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New smart city programme looks to unlock the benefits derived from the IoT

HyperCatCity, a smart city initiative backed by technology companies, private organisations and public institutions, was launched last month. The initiative looks to exploit the HyperCat standard, unveiled last year to ensure that various IoT services and systems can work together more effectively. Supported by more than 250 organisations and multiple standards boards, HyperCat is intended to reduce the costs of systems integration and make the process of procurement simpler.

The HyperCatCity initiative will enable businesses and cities to work together more effectively to deliver improved services using new applications and technologies. The project builds on an £8million investment from Innovate UK.

"Nobody wants to live in a 'smart city'," said Dan Byles MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Smart Cities Group, speaking at the launch event. "Rather, people want to live in a city where their services are being delivered efficiently, where their streets are clean, where the transport systems work effectively and the energy is sustainable.

"If we're going to fully realise the smart city vision, we need to move beyond where we are at the moment – which is a series of discrete pilot projects which are in effect proving the concept, often with their own bespoke funding arrangements – to a point where this is simply the way we do things."

Justin Anderson, CEO of Flexeye, a leading participant in the HyperCatCity programme, said HyperCat offered 'a genuinely open interoperable non proprietary system that will help to lower the costs for businesses looking to enter into the IoT market'.

Among UK cities taking part are London, Bristol and Milton Keynes. Schemes under development include: smart parking; better traffic management; and the use of sensors to monitor and better manage recycling.

HyperCatCity will focus primarily on IoT solutions for energy, water, transport, waste and security and resilience management.

"With the rapid growth in urbanisation, both here in the UK and overseas, there is great potential for UK businesses to take leadership of this fast growing market," said Lord Erroll, chairman of HyperCatCity.

According to a BIS Research Paper (published in 2013) the global market for Smart City technology could be worth in excess of $400billion by 2020 and, with its strengths in design, research, finance and engineering services, the UK is well placed to seize a significant share of this fast growing market.

Figures from the Greater London Authority suggest that with a population expected to exceed 11million by 2050, the total investment in London's infrastructure between 2016 and 2050 could top £1.3trillion. The London Datastore, an official site set up to provide free access to a number of data-sets from the Greater London Authority, has 'HyperCat enabled' its data. As a result, it is now possible for anyone to build applications using that data.

Milton Keynes is set to use the initiative to accelerate its own 'Smart City Programme', the MK: SMART project, which is intended to gather real time information from a range of sources across the city to enable more efficient use of transport, water and energy infrastructures. Speaking at the launch Geoff Snelson, head of strategy at Milton Keynes Council, said: "The objective is to better use data by employing the latest technologies to resolve the constraints to growth for the city and to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

"Working with HyperCat City, we will be able to gain access to new research and innovative funding models."

Key strategic partners in the HyperCatCity project include: Arup, BIS, Bristol is Open, BSI, Future Cities Catapult, InnovateUK, Gartner, Milton Keynes, NESTA, techUK, the University of Surrey and the UKTI.

Author
Neil Tyler

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