Mel PoluckEditorFriday 8 September 2017

Bradford to become testbed for internet of things technologies

Yorkshire council partners with eight European cities to develop and test smart city technologies to reduce council costs by 10%

Bradford town hall

Bradford Council is participating in a project to develop and trial internet of things (IoT) products and services, that aims to save itself 10% costs at councils in eight partner cities across Europe.

The five-year project, funded through the European Regional Development Fund, will find new ways to improve public service efficiency through IoT technology, by taking ideas, testing them in ‘living labs’ then linking the final product to city systems.

It aims to generating 10% cost savings for Bradford and partnering councils as well as a 20% improvement in service quality. 

The Smart Cities and Open Data Re-use (SCORE) is a collaboration with Aarhus, Amsterdam, Aberdeen, Bergen, Dordrecht, Ghent, Gothenberg and Hamburg. If successful, the technologies will be rolled out in partner cities with predicted savings of €50 million.

Project leaders will acknowledge that there will be lessons to be learned from councils and other organisations that may have already rolled out smart city technology.

“One of the tasks we are involved in is to facilitate knowledge sharing among city partners,” says Dr Dhaval Thakkar of University of Bradford, a project partner. “The nine city partners are likely to have different IT infrastructure and level of preparedness for developing smart city solutions and generating open data. We aim to conduct workshops and prepare a working document that summarises the best practices across different city partners, including our research into best practices elsewhere.” 

SCORE will initially focus on 12 services or “shared challenges,” within the areas of environment, water, parking and sustainable mobility. Full details of the challenges are yet to be confirmed. However one initiative already earmarked under the scheme is the development of smart sensors for dustbins that can collect and transmit data about when they need to be emptied, saving wasted bin lorry journeys. 

University of Bradford with the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands and Aarhus University in Denmark will then test out ideas and services in its ‘living lab’. 

“It is about providing a reliable and realistic-scale testing environment for IoT solutions developed by municipalities, universities and in many cases individual developers and companies,” says Thakkar. “The lab can be in the form of a simulated environment at academic institutions or a realistic environment in urban areas.” 

 

Image: Baljinder Gill CC by 2.0 via Flickr