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smart cities (6)

Bronze Level Contributor

MediaCityUK in Salford is hosting the UK smart city accelerator programme

They will be developing and prototyping solutions to discover how cities can use technology to adapt to a post-Covid world with the aim of securing investment at the end of the programme.

Six companies will be taking part in the UK Smart City Innovation Testbed programme, hosted at Salford’s MediaCityUK, to discover how cities can use technology to adapt to a post-Covid world.

Solutions developed by the cohort span those that monitor air quality for employees, detect falls by the elderly and enable residents to converse with street furniture to better inform planners about attitudes to the built environment.

Accelerating solutions

The programme is the first of its kind in the UK and sees MediaCityUK partner with Connected Places Catapult, an expert in emerging technologies that accelerate future cities and transport solutions. It will be led by innovation specialists UP Ventures, which is based in Edinburgh and Manchester, and aims to enable its partners to identify opportunities, solve real-world problems and accelerate business growth.

The start-ups will develop and prototype their products with the aim of securing investment at the end of the programme and be able to access MediaCityUK’s technology infrastructure to deploy and test their products in a living lab environment. One of the aims is to explore how cities can evolve by using the Internet of Things (IoT).

The six companies taking part in the testbed, which will also receive online coaching and masterclasses, are:

Atmo Technology: an air quality data company that uses IoT devices and advanced algorithms to help employers monitor the pollution levels to which their staff are exposed;

Cyber Defence Services: has developed an IoT security platform OvertAI which monitors devices connected to the network and detects threats;

Hello Lamp Post: has created a novel way for people to tell town planners how they think their built environment can be improved with the company allowing people to converse with street furniture in over 25 countries around the world;

Secure Sensor Innovative Design: has built an IoT system that allows organisations such as care homes and housing associations to monitor temperature and humidity levels and can also detect sudden falls from elderly residents;

R-Com: has developed a comprehensive smart city solution with a suite of sensors that can count passengers on public transport, measure air quality and monitor vehicles on roads with the firm also providing real time analysis and IT support;

Pulse Systems: has built an IoT platform on top of UK made and designed sensors that help businesses make a building smart allowing for better understanding of workspaces and how they affect people and the environment.

“Working towards a post-pandemic world we have an opportunity to create a profoundly positive impact on the way people adapt and thrive,” said Steve Thomas, managing partner, UP Ventures. “At the heart of our smart city innovation testbed is a passion for technology, the role of places and how they can adapt to support how people live, work, play and learn.

“This is a challenging time for business, however, it has never been more important to innovate and that is why we intend to press on with supporting this talented group of innovators.”

The programme follows the Future of Health accelerator programme, which also took place at MediaCityUK and has reportedly seen significant investment and growth for the cohort of businesses involved.

Originally published by
Smart Cities World News Team | January 14, 2021
Smart Cities World News

Read more…
Silver Level Contributor

Edinburgh claims the extension will save the council a further £12m

The Scottish capital will further work with provider CGI to put in place a programme of digital transformation which includes a range of smart city applications.

The City of Edinburgh is extending its partnership with global ICT services provider, CGI, as part of its vision to become one of the world’s smartest capital cities.

The five-year relationship will be extended until 2029, providing stability for the council’s ICT services and enabling the Scottish capital to further digitally transform its services.

The council claims the extension will save a further £12m and help it look further ahead to the future.

Smart city applications

Future plans include creating a smart city operations centre to deliver transformative digital services and installing smart city applications such as intelligent traffic signals, smart streetlights and smart street bins.

“Becoming a smart city will make Edinburgh a more sustainable and fair city so I’m pleased we’ve secured CGI’s long-term support to help us with our vision,” said depute council leader Cammy Day, the City of Edinburgh Council’s smart cities lead.

He said: “We’re already well on our way to transforming the way we deliver many council services, making them much more efficient and easy to use for residents. We want to develop this further and under the contract we’re looking at making digital learning services a lot more accessible and inclusive for all our pupils and residents.”

The work it does with CGI will also support the council’s plans for lowering carbon emissions and lowering costs by using smart technology.

Day continued: “We realised savings of £45m when our partnership began in 2015, with an additional £11m in 2018 and this extension will save the council a further £12m at a time when our finances are under pressure.”

