With a city centre population expected to grow by 125,000 in the next few years alone, how do European cities like Manchester keep up technologically? For this UK city, the answer lies in smart city solutions. Out of 30 cities across the country, Manchester was chosen for a £10 million government grant for smart city technology investment with 21 organisations working together with Manchester council. Thanks to the CityVerve project, the 24-acre Oxford Road Corridor—Manchester's innovation district—will act as a testing ground for new technology benefitting areas like travel, transportation, and health and social care. Here’s how this project will immediately impact Manchester’s residents by making services more efficient and combining current technology with the IoT.— Philippe Leonard
Working together with partners like Cisco and MSP, CityVerve will develop 16 different projects in Manchester, with hopes of the city acting as a “benchmark for smart cities across the world—the place people come to when they want to know what good looks like,” explains Nick Chrissos, head of innovation technology for Cisco UKI. Using IoT technology, the project will test various services along the Oxford Road Corridor, which is home to a science park, hospital, universities, an art gallery and shops.
“The IoT can help to create deeper and more multi-functional connections between services in a way that enables Manchester to become smarter, function more efficiently, and provide an enhanced citizen and visitor experience,” Chrissos explains.
The first step: use data collected from the heating, cooling and ventilations systems in the city centre to lower energy usage and maintenance costs. The same process was then applied to water use in 10 buildings, creating a real-time monitoring system to keep water quality in check. Here are a few of the other projects underway:
-Bike Sharing: Crowd-sourced and maintained IoT-enabled bikes will make for a more secure bike sharing system, which will include “e-cargo” bikes making deliveries along the bus- and bike-only Corridor through-route.
-Air Quality Monitoring: Smart street furniture like lamp posts will monitor air quality at different heights and locations, passing this information on to those with health conditions and offering alternative walking routes.
-Interactive Bus Stops: Bus stops will feature location-based services, intelligent digital signage and sensors, so commuters can check in from the stop and inform drivers they are waiting.
-Smart Lighting: Street lighting will assist with making streets safer for both pedestrians and cars, offering alternative solutions to reduce car usage on the road.
With Manchester serving as a living lab, CityVerve can test out these projects and replicate successful solutions in other cities.