Alongside London and Milton Keynes, Bristol will be taking part in #HyperCatCity, an initiative to create a new Internet of Things standard, to allow different people, cities and councils to share data from smart devices and allow them to link to existing information networks as easily as possible.
The venture comes as the latest step in a campaign backed by £8m of funding from Innovate UK, the Government’s innovation agency.
As part of the Bristol Is Open event, data concerning aspects of the city such as energy consumption, traffic and air quality will be collected and distributed. Meanwhile, a ‘city operating system’ will host machine-to-machine communication, trialling a city-wide Internet of Things (IoT) network.
HyperCat is an emerging standard for IoT interoperability. In the same way HTML provided a standard language for web pages, HyperCat is intended to facilitate communication between smart devices of all kinds, from street lamps to bins and traffic lights.
“This new technology promises to liberate the amount of data gathered by IoT and Big Data platforms”
Led by smart-system builder Flexeye, The HyperCat Consortium comprises over 50 organisations, from BAE Systems to Verisign. Their ultimate aim is to provide a standardised protocol, which will encourage large private sector companies to collaborate with universities, SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) and government organisations. In a global race to implement IoT technologies, HyperCat want to consolidate the UK’s pole position.
Huge growth in internet of things
The internet economy will account for 12.4% of Britain’s GDP in 2016, according to one study by the Economist Intelligence unit (see image below). Highlighting the significance of HyperCat to the UK economy, an All Party Parliamentary Group was established in December 2014, aiming to: “take the lead in seizing a substantial share of the international ‘smart cities’ market“.
Sounds good, what’s it all for?
Sharing data collected on widely used systems will lead to efficient and practical solutions to everyday problems. For instance, BT have been working alongside Milton Keynes Council to deliver HyperCat-enabled technologies, such as smart waste disposal that alerts trucks to bins which are full.
A joint venture between Bristol Council and The University of Bristol, the ‘Open City‘ initiative will incorporate HyperCat-enabled smart meters and air quality monitoring.
“Bristol Is Open is at [the IoT’s] inception, and the number of projects and partners is developing all the time”
Paul Wilson, managing director of Bristol Is Open said: “Bristol Is Open will go live in April 2015. It is Europe’s first city-scale R&D test bed for Smart City technologies.
“Two types of organisation are getting involved – technical and societal. Telecom and technology companies are engaging with the Software Defined Network (SDN), developed by the University, which is at the heart of the testbed. This new technology will transform the way telecoms companies operate their networks and promises to liberate the amount of data gathered by IoT and Big Data platforms.
“The second is societal projects supported by the council,” said Wilson, “which will make use of the new technical infrastructure to address the challenges of the modern urban environment.
“Societal projects being developed include mobility, such as driverless cars; energy, with a city-scale renewable energy company; and social care, including assisted living for the elderly and isolated. Bristol Is Open is at its inception, and the number of projects and partners is developing all the time.”
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but watching 1248’s Pilgrim Beart explain how it all works on YouTube probably won’t do you any harm. To keep up to date with the project, follow the #HyperCatCity hashtag on Twitter.