London’s no longer the UK’s top smart city as Bristol overtakes

 
Lynsey Barber
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Bristol's efforts have seen it overtake the capital (Source: Getty)

Bristol has overtaken London as the UK’s leading smart city a new index reveals.

The south west city leapfrogged the capital when it comes to how it approaches digital innovation and its vision for a connected city.

Under the so-called smart cities label comes tech such as driverless cars, 5G connectivity and "big data" - that is, using the growing number of connected devices to gather new insights. It also takes into account areas such as healthcare, energy and infrastructure.

Read more: Google's building its own smart city in Toronto. Why not London next?

London’s efforts to tackle environmental problems and data driven policy initiatives drew praise and the appointment of a chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell, is expected to accelerate things in the coming months noted the research from Huawei.

Last week the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced a fresh venture with the Alan Turing Institute to help better measure the quality of London's air. it follows a £1.6m incubator announced this summer to help tech startups tackle climate change.

But Bristol was found to have taken “significant strides” in putting innovation into its city strategy, making progress in it's "Bristol Is Open" initiative, with the launch of a dedicated smart city operations centre and connectivity testbeds.

And Manchester was found to have made the biggest progress, according to Huawei’s second annual Smart Cities Index with Navigant Consulting, which ranked more than 20 locations across the country.

“The successful cities of the future are going to be smart cities. It’s clear from this report that cities across the UK have made considerable progress over the last year, developing and implementing strategies to improve the delivery of public services and the urban environment," said Sir Andrew Cahn, a member of Huawei's UK board and the former head of the government's UK Trade and Investment.

Read more: The mayor wants to make London the best smart city in the world

Google's parent company Alphabet last week announced major plans to create its own smart city lab in Toronto, Canada, where it will tackle problems relating to transport, energy use and housing costs.

Digital minister Matt Hancock said: “The digital revolution is gaining momentum all over the UK - smarter cities can improve people's everyday lives from accessing healthcare to simplifying waste management and streamlining public services.

"We are backing smart cities and the recent review into Artificial Intelligence highlighted how we can establish ourselves as the world leader in this area of emerging technology."

Rank

City

Category

1

Bristol

Leader

2

London

Leader

3

Manchester

Contender

4

Birmingham

Contender

5

Leeds

Contender

6

Milton Keynes

Contender

7

Glasgow

Contender

8

Nottingham

Contender

9

Peterborough

Contender

10

Cambridge

Contender

11

Oxford

Contender

12

Aberdeen

Contender

13

Edinburgh

Contender

14

Newcastle

Contender

15

Belfast

Challenger

16

Sheffield

Challenger

17

Reading

Challenger

18

Liverpool

Challenger

19

Cardiff

Follower

20

Exeter

Follower

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