In a statement, the council said its plans will include:

  • responding to the needs of a post-Covid capital city by driving forward digital transformation
  • bridging the digital divide between Edinburgh’s most and least affluent areas, providing schools with the most advanced networks and kit
  • creating a smart city operations centre to deliver transformative digital services using technologies such as the artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced analytics
  • installing smart city systems such as intelligent traffic signals, smart streetlights that can control their own luminosity, street bins that can signal when they’re full and smart sensors in council homes to predict, manage and prevent damage to properties such as damp
  • increasing digital security to protect the council’s network and data
  • reducing the council’s carbon footprint by reducing paper and print, reducing waste, and reusing or recycling equipment
  • enhancing options for remote working for council employees
  • taking advantage of global trends such as moving to cloud-based services to reduce costs.

“Thanks to the work we’ve already achieved with CGI to use technology in much smarter ways, we’ve been able to respond quickly to the challenges of the pandemic and remote working, making sure our services can still be accessed by residents,” said Adam McVey, council leader.

He added: "Building on this will be crucial as we adapt to life beyond Covid and we want to create the most connected, efficient and sustainable capital we can.

“The contract extension will allow us to make substantial savings without compromising on our ambitious goals for the city or on the progress we’re making improving core and lifeline services for our residents. I’m looking forward to seeing Edinburgh evolve into a genuinely smart city and our partnership with CGI will sit at the heart of that work.”

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld News Team | September 7, 2020

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Silver Level Contributor

Initially 100 scooters have been made available for residents in Milton Keynes

The Ford-owned micro-mobility unit is working closely with the UK city’s council to roll out its fleet responsibly and said public safety is the top priority.

Spin, the micro-mobility arm of Ford Motor Company, has announced its first UK local trial of its e-scooters for public hire in Milton Keynes.

This marks the company’s first market in the context of the recently legalised e-scooter trials taking place across the UK.

 Initially 100 scooters have been made available for residents to use with the aim of ramping the fleet up to around 300 scooters on the streets by mid-September.

 Public education events

Spin said it is working closely with Milton Keynes Council to roll out its fleet responsibly, with public safety being the top priority. The company has held a series of public education events for Milton Keynes residents to come out and learn more about how to ride safely. Spin plans to hold several additional safety and public engagement events in the next several weeks to raise awareness and ensure full compliance with local and national rules.

To take a trip, riders download the Spin App on their smartphone, review a comprehensive set of rules and safety guidelines, and then start their trip for £0.25 per minute (with no unlock fee, which normally costs £1 per ride). The scooters can be used on the town’s redways, which provide the local community with convenient connectivity across the town.

The company also offers all riders access Spin Safe Digital, an online learning resource that teaches riders how to start and end trips properly, parking techniques to ensure walkways are free of scooter clutter, and safe riding practices during Covid-19. Riders receive a £5 discount if they take an online quiz testing them on the rules.

“We’re excited to bring the first of our UK e-scooter fleets to Milton Keynes and had a highly-encouraging response from local riders at our Spin Safe events. This is the first of many e-scooter trials across the UK as part of our firm commitment to fully integrate e-scooters into local transportation ecosystems,” said Felix Petersen, head of Europe at Spin.

“We hope to responsibly fulfil the need UK residents have for this new transport mode as an accessible, inexpensive and greener alternative to cars and public transport.”

Spin has also applied for several other tenders for the local trials in order to expand the company’s presence in the UK including west of England, Oxford, Solent and Canterbury.

Seeking to become “carbon negative” by 2025, Spin also views the Milton Keynes trial as an opportunity to implement some of its forward-thinking environmental and sustainability goals including utilising Ford’s Transit plug-in electric hybrid vehicles to collect and recharge its e-scooter fleet over using diesel vans.

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld news team | August 24, 2020

Read more…
Silver Level Contributor

The final sections are added to Manchester's 40 metre Tower of Light

The final sections of the UK city’s 40 metre high Tower of Light have been installed, which will act as a chimney for a low carbon energy centre.

Manchester’s Civic Quarter Heat Network project has reached a key milestone with the final sections of the 40 metre high Tower of Light installed.

Once the project is complete, the Tower of Light will act as the chimney for a low-carbon energy centre, which will generate heat and power for the city, helping Manchester to reach its ambition of becoming zero-carbon by 2038 at the latest.

Carbon emissions

The scheme is projected to save an initial 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions per year and Manchester City Council claims that the energy centre will become even more efficient as additional buildings are connected.

The tower, designed by award-winning architects Tonkin Liu, is made up of nine sections called “drums”, each one measuring 4 metres wide, 6 metres long and 4 metres high, plus a 1.8 metre crown section.

Work on the Civic Quarter Heat Network project is scheduled to be completed before the end of 2020. It will initially serve seven iconic city centre buildings and has the potential to grow by connecting further buildings across the city centre in the future.

