Copenhagen Smart City Infrastructure/City Data Exchange

The abundance of data (“big data”) on public and private consumption patterns (e.g.electricity, water and heating), traffic patterns and other types of data contains a major potential to optimize consumption and usage patterns in an environmentally beneficial way.


If such big data could be centrally processed, distributed, anonymized and made generally accessible, the potential of big data could be developed and realized through a number of pilot applications based on available big data from the public and/or private sector processed in a new and easy accessible infrastructure.

The challenge is that public and private organizations and companies need incentives (of general public importance or monetary) to contribute and share data in a digital infrastructure.

CLEAN’s role

Since 2009, CLEAN has been working on an innovation model (CLEAN’s innovation model) to solve some of the biggest global environmental challenges. The innovation model is based on the premise that major unresolved environmental challenges can drive innovation activities in leading Danish and foreign companies. The challenges are so complex that they can only be solved through new forms of collaborations across industries and different constellations of large established companies, innovative SMEs and startup companies using new technology and understanding of design. At the same time, there is a need to cooperate with the public sector to test new solutions. The model enables a public-private cooperation through dialogue meetings, facilitation of market access, knowledge sharing, screening of companies and establishment of consortiums.

The potential of CLEAN’s innovation model was fully explored through a preprocurement and competitive dialogue tender process with the aim of developing and realizing a digital infrastructure to create the incentive-structures for unlocking the potential of big data.
CLEAN facilitated the process in cooperation with City of Copenhagen and the Capital Region of Denmark, which included organizing and facilitating dialogue meetings between public and private partners, facilitation of market access, knowledge sharing, screening of companies and establishment of consortiums.

Outcome/Project status

The development of a digital infrastructure for big data in Copenhagen led to an overwhelming interest from Danish and international companies in spite of Denmark’s relatively small domestic market. Especially, the possibility of using the public sector as a “testbed” was a key driver in attracting the interest of companies.

If companies are able to develop a solution that can be tested and implemented in Denmark, there is a good chance that the solution can be implemented elsewhere, and hence there is great potential for export growth and foreign investment.

The tender was initially won by a consortium led by the Japanese technology giant Hitachi. The official launch of the big data infrastructure, named City Data Exchange (CDE), was in May 2016. The CDE is a market place for public and private data that will create better public solutions and new business opportunities for companies.

For more information about City Data Exchange:
• Press release
Hitachi’s webpage