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17 February 2020

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The single most important thing to enable your Smart City

Everywhere you look you see connected devices whether it be smart phones, Amazon Alexa’s, CCTV cameras, traffic lights, the list is endless. But, what is the one thing that brings these devices together?

In this article we explore the single most important thing to connect your enable city.

The single most important thing to enable your smart city presentation

The digital world is igniting


Did you know?

  • Back in 2008 the number of devices connected to the internet exceeded 7 billion, that’s the same number of human beings on the planet
  • As of 2020, a total of 50 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet. That is the same number of chickens the entire worldwide population eat in one year!
  • Thanks to new wireless technologies and other IoT-related advancements the number of connected devices in 2030 will balloon to 500 billion devices, which represents a 900% increase in just 10 years! This is equivalent to 10 times the number of photographs that have ever been shared on Instagram to date. Just think of all those selfies and pizza pictures!

This digital revolution is happening now whether you like it or not, you can either embrace it or be scared by it. There are many examples of smart technology that are being implemented today, such as;

  • Technology within your home, such as heating systems
  • Climate monitoring, such as monitoring air pollution
  • Mobile devices, such as smart phones
  • Smart traffic controls
  • CCTV and security
  • Our energy and utility services
  • Smart vehicles and machinery

But without a secure, scalable, reliable network in place these solutions simply aren’t possible. This is the single most important thing to enable your smart environment.

It seems obvious, but you wouldn’t build a house before the foundations have been laid, so don’t start to consider your IoT solutions before you have considered your network capability.

Smart networks build smart citiesBut what is a network? 

smart cities, network infrastructure

There are many definitions of what a network is, but a good way to describe it is by thinking of it as a brain. 

The brain is just like a network – a series of interconnecting links that enable the rest of your body. Like a brain, your network needs to be; 

  • Secure – keeping your brain protected, the network must also be protected from any malicious threats 
  • Reliable – keeping your brain healthy, the network needs to ensure it is stable, always available and fully functional 
  • Scalable –  just like a brain develops and grows with you a network needs to be capable of growing and connecting to more and more devices.  

A digital utopia – what can be possible? 

a day in the life of jane

Here we introduce you to Jane and take you through a day in the life in her utopian smart city, where we see a seamless integration of people, places and things.  
Jane lives in her connected apartment, within her connected town. Jane is connected to her home Wi-Fi wherever she goes within the town and therefore can access her home and get the same speeds and performance as if she was still in her home.

  • Jane walks down to her local coffee shop where she can still access her own network and rather than relying on a public, potentially unsecure network.
  • Jane then walks to the bus stop which automatically tells her if she walks 5mins down the road to the next bus stop her journey will be much quicker. This project is actually already live today. It is the NHS who fund this, and the reason they do is to reduce obesity rates and increase health and wellbeing, saving on people having to access the NHS service.
  • On Jane’s bus journey the traffic flow is very heavy in certain area, the bus driver knows this and can avoid certain parts of his route, being more efficient and reducing carbon foot print.
  • Jane gets the bus to the park; Jane knows that this park has high air quality as she can see the air pollution rates across her city on her city app.
  • On her way home, it starts to get dark and Jane feels scared. Jane can make an alert on her city app and because it knows her location, the street lighting lights up around her to make her feel safe.
  • Now Jane feels safe, her attention turns to getting home. Jane wants to turn her heating on to make sure it’s warm; she can control things in her apartment without having to use mobile data.

All this is possible with a secure, reliable and scalable network in place and this is happening today in cities all around the UK.  

Where are these Smart Cities and why are they different? 

Case Study: Thameswey – Harrington Place project 

harrington place

Who are Thameswey?

ThamesWey is an independent limited company in Woking Borough Council. It was set up in 1999 to deliver on the council’s strategic objectives which, at the time, were mainly focused on tackling climate change through carbon reduction. Those environmental priorities have since evolved into the Woking 2050 strategy which places sustainability at the heart of broader efforts to meet the demands of development and the local economy. 

This means that ThamesWey can deliver on sustainability commitments in ways that purely commercial companies can’t, while having the freedom to compete in open markets. The result is high quality projects that fund further sustainability work and provide a source of revenue for Woking Borough Council that helps keep important services running. 

The goal

ThamesWey Group has begun the construction of 148 new homes in Woking. The development Harrington Place will not only provide a modern place to live but also be filled with the very latest technology. ThamesWey group has an ambition to provide a fast, secure, reliable and managed Broadband and Wi-Fi solution to its customers. 

Success Criteria

The UK Connect brief was clear and simple. The broadband and Wi-Fi solution should feel like a home Wi-Fi service. It must offer high availably and resilience. The homeowner Wi-Fi should be very easy to use and supported. Customer experience is at the heart of this project and this should remain at the forefront of the solution and considered at every step. 

ThamesWey recognised to have a smart environment they must have a good network in place. 

What makes these networks different? 

UK Connect work with a variety of trusted suppliers and master system integrators in order to deliver new networking solutions. These networks are fully redundant, always available and most importantly, secure.  

The smart city has its own wireless network that scales to cover the whole environment; however, users are able to access their own private and secure ‘bubble’ of this network using their own individual password thanks to technology such as Ruckus’s dynamic pre-shared key (DPSK). This means that no matter where you move in the smart environment your wireless network moves with you. 

This network bubble is always secure and always receiving the same speeds and service as if the user was in their home. They are also able to interact with other smart technologies, such as bus stops, street lighting and more, just like Jane. 

An open invitation 

Interested to find out more? UK Connect would like to extend an invite for you to come and view Harrington Place and understand the technology that has been put in place to make smart living possible.  

Register your interest here. 


UK Connect is committed to being at the forefront of technology. If you would like to find out more please call 0333 900 9860 or get in contact here. 

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