personal data so falls outside of the Act.
3. Q – What do the sensors on the lampposts do? Are they watching us?
A – The sensors deployed on lighting columns are for two purposes:
- Counting Traffic – The sensors count and categorise the traffic that passes them so that we can find out how many, cars, vans, buses, cyclists, pedestrians past that spot. For more information refer to the Vivacity Labs website https://vivacitylabs.com/
- Air Quality Monitors – These sample the air continuously and report back on the Nitrogen Dioxide and PM2.5 Particulate levels in that area. For more information refer to the Breathe London website https://www.breathelondon.org/
Neither data source contains any personal information, and could never be used to identify either a specific vehicle,driver or pedestrian. Nor can they be used as video or CCTV cameras.
4. Q – Can you hear us when on the street talking?
A – No, none of the sensors installed on columns contain microphones and are not able to capture or record any audio.
5. Q – Why do you care about who uses cycle lanes?
A – The Council has a duty of care to all road users and wishes to ensure that it accurately understands:
- Types of road users making use of the cycle lanes
- If there are unauthorised users, like mopeds, and the frequency of this
- Whether some routes are busier than others, and if so, does capacity need diverting or additional routes installing
- If there is a difference in usage depending on the installation i.e. are painted lines on the road as effective as segregated cycle routes?
6. Q – Aren’t those in-home sensors intrusive?
A – Those residents who are participating in the programme have all done so of their own volition. They have clearly had the scheme explained to them and provided written consent to agree to their inclusion. Further, the sensors are limited in their knowledge e.g. they are looking for signs of activity or changes in patterns, not whether someone has friends over etc.
These sensors are being put in for the benefit of our residents, as one resident said following an alert that the system had raised : ‘It was to lovely to hear someone checked in on me as actually I was feeling unwell and didn’t want to disturb anyone’
7. Q – Can people be excluded from trials?
A – We are not capturing personal information, it isn’t possible as we don’t know who anyone is, so we couldn’t include or exclude anyone. However, for the vulnerable resident trials, every resident has the right to join, say no, or even leave during the trial if they change their mind.
8. Q – How is this funded? Are you taking money from social care?
A – There is no money being taken from normal council services. Funding originates from a business rates retention scheme and is 100% additional to any Council budgets. However, the trials may demonstrate better or more efficient ways to support residents in social care.
9. Q – You are installing sensors in vacant properties – why can’t empty properties just be knocked down instead?
A – Unfortunately, due to the timing of the estate regeneration, plus consideration for adjacent properties, it means this isn’t viable. Therefore, we are looking to protect the remaining residents and reduce the risk of Anti Social Behaviour, damage and/or arson.
10. Q – I don’t want Air Quality monitoring in my street, can I have the sensors removed?
A – The Council has an obligation to understand the air quality (AQ) across the borough. AQ sensors are only deployed where there is a concern:
- that the air in certain areas may exceed legal limits
- there is a desire to understand if changes made on a school street have or will make a positive impact.
11. Q – Why are we monitoring Social Distancing?
A – The Council has an obligation to support Government guidelines and minimise possible health and safety issues. All Social Distancing data collected is fully anonymous, and only highlights those areas where Social Distancing may be lower than is desirable, to prevent the spread of the virus.
12. Q – Why are you counting people in the park? Will you close parks down if park usage is too low?
A – The data is purely intended to give the Council’s parks team a real insight into visitor numbers and their timings. The data will be used to support bid applications for additional funding. This information can also be used to assess whether additional cleaning crews may be needed during peak periods to prevent waste mounts building around bins.
13. Q – Can I request to have Air Quality sensors in my street?
A – If you wish to have air quality monitoring installed on your street please liaise with your local Councillor.
14. Q – Why is the council monitoring Fly Tipping when it’s the council’s job to take the rubbish away?
A – Fly tipping blights neighbourhoods and is a risk to human health from vermin and chemicals / materials left behind. It is very costly to dispose of waste left illegally and the Council is wishing to ensure the burden of cost is passed to those individuals that dump waste illegally.