A £24m government grant has been awarded to Glasgow which is intended to make it one of the UK”s first smart cities. The money will be used to demonstrate how a city of the future might be able to work providing, for example, new real-time information about traffic movement and new apps that will be able to show commuters whether their trains or buses are running on time.
The grant is being offered by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), a body that was set up by the Government in 2007 to encourage technology-enabled innovation. The prize, which is known as the Future Cities Demonstrator, will act as a blueprint for other cities across the UK. All data collected in the project will be available so that other cities can see it.
The money is intended to to be used on a broad range of projects to show how a city of the future could work.
Data is seen as crucial to making cities smarter and a number of leading technology companies such as Cisco, IBM and Siemens are rolling out new services that will benefit the management of traffic, local government services and light management.
Among the other new services being promised from the local council are ones to link up the CCTV cameras across the city with its traffic management unit so that traffic incidents can be identified faster. Analytical software and security cameras will also be used to help identify crime ‘black-spots’ in the city as well as to monitor energy levels to find new ways of providing gas and electricity to poorer areas. Fuel poverty in Glasgow is a big issue.
Birmingham, Sunderland and London are also beginning to roll out technologies to make services work more smartly.
Speaking to the BBC Scott Cain, the project leader at TSB for the Future Cities project, said that Glasgow had to contend with some extreme challenges, “It has the lowest life expectancy of any city in the UK for instance – and the hope is that if we bring together energy, transport, public safety and health it will make it more efficient and a better place to live.”
Glasgow was among 30 cities in the UK bidding for the money, with the shortlist including London, Peterborough and Bristol.