• Bristol City at night

There’s never been a better time to build the smart cities of the future.

In today’s world cities are living organisms. They have a force that flows through them breathing life into the infrastructure. They appear in constant motion with a buzz and hum of endless activity. But if you could look closer, some of the hum would formalise. You’d start seeing patterns and behaviours that appear predictable and routine.

The challenge is making sense of how all these interconnected patterns and systems can be used to create a better city. A city further in tune with itself, smart city.

This week saw the release of the Smart Cities Index. The report, commission by Huwaei, assesses the strategy and execution of the UK’s leading smart cities.

Currently in the UK, a number of cities have become significant supporters of smart city concepts, while many more are now developing their own smart city plans. The aim of the Smart Cities Index was to highlight and recognise the cities across the UK who are making huge progress in their strategy and development of their smart city programmes.

It comes as no surprise that London tops the chart. Second on this list may surprise you, but should it?

Bristol’s Tech Hub is Booming

It’s not all about cider and Georgian architecture in the South West, as Bristol has become hugely influential in the technological community in the UK.

Recognised by management consulting firm McKinsey & Co as a ‘globally significant’ city, Bristol has flourished as a hub for tech start-ups and as an employment destination for people in the IT sector. It comes as no surprise that this influx of technologically minded folk has led to a development such as Bristol is Open.

Bristol is Open is a R&D digital test bed that is being used to develop and test the programmable city of the future. Using miles of fibre in the ground, 5G connectivity and IoT devices (such as smart lamppost sensors), Bristol is looking at using data to help meet the challenges it faces.

As a fast growing city there are questions around how to keep the traffic moving around the city at all times, how to monitor and improve air quality, how to care for a growing population and public city. Bristol is Open will be part of the solution to these growing challenges.

The Bristol Network

This is an exciting time for technological development across Bristol and at Net Support UK we’re part of this.

In Bristol there are 76km of ducts running under and around the City. The ducts, which were used to deliver the community TV station Bristol Channel between 1973 and 1975, were bought by the city council 15 years ago with the aim of providing internet access to the council and schools. They have now been refurbished and used to connect key locations in the city centre to a fibre broadband network.

Net Support UK are part of a joint venture, dubbed The Bristol Network, to manage and maintain this network. The project will increase the availability of high-speed broadband that will benefit small and start-up businesses across the City. The Bristol Network will additionally benefit people in Bristol by generating revenue for Bristol Council and which in turn will deliver better council services across the city.

The Bristol Network adds another technological front to other developments happening in Bristol and in many other smart cities across the UK that are pushing us all towards the cities of the future.

We are living in an increasingly interconnected world, where data is becoming the currency for improvements. This technological frontier will push us on, making the benefits of smart city technology apparent to a greater number of people.

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