UK city of Bristol is named the smartest of them all
The city of Bristol, in southwest England, has been named the smartest of smart cities by the GSMA at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona.
The mobile trade organisation noted its “focused, collaborative, and future-thinking approach”, as well as its robust communications infrastructure, well-established operations and control centre, and digitally-minded community services.
The judges for the Global Mobile Awards at MWC said Bristol’s ambitious smart city programme is “beginning to make a real impact on broader city policy.”
The city’s communications infrastructure combines fibre in the ground, a wireless het-net with Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G experiments in the city centre, and a radio frequency mesh network deployed on 2,000 of the city’s lampposts.
Bristol’s smart city operations centre, opened in October 2017, integrates the city council’s emergency control centre, traffic control centre and community safety (CCTV) control rooms. The centre also provides services such as telecare, alarm and security monitoring, and lone worker support, taking almost 60,000 welfare and telecare calls each month.
In an informal poll at a keynote on smart cities at MWC, an audience of telecoms professionals voted London the smartest city in the world, ahead of Barcelona, Singapore, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen.
The GSMA thinks differently, as does Navigant Research, which recognised Bristol as the leading smart city in the UK in a report in late 2017, beating London to the top spot for the first time.
Another ingredient in its perceived success has been the role of Bristol is Open, a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council, which provides an open and experimental civic data platform.
Bristol is Open appointed a new managing director, Julie Snell, late last year. Snell said: “It is not just about technology, it is as much about the management framework supporting the connectivity technologies across the multiple government departments and businesses.”
Huawei, which picked up a number of awards at MWC 2018, won for ‘best mobile innovation’ in the smart city space for its city-focused narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) solution.