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Bristol opens its infrastructure for digital research



The city council and university have launched the Bristol is Open platform for public and private sectors

Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol have formed a joint venture to make a high performance fibre optic and wireless network available for research, partly as a foundation for new digital services around the city.

The council's cabinet approved the Bristol is Open scheme earlier in the month. It will make use of part of the council's BNet high speed fibre optic network and the university's Blue Crystal High Performance Computer, which is capable of 200 trillion calculations per second.

Research organisations and technology companies will be able to use the network to experiment and develop new solutions for public and commercial services.

A spokesperson for the council said: "At the moment, the public service delivery side is quite an open concept, and it is very much in the future, but there are already ideas around about smart metering, traffic network management and high definition live streaming links between ambulances and hospitals.

"Bristol is Open is about bringing together companies and research organisations and giving them an infrastructure on which they can test things on a large scale."

Big data snapshot

The City Operating System, which was developed at the university, will host machine-to-machine communications and support the capture of a wide range of data. The council highlighted the potential to create a big data snapshot of the local environment, taking in air quality, temperature, humidity, traffic movement and traffic signal patterns.

"We want to use an internet of things platform being developed by the university to capture big data," the spokesperson said. "This is what some of our partners are really looking to get their hands on."

The council reported that work is already underway on a project to provide a sensor platform for telecare in people's homes. In addition, the Blue Crystal computer is being linked to the city planetarium when two new digital projectors will be able to beam out high definition, 3D content.

Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson said: "I firmly believe this pioneering project has the potential to contribute massively towards developing solutions to vital issues such as mobility, health and energy efficiency in the city."

Picture: Bristol City Council

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