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Bristol plans smart city operations centre



Council and university also aim to extend Bristol is Open network into surrounding region

Efforts to push forward smart city initiatives around Bristol are gathering momentum, with plans for an operations centre to be opened next year and a geographical extension of the Bristol is Open network.

Barney Smith (pictured), chief executive of the joint venture between the city council and the University of Bristol, outlined the plans in a presentation to the Smart Cities Summit, organised by Nexus Media Communications.

He said the operations centre is being developed with the aim of going live in September of next year.

“It’s a link up of CCTV, monitoring, traffic control, telecare services and transport operator services in a single place to control the way the city works based on an open data platform,” he said.

“It can become the hub of a smart city that we can build on and use the analytics to refine and design the way services will be delivered and support citizens.”

Among the services it could be used to support are traffic control, telecare and transport operator services.

Regional network

Smith also highlighted the plan to extend Bristol is Open, which currently consists of the council’s high speed BNet fibre network, 1,500 RF mesh devices and an LTE (long term evolution) wireless network around the city centre.

In a £15 million initiative it will be pushed out into South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Bath, making it possible to test smart city technologies with 1.5 million citizens.

The network was set up as an infrastructure to test internet of things technologies, using the university’s Blue Crystal high performance computer, and can be used for potential smart city applications.

Smith added that the programme is also taking in work on testing 5G wireless crosshaul, trialling autonomous vehicles and initiatives on smart energy and smart waste.

Bristol is Open consists of three main nodes for development work: the Bristol Data Dome for creating 3D visualisations of city data; the Engine Shed for providing start-up businesses with connectivity; and the Watershed venue. In also has the Knowle West Media Centre for the use of digital technology in social inclusion.

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