BT plays crucial role in Manchester’s two-year smart city programme
Talking bus stops and a crowd-sourced bike sharing scheme are just two of the exciting new Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives BT is currently working on in the City of Manchester.
The company is a member of a consortium which won a government-led £10 million competition to develop and roll-out ‘smart city’ services in Manchester over the next two years. Other partners in the project - known as CityVerve - include Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and Cisco.
BT is already recognised as an IoT pioneer thanks to its groundbreaking smart city development work in Milton Keynes, MK:Smart.
The award-winning MK Data Hub created by BT uses sensors to collect and curate large-scale city data on things such as energy, transport and water usage. This vast bank of data makes it possible for providers to implement radical new solutions for managing demand and creates opportunities for new, innovative services.
The company will be building a new data hub for Manchester, building on the learnings from the MK: Smart project.
Speaking ahead of the final day of the Euro Science Open Forum (ESOF) in Manchester, Dr Tim Whitley, BT’s managing director of Research and Innovation, said: “Along with improved health services, more effective transport systems and services are a priority for the project.To encourage more cycling, for example, we’ll look to introduce an Internet of Things enabled bike sharing service which will be funded through crowd-sourcing.
“Smart City Manchester is set to be an excellent illustration of how technology can be used to underpin social change and make a better world. The citizens of Manchester can look forward to a healthier, greener, more efficiently run city.”
Other ideas for new innovative services for Manchester’s residents include more talkative bus stops.
CityVerve will convert ‘flag and pole’ bus stops into safe places with location-based services, sensors and beacons, mobile apps and intelligent digital signage. People will check-in to their bus stop and let bus operators know they are waiting for their service.
Smart air-quality monitoring through street furniture and a connectivity infrastructure incorporating lamp posts and street cabinets will be used to gauge the city’s air quality at different heights and locations.
Critically, the CityVerve project will also look at ways to address the growth of traffic pollution and congestion by making alternative forms of transport more attractive and safer.
BT is a principal partner of ESOF which is running in Manchester from 23rd to 27th July.