Uber opens up Paris travel database to help city planners

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Uber [UBER.UL] said on Friday it would open up its trove of travel data in Paris to the public to help city officials and urban planners better understand transportation needs, as the company seeks to woo national authorities.

FILE PHOTO: The Uber logo is seen on mobile telephone in London, Britain, September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The U.S. ride-hailing app collects huge amounts of data from the billions of trips taken by customers which it uses to improve its services and has recently started to make it available for a number of cities including Washington D.C., Sydney and Boston.

“We get asked all the time ‘Is there any way you can share more data? We’d love to see where people are traveling in our city’,” Adam Gromis, who is responsible for environmental sustainability at Uber, told Reuters.

The service, called Uber Movement, shows how long it takes to make a journey between two points in a city at different times of the day.

Uber is making the data available via a free website which can be accessed by anyone with an Uber account, but it is aimed particularly at city planners. (movement.uber.com)

To respect users’ privacy, Uber Movement uses only aggregated anonymised data.

Uber, which launched in Paris in 2011, has had a rocky relationship with regulators across Europe who have accused it of flouting their traditional licensing rules.

Protests by taxi drivers against the smartphone app turned violent in 2015 when Paris cabbies overturned cars and burned tyres.

Uber has suffered a tumultuous few months that led to former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick being forced out after a series of boardroom controversies and regulatory battles in a number of U.S. states and around the world.

Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has struck a less confrontational approach than his predecessor – particularly in London where Uber is challenging a decision by the transport regulator to strip it of its operating license in the city.

“As a technology company we can play a role in helping cities make data-driven decisions for the benefit of the environment and its citizens,” Alexandre Droulers, Uber’s general manager for new mobility in western Europe, said.

Transport planning usually relies on expensive household travel surveys which are conducted on average every 10 years in the Paris region, making Uber’s data a lot more up to date.

Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Adrian Croft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

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If you take a step back for a moment and think about airplane flight, it turns out that something rather extraordinary is happening. Most of the time the plane is being flown by an autopilot and the pilot is actually kind of a “meta pilot” – a minder that watches to ensure that the autopilot is not doing anything dumb. And every year, millions of us entrust our lives to this system – we’re not only okay with it, we’re in fact impressed that an auto-pilot can do that stuff so effectively. Against that backdrop, now consider how extraordinary it is that we don’t have computer software that can “fly” a data-center. Don’t bet that it will stay that way. It is changing, and the changes are going to have big consequences.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Q&A: Microsoft Cosmos DB creator lays out vision for planet-scale database

Microsoft has fired a shot heard around the globe, so to speak, in data management with the debut of Azure Cosmos DB at the recent Microsoft Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle. The cloud database is positioned for elasticity and globally available data, supported on the Azure cloud. The project was founded in 2010 by Microsoft’s Dharma Shukla, who holds the title of distinguished engineer at the company.

InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill spoke with Shukla during the conference to get his perspectives on the technology.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing

Q&A: Microsoft Cosmos DB creator lays out vision for planet-scale database

Microsoft has fired a shot heard around the globe, so to speak, in data management with the debut of Azure Cosmos DB at the recent Microsoft Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle. The cloud database is positioned for elasticity and globally available data, supported on the Azure cloud. The project was founded in 2010 by Microsoft’s Dharma Shukla, who holds the title of distinguished engineer at the company.

InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill spoke with Shukla during the conference to get his perspectives on the technology.

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CIO Cloud Computing

Cloud convenience is killing the open source database

Open source has never been more important or, ironically, irrelevant. As developers increasingly embrace the cloud to shorten time to market, they’re speeding past open source, making it even harder to build an open source business. 

After all, if open source were largely a way for developers to skirt legal and purchasing departments to get the software they needed when they needed it, the cloud ups that convenience to the nth degree. In Accel’s annual business review, the vaunted venture capital firm writes: “‘Product’ is no longer just the bits of software, it’s also how the software is sold, supported, and made successful.” The cloud is changing the way all software is consumed, including open source.

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SAP aims to simplify innovation with update to HANA in-memory database

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Since introducing HANA in 2010, SAP has been releasing updates twice a year, providing customers with new capabilities but also pushing them to keep their software current to benefit from continuing support.

The new version gives businesses two reasons to relax, according to Marie Goodell, vice president of product marketing at SAP.

HANA 2 is designed to simplify things for the IT department, reducing the effort it takes to keep the lights on so that businesses can spend more time working on new, next-generation applications that take advantage of new types of data, she said. Even if they choose to keep upgrading, that should involve less work going forward.

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Network World Cloud Computing

Microsoft improves security for Azure SQL Database

Microsoft is giving database administrators working with Azure SQL Database a new suite of security tools to check out.

A new Always Encrypted feature will be available as a public beta by the end of the month. It allows users to encrypt sensitive data within an application using their own keys without relinquishing those keys to the Azure SQL Database. It’s a feature that lets companies maintain better control over critical applications they want to keep as secure as possible. 

Microsoft’s Transparent Data Encryption feature, which allows the encryption of a database without altering the application itself, will be generally available by the end of October. The company will automatically rotate the encryption keys for a database using the feature every 90 days, without end users having to worry about it. 

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Amazon cuts cost of running Oracle’s database in its cloud

Amazon Web Services now lets companies run Oracle’s database for about 3 cents per hour, while at the same time adding more options for enterprises that want to move high-performance workloads to the cloud.

The offering that makes this possible is Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service), which aims to offer cheap and resizable capacity, and take over many database administration tasks.

The last two months have seen Amazon step up its efforts to make RDS and its cloud a viable option for running databases. Improvements include using SQL Server Enterprise Edition without buying separate licenses, the general availability of its own MySQL-compatible Aurora database, and an increase of the maximum database storage size.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Airbnb open sources SQL tool built on Facebook’s Presto database

Apartment-sharing startup Airbnb has open sourced a tool called Airpal that the company built to give more of its employees access to the data they need for their jobs. Airpal is built atop the Presto SQL engine that Facebook created in order to speed access to data […]

Airbnb open sources SQL tool built on Facebook’s Presto database originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2015.

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