London and Bristol lead first smart cities index


London and Bristol are leading the field in the first-ever UK Smart Cities Index.

The index, commissioned by technology firm Huawei UK, measured how well urban centres are using digital technology to improve things like transport infrastructure and refuse collection.

Bristol was named a leader in the smart cities stakes

The rankings were calculated by an analysis of 10 criteria, covering areas such as vision, objectives, implementation record, environmental impact and community reach.

London topped the table, followed by Bristol. Both were ranked as ‘leaders’ in the smart cities stakes.

Among London's successes, the report cited the congestion charge and other transport innovations and the London Datastore, the data-sharing portal.

Bristol's achievements include the ‘Bristol Is Open’ project, which has brought together the University of Bristol, the city council and industry partners to create a city-scale network for innovation.

Speaking at the launch event, Ed Vaizey, minister of state for culture and the digital economy said: ‘The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index highlights cities developing innovative digital projects and measures how well they are performing against each other. I hope it will encourage city leaders to share best practice and promote competition, because smarter use of data and technology drives growth and delivers a better quality of life.’

The index named six ‘contenders’, led by Birmingham in third place, followed by Glasgow, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Peterborough.

The report cited Birmingham's plans to make East Birmingham a testbed for smart technology; Manchester's new Internet of Things (IoT) City Demonstrator; Glasgow's range of projects developed as part of Future Cities Demonstrator programme; and Milton Keynes' MK:Smart collaboration on IoT projects with the Open University and other partners.

Making up the top ten were the ‘challengers’ – Nottingham and Sheffield

Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Consulting, who led the study, said: ‘London and Bristol stand out from the crowd for combining technical innovation with a broader strategy for city development. But there are a number of cities close behind them with strong smart city programmes.'

He added: ‘The message from our research is that more city leaders need to embed the idea of smart capabilities into their urban projects. Cities and central government also need to work together to ensure successful pilot projects are turned into scalable projects that benefit all citizens.’

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