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Minister calls for ‘single UK smart city offer’



Greg Hands outlines three priorities for developing national smart places capability

Government and industry need to work together more closely on the development of smart places expertise, Minister for International Trade Greg Hands has declared.

Speaking at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smart Cities this week, he outlined three priorities to push forward the UK’s contribution to the development of urban areas support by internet of things (IoT) technology and real time data.

One is to step up the degree of cooperation between government and the relevant industries.

“I would like to see our urban planners working with our security, transport and e-health specialist companies, so we can present a single UK smart city offer to the world,” he said.

“This requires a step up in the cooperation between government industry, a step we should look to take. For if we are to lead the world in smart cities, our approach has to be smart.”

Hands also emphasised the importance of building up domestic capability in the field, pointing to a £100 million investment over the past five years in projects run by Innovate UK and £32 million on IoT initiatives, such as the creation of the CityVerve network in Manchester.

While this did not include any indication of new funding, he referred to the importance of open data in supporting the efforts.

Overseas opportunities

Hands also said the UK should be alive to opportunities overseas, claiming that this is being supported by the standards for smart cities and the IoT set by the British Standards Institute.

“The possibilities are endless,” he said. “These exportable capabilities can make the transport infrastructure of world cities more efficient, their healthcare providers more dedicated, and their emergency systems more responsive.

“The Department for International Trade’s smart cities team will support UK companies in taking advantage of these overseas opportunities, as well as attracting inward investment for UK smart city projects.”

He wrapped up with a claim that the UK can become a “global hub” of the relevant technology.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0


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