The first report of its kind on smart cities in the UK was published today by global information and communications company Huawei, and it names Bristol as one of only two British ‘Smart City Leaders’.
The Smart Cities Index names Bristol and London as the only two Leaders in smart city vision and planning, the other eight cities have been identified as Contenders, Challengers and Followers.
“Bristol is fast becoming known as a national and international digital hub and this report cements our position as leading the UK in this sector”
Bristol did well in the digital innovation category, which scores cities on how they explore and develop projects using digital services.
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What is a smart city?
Smart cities use high-speed data networks that connect urban objects like lampposts, bins, and pollution and traffic monitors to tech devices to improve cities. By analysing the data collected and using it to come up with intelligent solutions, cities can save money and become more environmentally sustainable.
Earlier this year, Bristol was named as the most productive digital tech cluster in the UK according to Tech Nation. Rick Chapman, high tech sector specialist at Invest Bristol and Bath – the inward investment agency for the region, says: “Bristol is fast becoming known as a national and international digital hub and this report cements our position as leading the UK in this sector.”
The Smart Cities Index looks at Bristol’s strengths in open data access, energy innovation and community engagement. One of the contributing initiatives is Playable City which brings together artists and designers to create playfulness that connects people to each other and the places they live and work. End products include the amazing digital urban animals, talking lampposts and shadow stealers, that have taken over the city in recent years.
“We are delighted we have been able to take this uniquely Bristolian way of thinking and share it with the world”
Another local collaborative project is Bristol Is Open, a smart city platform that makes big data open to the public. The public can enjoy immersive visualisations of this high performance data network through Bristol’s Data Dome.
The success of both projects reflects the city’s innovation. As Claire Reddington, creative director at Watershed – Bristol’s cultural and digital creativity centre, explains: “We are delighted we have been able to take this uniquely Bristolian way of thinking and share it with the world.”
You can learn more about Bristol Is Open by watching this video:
Bristol came out on top in four categories, above Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Peterborough, Nottingham and Sheffield. Gordon Luo, CEO, Huawei UK, said: “Bristol is a city that is driving the UK’s digital agenda, highlighted by its pioneering smart cities innovations.”
You can see more on the report by following the #UKSmartCities on Twitter and see the full infographic below that shows how different smart cities compare in the UK: