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Cardiff Council lays smart city plans


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Cardiff City Council has drawn up a Smart City Roadmap to go out for public consultation early in the new year.

The move was approved by the council’s cabinet yesterday, with plans that include a strong emphasis on data, connectivity and public health.

The roadmap has been drawn up to provide direction to the council’s smart city initiatives and describes itself as a “statement of aspirations” to align with various strategies, including on digital, transport and the local economy.

It points to opportunities for exploiting technology, notably in improving transport and the local energy infrastructure, and towards using the internet of things to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency and air quality.

The council has identified five prime missions, the first being to enable innovators to submit ideas on smart applications that could improve the city, using hackathons, workshops and focus groups. This combines with working with universities and businesses under the ‘collaborative city’ agenda.

Secondly comes the aim to become a data driven city, using analytics, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve decision making.

Next is the ‘connected city’, under which the council plans to work collaboratively with telecoms, the Welsh Government and other partners to improve the fibre infrastructure and support the roll out of 5G.

Fourth is the aim of becoming a mobile and sustainable city, with plans to reduce congesting and lower emissions through the use of smart technology in ‘living labs’ on part of Cardiff’s transport network.

Finally, the council is aiming to promote public health through a digital health board, and to use health and social care data more effectively. This includes an emphasis on joining up the services that contribute to care through improving the interoperability of digital systems.

Using tech intelligently

Councillor Chris Weaver, Cardiff’s cabinet member for finance, modernisation and performance, said: “The council is already utilising smart technology. For example, we use energy data obtained from smart meters to help us use energy more efficiently across our buildings, sensors monitor air quality in the city and our LED lighting systems are saving money and reducing faults.

“But as technology develops and increasing amounts of data is gathered, we want to ensure we use it intelligently, and to its full potential.”

He added: “Following work to address any issues around public trust and the rights of data holders, the council also intends to publish licensed open datasets that can be accessed by businesses, entrepreneurial start-ups and academics so that they can develop new products and services.

“We also want to investigate how technology can help people to live independently for as long as possible using new and established technology such as wearables, machine learning, virtual assistants and sensors.

“We think smart technology offers real opportunities in the area of health, care and wellbeing. Establishing a digital health board with partners and using health and social care data more effectively to improve outcomes for citizens will play a key part in helping us understand just what might be achievable.”

The document says it will reviewed every three years and the council will provide regular updates on progress on its website.

Image by Ben Salter, CC BY 2.0

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