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Newcastle tables smart city proposal


City council cabinet asked to approve plan for tech partner to support development of solutions with sensors and data

Newcastle City Council is laying plans for a major smart city programme to begin with the search for a technology partner.

Its cabinet is due to discuss a proposal on 16 July, endorsing the ‘tech partner’ approach and the plans to harness a range of new technologies to deal with issues such as parking problems, traffic congestion, air quality and improving its services with the use of sensors and data.

The decision to publicise the move indicates that the proposal is likely to be accepted.

The document submitted to members says that a formal consultation to find a partner would begin in the autumn and enable the development of a commissioning model to provide the financial resources and technology expertise.

While it is not precise about technology deployments, it points to a number of existing small scale pilots in the use of smart bins and housing, and says the infrastructure is in place to provide greater opportunities.

It says the tech partner would work with staff to develop achievable business cases for investment and provide the financial capability to deploy the technology.

Facing forward

Councillor Joyce McCarty, deputy leader of Newcastle City Council said: “Newcastle is a city that faces forward, embracing change. For us, technology is all about possibilities. Our plans will pave the way for Newcastle to be a pioneering city and accelerate our digital revolution.

“We have strong foundations in place – with our national reputation as the leading destination for the digital sector, the partnership with Cisco to have the UK’s smartest street, as well as developing talent within this field with our outstanding educational and research facilities.

“But I believe there is more we can do to go further, faster and more dynamically which is why I am seeking a technological partnership with an organisation to help us put these ambitions into actions.”

The document also emphasises the potential to draw more start-ups and create business opportunities in the city.

Last month a ‘smart street’ installed by Cisco Networks went live in the city centre as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. It involves the installation of sensors and taking in live and historic data from several sources, including Newcastle University’s Urban Observatory.

In May, the city council’s director of place Tom Warburton told UKAuthority that it has strong local resources, including a fibre broadband infrastructure and organisations collecting data, on which to draw in a smart city programme.

Image by Neitram, CC BY-SA 3.0

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