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In brief ... 20 March 2015



Defence Academy wireless network goes live

The Ministry of Defence has taken up a new wireless area network for its Defence Academy in Wiltshire.

It was installed by IT managed services provider Redcentric in partnership with Serco, and comprises 500 wireless access points and 25km of optical fibre across the Academy site. Redcentric said the project was carried out within a 12 week timeframe and came in 7% under budget.

Andy Mills, sales director at Redcentric, said: "This was no ordinary enterprise wireless installation, with unique challenges to manage such as the size, scope and special nature of the physical environment, the timings and considerations of having to work around a live body of staff and students and the precise requirements of the MOD. The Defence Academy now has a start-of-the-art infrastructure that will underpin innovative learning strategies now and well into the future."

The Defence Academy trains personnel from the British Armed Forces, MoD and other national and international government departments. It spreads the learning across its 250 acre site of 170 buildings.

Innovate UK opens Urban Innovation Centre

Innovate UK, previously the Technology Strategy Board, has set up an Urban Innovation Centre in Clerkenwell, London, to support businesses working on technology for future cities.

The initiative is led by Future Cities Catapult, one of the groups working within Innovate UK, and will focus on developing solutions in digital technology, along with infrastructure, design, engineering and architecture. Among the early projects under its umbrella is Sensing London, aimed at creating a new infrastructure of sensors for cities.

In addition, Ordnance Survey is to locate its Geospatial Innovation Hub within the centre.

Innovate UK's Catapult centres are hubs for businesses and academics to work together and bring their research to market.

Essex Fire Service gets new aerial dataset

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has started to use an aerial dataset of its area from Bluesky to run basic inspections of sites and premises. The dataset provides aerial photography of more than 3,500 sq km dating from 2014 and replaces a set that was nearly 10 years old.

"Aerial photography allows all of our staff to view specific sites and premises without leaving their stations or desks," said Tracy King, GIS officer for the service "Although the aerial photography cannot completely replace the need for site visits, it is a great place to start and is already delivering savings and working efficiencies. The images also provide a totally different perspective and view of a site that traditional mapping simply doesn't offer."

The dataset has been made available to more than 1,600 staff with access to the geographical information system, including frontline crews and control and support officers.

Hackney Learning Trust invests in continuity

Hackney Learning Trust has upgraded its business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities with an infrastructure investment to match its expanding use of VMware technologies.

It includes the Zerto Virtual Replication platform, which reduces the need for ongoing configuration maintenance and provides a non-disruptive process to test any data centre events. It makes it possible to run disaster recovery testing with one click, a series of reminders and validation reports.

Meridian IT supported the trust in implementing the infrastructure, which links two data centres; a production site and a disaster recovery site with a 100Mb link between them.

Wyre Forest uses GGP GIS with 'one stop' phone

Wyre Forest District Council has set up a new 'one stop shop' phone number underpinned by a GGP geographical information system. It is aimed at improving access to information to help resolve requests from the public on issues such as bin collections, grass cutting and fly tipping.

Staff in operational services have been populating the system with asset and service based information on grounds maintenance, waste management and street furniture locations.

The council's business support officer Sarah Lucas said: "By using GGP as the prime database for queries, changes, reports and outputs to other systems, we have been able to maximise on existing resources. This means we can explore other projects and technologies including route optimisation and in-cab technology."

Yotta launches new Mayrise module

Infrastructure software provider Yotta has released a new software module for local authorities to record and maintain records on a range of assets including park benches, rubbish bins, cycle racks and road signs.

Named the Mayrise Asset Management Module, it can be used with existing Mayrise service management software, and makes it possible for records to be geographically referenced for use in desktop mapping or other spatially enabled software.

It has been implemented at a number of customer sites for trialling, with further releases scheduled for later in the year. These will include the ability to schedule routine maintenance and inspection rounds, along with mobile functionality.

Image: Open Government Licence


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