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Greenwich forms smart city team with Surrey University


Council and university enter partnership to develop new technologies for healthier neighbourhoods

The Royal Borough of Greenwich and the University of Surrey have set up a partnership to develop smart city technologies, with an emphasis on resource-efficient and healthy neighbourhoods.

The council’s Digital Greenwich team will be able to tap into the university’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) to build test beds and run trials for smart city solutions, and in return will host an incubator space for innovators and entrepreneurs out to link transport, mobility, logistics, energy, healthcare and education.

The university said the 5G standardised approach will provide opportunities to scale solutions up to city and national level.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of 5GIC and the Institute of Communication Systems, said: “Working with Digital Greenwich will enable the 5GIC to develop solutions targeted at multiple use cases in a city context. The partnership will also provide the foundation to drive standardised solutions for all of the UK to benefit from the technology.”

The partnership has also won the public blessing of Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock, who said it will reinforce the UK’s role as a world leader in developing 5G technology.

The university has 170 researchers working in the 5GIC, and claims that it provides one of the world’s best testbeds for trialling ideas around 5G technology, covering 4sq km with indoor and outdoor environments. While 5G is some years away from taking over from 4G as the basis for mobile communications, it has been identified as a crucial element in the development of smart places solutions.

The centre is funded by a £12 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council

Greenwich is shaping up to be one of the pioneer local authorities in developing smart places solutions. Last year it published a strategy document for its approach, and earlier this year it announced plans for trials of driverless vehicle around the Greenwich Peninsula.

Image: Greenwich street by Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


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