A Smart new approach

Glasgow's City Deal uplift is expected to be long-term, creating around 29,000 permanent jobs and attracting an additional £.3.3bn of private sector investment

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By Clare Ross

Scotland is continuing an impressive legacy of embracing innovative technology, as the Scottish Cities Alliance leads the transformation

Scotland is a small country that has for centuries driven innovation across the globe through ground breaking technological advances. After all it was Scots who invented the television, the telephone and penicillin to name just a few things. So it should come as no surprise that Scotland is embracing Smart Cities technology with a world-leading program running across all seven of the country’s cities aiming to make them more efficient and greener.

Smart Cities around the world aim to create streamlined infrastructure, aid urban planning and improve the wellbeing of the population by using data and integrating technological systems to make them work for and talk to each other. This will improve the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in the city.

The Scottish Cities Alliance, which is the collaboration of Scotland’s seven cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling – and the Scottish Government, launched its Smart Cities Scotland brand recently, aiming to use Smart City technology to transform the cities into world-leading digital hubs that will ensure that they remain internationally competitive and continue to boost economic growth.

With an integrated program of Smart City projects the Alliance’s seven cities aim to make services become more efficient and greener while making the cities themselves more attractive to potential investors and armed with £10 million in European funding, this program aims to transform everything from street lighting to healthcare and from public safety to controlling energy use to make life smarter using open data.

The “smart” ambitions of Scotland’s cities are connected to projects the cities believe will help them become some of the most desirable places to live and work and most sustainable locations in the world. The work of Smart Cities Scotland will build on Glasgow City Council’s £24 million Future City Glasgow project which developed and showcased how UK cities can grow their local economy and improve the lives of citizens by making the most of new technologies and by integrating and connecting city systems.

Scotland’s Smart Cities will use the learning and experience and build on the work of Glasgow’s award-winning Future City Glasgow program, which created a new world-leading Data Hub catapulting the city to the forefront of Smart Cities technology. Packed with more than 400 data sets, the hub paints a living and breathing picture of life in the city. It gives citizens, businesses, communities and decision-makers free access to the latest information on everything from pass rates at different driving test centres, to the location of bike racks and footfall in retail areas.

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Future City Glasgow, said: “Glasgow is proud to have led the way in the Smart Cities agenda in Scotland and is delighted to share the considerable expertise gained during our Future City Glasgow program with the other Scottish Cities.

“We’ve been making huge strides in Glasgow with projects like our worldleading open data hub and the creation of an integrated operations centre.

“Our projects are true game-changers offering huge potential for the city of Glasgow, its citizens, the other six cities in the Smart Cities Scotland program, academics and businesses. Clever use of technology and data can unlock immense opportunities, not only to enhance quality of life in the seven Scottish cities but also to attract high calibre companies looking to recruit skilled staff and invest in the cities.”

Emerging projects for the Smart Cities Scotland program include those which will offer the best opportunities for collaboration between partners in the public and private sector, such as:

❚❚ Intelligent street lighting: reducing CO2 emissions by using LED bulbs and sensors to control them. It is anticipated the lights will also be able to charge everything from mobile phones to computers, via solar panel networks. Such lighting can also contain sensors for monitoring air quality and pollution.

❚❚ Digital health: easing strain on the health service by holding initial consultations via computer.

❚❚ Transport management: by analysing data collected using sensors, congestion can be reduced and, even eliminated, in some cases, as traffic flows are monitored and alternative routes provided.

❚❚ Wi-Fi: having Wi-Fi readily available across cities will provide the invisible foundation of core infrastructure for them to be Smart Cities.

❚❚ Data: Through collection and use of data, hubs can address immediate questions from citizens such as “how should I travel to work today?”

❚❚ Mobility: New ways of organising transport in a city, for instance looking at ‘the last mile’ as used in supply chain management and transportation planning to describe the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to a final destination in the home; Mobility as a Service including electric vehicles, transport fleet optimization and car sharing schemes.

❚❚ Energy: promotion of retro-fitting of domestic and council buildings to reduce energy consumption.

❚❚ Public safety: the use of operations centres to monitor large scale events and co-ordinate safety responses when required. The Alliance also recently joined the exclusive Open and Agile Smart Cities network enabling Scotland’s cities to play a key role at an early stage in shaping the adoption of common standards and principles for global smart city development and link in with the Future Cities Catapult in London.

The Alliance is one of only two city networks participating as one coherent identity which reflects the international interest in our innovative national collaborative approach.

Chair of the Scottish Cities Alliance, Councillor Andrew Burns, said: “The Scottish Cities Alliance has huge ambitions for the Smart Cities Scotland program.

“Cities which adopt a Smart City approach make services more effective and the cities themselves more attractive to investors. By working together Scotland’s cities are utilizing economies of scale to learn individually and share that knowledge collectively, to be at the cutting edge of Smart City technology and the benefits that brings.

“The Scottish Cities Alliance has an ambition to be a collaboration of worldleading cities in smart technology by 2020. By working together, the Alliance partners are able to share knowledge and create projects of scale that will deliver an economically stronger future for Scotland.”

Visit scottishcities.org/prospectus For more information on Smart Cities Scotland, contact Lucille Brown, National Future Cities Development Manager on +44 141 222 9737 or lucille.brown@scottishcities.org.uk


Digital world will transform our future

DIGITAL technologies are transforming our lives, the way in which we live, work and interact with each other, writes Keith Brown MSP. As a nation we require to build a strong digital economy, future-proofed infrastructure, high quality digital public services and a society whose citizens are equipped with the confidence and skills to enable them to participate in and benefit from this digital revolution.

Keith Brown
Keith Brown

Smart cities use data and technology to improve services, promote innovation and empower citizens.

We want Scotland’s cities to develop the cutting-edge technological infrastructure needed to compete internationally with cities like Amsterdam and Barcelona who are leading the way.

In October last year I was delighted to announce that £10 million European Regional Development Fund money had been awarded to the smart cities and through the Scottish Cities Alliance, our seven cities are developing a coherent program of smart city projects to maximise the impact of that investment. Scottish cities have risen to the challenge.

Our core purpose is to deliver inclusive growth with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish. This means being smart about how we use data and technology to drive improvements in services, innovation and empowerment of communities.

The proposed program develops smart solutions across a variety of services from energy efficiency to public safety and the lessons learned will potentially be of benefit not just to cities but to communities across Scotland.

Since 2011 we have been working in partnership with Scotland’s seven cities through the Scottish Cities Alliance to attract investment.

Through this work, we have so far seen a £4 million investment securing £40 million in return.

The Alliance has also developed a cities investment prospectus promoting £10 billion worth of opportunities across our cities, these opportunities are now being taken to market national and internationally. Through the Alliance, our cities and the Scottish Government are working together like never before and Scotland is stronger because of it.

Scotland’s cities play a fundamental role in our economy and in delivering this digital revolution. The Scottish Government is committed to working individually and collectively with our cities to optimise growth for the benefit of the whole of Scotland.”

Keith Brown is Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities