Long shot of people in front of St Paul's Cathedral, London

Microsoft and Mott MacDonald form partnership to improve public services

A new partnership that aims to create better cities for citizens across the world has been set up by Microsoft and global engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald.

The firm will use Microsoft technology, including the Azure cloud platform, to help infrastructure owners, operators, investors and local governments invest in public areas in an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective way.

By using live data and analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the power of the cloud, Mott MacDonald can help rail companies improve their service, keep the public better informed of environmental issues such as sea water quality, or see risks to power networks before problems occur, for example.

Trudy Norris-Grey, Global Managing Director of Local and Regional Government and CityNext at Microsoft, said: “This is the first time Microsoft has partnered with a company like Mott MacDonald, which is not only leading the way in developing smart infrastructure but is actually implementing that technology to improve people’s lives through better decision-making today.

“Both companies understand how technology can create solutions to current and future problems. By combining our expertise, we will create a smart infrastructure platform and ecosystem that can be rapidly adopted by organisations to improve public services and sustainability.”

As part of the partnership, Mott MacDonald will move its cloud-based analytics and digital twin platform – named Moata – to Azure. The platform, which leverages the power of Azure, offers benefits to the company and the ability to share at scale (more than one billion data points per day).

Moata has been used to help numerous clients. Auckland City Council, in New Zealand, has used it to better engage with their customers by improving the accuracy of water quality predictions and the associated public health risk from less than 20% to greater than 80%. The city-scale digital twin represents the real-time interaction between atmospheric conditions, the urban stormwater and wastewater networks and the marine environment. By combining engineering principles with modern AI, Moata helps Auckland’s council increase levels of engagement with the public and make better informed decisions, driving improved outcomes for the community.

Mott MacDonald, which employs 16,000 people across 150 countries, said Azure will give its clients the peace of mind that their data is secure, while also offering the chance of social interaction to allow citizens to give their opinions on investments in their neighbourhood.

Oliver Hawes, Mott MacDonald’s Head of Smart Infrastructure, said: “It is vital that smart infrastructure delivers social, economic and environmental benefits for society, as well as investment return for businesses. Microsoft and Mott MacDonald believe that smart solutions have a positive impact on cities and asset owners, and improve design, delivery and performance of infrastructure. Cities, government, asset owners, investors and society can all benefit hugely.”