The first buildings to be connected to the network will be Manchester Town Hall and Town Hall Extension, Central Library, Manchester Central Convention Centre, the Bridgewater Hall, Heron House and the Manchester Art Gallery.

“The Tower of Light is an impressive new landmark for Manchester and a symbol of Manchester’s aim of becoming a zero-carbon city by 2038 at the latest,” councillor Angeliki Stogia, Manchester City Council’s executive member for the environment, planning and transport.

She added: “On completion, the Civic Quarter Heat Network project will realise significant carbon savings, supporting the council’s current plan to halve its own emissions by 2025 – which will be an important milestone on the road to the city meeting its ambitious goal."

The council is working in partnership with Vital Energi to create the network.

Containing a 3.3MWe CHP engine and two 12MW gas boilers, the energy centre will generate electricity and harness the recovered heat from this process for distribution via a 2km district heating network, which will supply heat for the buildings.

The scheme has been part-funded by a £2.87m grant from the Government’s Heat Network Investment Project (HNIP), with Manchester City Council being one of the first local authorities to receive this funding.

“This project is much more intricate than a standard flue due to its complex geometry but will hopefully become an iconic part of Manchester’s skyline,” said Anthony Shawcross, senior construction manager for Vital Energi. “We’re delighted with how smoothly the installation went and we hope the people of Manchester will now enjoy it for many years.”

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld News Team | August 17, 2020

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Gold Level Contributor

London has made improvements to boost social distancing using temporary infrastructure

Mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London said the UK capital needs to prepare for a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Transport for London (TfL), have unveiled plans to repurpose and transform London’s streets to accommodate a possible 10-fold increase in cycling and five-fold increase in walking when lockdown restrictions are eased.

With London’s public transport capacity potentially running at a fifth of Covid-19 pre-crisis levels, millions of journeys a day will need to be made by other means. If people switch only a fraction of these journeys to cars, London risks grinding to a halt, air quality will worsen, and road danger will increase. The London Streetspace initiative aims to prevent this happening.

 Huge challenges 

Khan said the capacity of the capital’s public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges faced around social distancing.

“Everyone who can work from home must continue to do so for some time to come. The emergency measures included in our major strategic London Streetspace programme will help those who have to travel to work by fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city.”

He continued: “Many Londoners have rediscovered the joys of walking and cycling during lockdown and, by quickly and cheaply widening pavements, creating temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to through traffic we will enable millions more people to change the way they get around our city.”

Working with London’s boroughs TfL will make changes, focusing on three key areas:

  • The rapid construction of a strategic cycling network, using temporary materials, including new routes aimed at reducing crowding on London Underground and train lines, and on busy bus corridors
  • A complete transformation of local town centres to enable local journeys to be safely walked and cycled where possible. Wider footways on high streets will facilitate a local economic recovery, with people having space to queue for shops as well as enough space for others to safely walk past while socially distancing
  • Reducing traffic on residential streets, creating low-traffic neighbourhoods right across London to enable more people to walk and cycle as part of their daily routine, as has happened during lockdown.

Euston Road is one of the first main thoroughfares to benefit from temporary cycle lanes. Park Lane could follow suit under plans being studied.

Read more here

Originally published

May 7, 2020
Smart Cities World

Read more…
Gold Level Contributor
The digital twin will help to engage residents in the concept of a new energy system

The project will involve developing a demonstrator that will create a virtual 3D environment that models Orkney and the different components in its energy system from electric vehicles to generators and turbines.

The Scottish island of Orkney is using a 5G-powered digital twinning system to progress its plans towards becoming carbon-neutral.

The project is led by Heriot-Watt University’s Global Research Innovation and Discovery facility (GRID) and supported by the Scotland 5G Centre. It will involve developing a demonstrator that will create a virtual 3D environment that models Orkney and the different components in its energy system from electric vehicles and domestic batteries, to generators and turbines.

The immersive simulator system will also build a virtual dashboard, which outlines some of the energy network’s key features, and model a live 5G data connection to key assets on the island.

Foundations for 5G

The Scotland 5G Centre, which is creating the foundations for a central hub for 5G in Scotland and helping to deliver the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy, states that the use of decentralised energy networks and 5G infrastructure has largely been restricted to engineers and technology specialists because they are highly technical in nature.

The demonstrator will be used to engage members of the public on Orkney and support their understanding of what can be achieved through new energy networks and the digital control enabled by 5G.

Read more here

Originally posted by
Smart Cities World News Team, April 29, 2020
Smart Cities World

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