BT to build on MK data hub for Manchester

CityVerve initiative will involve new iteration of data platform used for Milton Keynes smart city programme

A data hub similar to that used in Milton Keynes is to provide one of the central infrastructure features of the Manchester CityVerve project.

Manchester_University_arialBT, which developed the hub, has said the project will give it a chance to develop the capabilities of the hub, which will provide a data platform for the management of transport and travel in Manchester.

CityVerve is a two-year smart cities project involving the city’s council, local enterprise partnership and private sector partners including BT and Cisco International, aimed at developing the use of internet of things (IoT) technology in transport, healthcare, energy and environment, and culture and community.

It is backed by the £10 million prize from a competition staged last year by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and will focus on an area between the city centre and Manchester Science Park.

Hub role

John Davies, chief researcher of future business technology at BT, said: “One of BT’s roles in the project is to provide a data platform for the travel and transport theme.

“This will gather together a range of relevant transport data and expose it in a uniform way, thereby facilitating the development of applications using multiple data sources and thus lowering the barrier to participation in the IoT ecosystem.

“The platform will be based on the same technology as the MK:Smart data hub, but the project gives us the opportunity to further enhance our capability.”

Deployment of the hub is scheduled for around October, and it will be developed over the duration of the project, with the first prototypes expected to become available in summer 2017.

The MK Data Hub has been used in Milton Keynes’ MK:Smart project – one of the more ambitious smart city initiatives in the UK – to bring together data from a range of sensors around the city. It has enabled developers to use the data in a number of smart applications, and government and research bodies to compile reports on the management of resources.

BT has built a set of service level agreements for the hub, along with privacy rules and mechanisms to ensure that only authorised devices can be connected.

It has been part of an initiative that last year won plaudits in the Frost & Sullivan international Real-Time Cities Survey for building the technical interoperability needed for smart cities.

Davies added: “The data you need to make smart cities comes from a range of stakeholders. Our hub lets everyone trade their information securely and monetise it.

“Our aim is to create something that is scalable and replicable elsewhere.”

Image from Ordnance Survey