18 February 2020
On Thursday 13th February, UK Connect attended the Smart Cities UK International Conference to discuss and understand the current challenges faced by City Councils when implementing digital transformation programs and new smart technologies in their Cities.
Smart Cities UK is a new national engagement programme, which has has established itself as a Forum for learning amongst UK Cities and Towns whom seek to gain understanding on how to meet economic and social challenges. Established in 2015, the Conference has engaged with over one thousand regional leads, sharing guidance, expertise, information, knowledge and resources.
The event was attended by many city councils, public service leaders and technology companies all looking to share and learn about today’s current challenges and solutions available.
UK Connect attended with Managing Director, PJ Farr as a guest speaker, presenting ‘the single most important thing to enable your smart city’.
During some of the breakout sessions, it became clear that councils face many issues when looking to drive digital transformation in their cities. From funding, to education and another issue which came up many times – siloed working.
We heard from Leeds City Council about some of the projects they have in place to assist with health, housing standards, travel and how they are addressing the climate emergency. We also heard from Barnsley Council about how they are working towards a new ‘smart Barnsley’, including the creation of innovation labs, treating data as an asset and the re-use of data across different departments in a bid to remove the issues faced by siloed working.
A really interesting approach to digital transformation is currently on-going in Scotland. The ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City’ ERDF Strategic Intervention is an ambitious programme of collaborative innovation across Scotland’s cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth, and Stirling.
By working together, the seven cities have bought into a vision to make cities more attractive, liveable and resilient through sharing data and digital technology.
UK Connect presented on the importance of a secure, reliable and scalable network infrastructure in order to support smart technologies as it evolves. We spoke about a current case study where we have recently implemented smart technology into a new development in Woking – The Harrington Place Project. We extended the offer for others to come and view the project and get an overview of the technology in place to make this possible. You can register your interest here.
Overall, the day highlighted the key issues being faced and served as an open forum for City Councils and technology companies to come together and share knowledge, strategic thinking and collaborate for the future of smart cities all over the UK.
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