Government, cities, businesses and universities are joining forces to make sure the UK is leading the global race to develop smarter cities. A new forum led by government, will see local authorities and businesses working together to make sure that growth opportunities are not missed in a market estimated to be worth more than $400 billion globally by 2020.
There is a growing recognition among city leaders in the developed economies that smarter approaches are needed to discuss the challenges which face society, to improve the efficiency of public service delivery, the sustainability of the urban environment, and the quality of life in our cities.
Smart Cities are places where information technology is combined with infrastructure, architecture, everyday objects and even our bodies to discuss social, economic and environmental problems. Smart Cities strive to optimise resources, from energy to water but they also strive for participation, democracy and novel social interactions. They need to be secure but not at the risk of becoming surveillance chambers. They need to be efficient but preserve opportunities for spontaneity, serendipity and sociability. There are trade offs between these goals.
To exploit advances in technology, Smart Cities need to be built on trusted foundations, not foundations that lock a city and its citizens into the agenda of a large technology corporation. These foundations should be built from interoperable building blocks delivered by innovative companies working together, utilising secure and interoperable ‘Internet of Things’ technologies, ensuring competitively delivered innovative services for citizens.
The HyperCat Consortium is looking to bring together such organisations, including leading universities, innovative companies and public sector bodies, to encourage them to collaborate around key Smart City challenges.#HyperCatCity will focus on creating thematic solutions in the areas of
- Smart Energy – Energy systems around the world are seeing increased demand as populations rise and energy consumption per capita increases.Energy systems (from generation to transmission to distribution) in developed economies are facing increasing maintenance and upgrade costs to keep up with demand and ageing infrastructure, whilst those in developing countries are racing to keep up with exploding energy demand. These factors drive the need to improve energy management in order to build up energy efficiency and resilience.
- Smart Water – The demand for fresh water and the cost of treating water is increasing, whilst reducing supply of water means most cities are now facing huge challenges in managing and delivering safe supplies of water. The United Nations predicts that global water demand will rise by 40% between now and 2020 and that this will be 50% higher in developing countries. In the UK, utility companies are experiencing losses of up to 27% of treated water due to the poor condition of the water network. Smart water management solutions are a means by which water companies use technology to optimise performance, minimise disruption, manage disaster resilience and conserve water.
- Smart Transport – Increasing urbanisation means cities are facing more congestion and associated carbon emissions and pollution, whilst still needing to provide good quality of life. In particular, congestion costs the UK economy £15.3 billion a year in lost production. The growing demand for smart transport solutions to address congestion from city authorities and commuters means that the global ‘Smart Transport’ market, including digital and physical infrastructures, and associated design and advisory services, is expected to be worth over £60 billion by 2018.
- Smart Waste – The global waste management industry has annual turnover of £170 billion and around 40 million workers. It is estimated that 60% of all waste generated in Greater London is currently exported for treatment or disposal outside of the area. The smart waste management is a nascent market and includes reducing the costs of waste collection, waste recycling and converting waste to energy. Its true economic value and wider environmental benefits require further research in order to be fully determined. Waste is a by-product of economic activity and the smart management of waste will have economic implications. However, waste has never seen the same level of research, innovation, product development or investment as the water or energy sector.
- Smart Security & Resilience – Public safety and security is becoming increasingly challenging as more of us choose to live in cities. Natural disasters, bio hazards , international terrorism, state-sponsored cyber security, and crime against citizens all present serious threats to a city. Resilience at a city and infrastructure level and the ability to protect both citizens and organisations from threats and disruption of services, are both fundamental to any Smart City project. More than a quarter of cyber targeted attacks are aimed at governments and energy/utilities companies, while governments and healthcare institutions are the target of a quarter of all identity breaches.
- Smart Public Services – City governments must provide citizens with a high quality of life, making their city an attractive destination for jobs. The quality of city services plays an important role in making the city a desirable place to live. Pubic services need to become smarter, more innovative, more efficient and available to all. Citizens need more information and support from the city government which must be available to the young, old, poor, rich and these need to be effective.
Smart public services consist of security management, video surveillance, weather intelligent systems, street lighting and accurate data.These areas are anticipated to provide substantial value to cities. The solutions have the potential to scale globally to address similar issues in all urban environments.
What is a Future City?
Cities and their citizens generate a huge amount of data which can be used in smart ways to achieve great things. Stepping boldly into the future, Glasgow joins a network of Future Cities around the world unlocking the potential of open data.
A city is nothing without its people and People Make Glasgow. So where better to explore how we can fuse Open Data and technology to make a real difference to the lives of citizens.
We have been exploring how we can use technology to make our streets safer, making it easier for people get active and improve their health and understanding how we can better use, save and generate energy. Glasgow has unlocked hundreds of data sources and opened up access to allow smart people to do smart things.