Tuesday 31 January 2017 1:45 pm Scottish Development International

Look smart: essential facts about Smart Cities UK

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The UK cities will have to adopt a transformational approach to many aspects of infrastructure to attract investment and operate more efficiently, a London conference has heard.

Held at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium, the Smart Cities UK 2017 Conference, Expo and Awards is part of a global initiative for major conurbations to achieve Smart City status.

We spoke with Jonathan Brown, Programme Manager at Smart Cities (pictured below) who said that cities will ‘lead the way’ in addressing best practice examples on smart transformation. And, in the interests of being smart, the scheme will provide guidance and information within the technology, waste, energy, transport, security and sectors.

Smart City technology to boost economic growth

From London to as far north as Aberdeen, Jonathan says the initiative will include many cities from across the UK – all of which will have a focus on transforming themselves during 2017 and beyond.

The Scottish Cities Alliance, a collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities aims to use Smart City technology to transform the cities into digital hubs so they can become more internationally-competitive and boost economic growth.

Thanks to £10 million in European Regional Development Funding, due to be matched with £14 million from the cities, this programme aims to transform everything from street lighting to public safety to controlling energy use to make life smarter using open data.

To date, Jonathan reveals that 10 operations have been approved, with a £7.9 million grant committed, while further operations are currently being considered.

This ground-breaking Smart Cities programme will make services across UK cities more efficient and greener, while making the locations themselves more investor friendly.

Most desirable and sustainable places to live and work

The initiative’s 'Smart' ambitions are connected to projects that will help them become some of the most desirable places to live and work and the most sustainable locations in the world. According to Jonathan, projects that have been given the green light include:

Smart infrastructure – intelligent street lighting

Aberdeen, Perth, Stirling and Glasgow are piloting Intelligent Street Lighting which will deliver many benefits, including more controllable and efficient lighting to save energy and deliver enhanced public and road safety. This is intended to reduce CO2 emissions by using LED bulbs and sensors to control the lights.

Smart Services – waste

Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling will work together to deliver improved waste management services. This will include smart bin technology and innovative smart technology to improve waste and recycling collections through better monitoring and sharing of data and information. Sensors in bins will alert waste management services to empty the bin only when full, improving efficiency

Smart infrastructure – innovation labs

According to Jonathan, Perth will have an innovation hub to develop new businesses in the digital and creative sectors, linking to research and education. The hub aims to foster new businesses and encourage entrepreneurs and an Innovation Lab will develop smart city technologies and solutions.

Open data operations

Cities will create data publication platforms with the introduction of data analytics, allowing them to make evidence-based decisions to improve services and delivery. The result? More informed decisions leading to efficiency, says Jonathan.

The data gathered will be made widely available for others to use to develop new products and services, making them more responsive and appropriate.

Transforming cities to give them the edge to attract more investment

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, councillor Andrew Burns, said: “We are delighted to announce the projects that will transform cities into Smart Cities, giving them the edge to attract more investment.

“By working together, cities are using economies of scale to learn individually and share that knowledge collectively, to be at the cutting edge of Smart City technology and the benefits that brings.

“By working together the alliance partners share knowledge, creating projects of scale that will deliver an economically stronger future."

Jonathan Brown, Programme Manager, Smart Cities, Scottish Cities Alliance