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Are these the 3 biggest smart city opportunities? The UK thinks so

Submitted by jesse_berst on July 1, 2013

It's hard to visit a major city these days without bumping into a contest or a hackathon or a competition or some similar way to encourage smart city breakthroughs. But this latest example from the UK bears a quick look. Especially for vendors and entrepreneurs, since it aims itself at three areas where market solutions are badly needed, as revealed by work in 29 UK cities. -- Jesse Berst

There's a lot to like about the UK's approach to smart cities. Working under the banner of the Technology Strategy Board (a Council Advisor), it began in 2012 by funding feasibility studies in 29 UK cities. The goal - and this is one of the things we like the most - was to show the value of integrating city systems. As we are all discovering, most cities are still "stovepiped' with little or no connection between departments. A city isn't truly smart until that integration has taken place.

Working with the results, the Technology Strategy Board has identified three common challenges that do not yet have a viable solution on the market. Now they are initiating a competition with a total purse of 5 million pounds to uncover answers. To the organizer's credit, entrants must use non-proprietary data formats and APIs (application programming interfaces). To win, they must demonstrate the potential for wide-scale commercial deployment. As we said, there's a lot to like.

The three areas:

  1. A platform to identify community energy patterns down to the building level, with the ability to predict future demand
  2. A data management platform to connect a city's many disparate data sets, including innovative ways to analyze and display that data
  3. A real-time route planner for commuters, delivery vans, tourists, etc.


Jesse Berst is the Founding Chairman of Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.