Manchester launches three smart city trials
Leaders said projects based on CityVerve smart city incubator
The Manchester City Council has selected three companies to carry out smart city initiative trials across the U.K. city. The new trial projects are being launched through CityVerve, which is Manchester’s smart cities demonstration platform. The participating companies responded to a market consultation process that took place in late 2017, and provided an opportunity to address current challenges within Manchester using digital solutions.
CityVerve is a consortium of 21 partners led by Manchester City Council and funded by Innovate U.K. and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The main aim of the consortium is to develop smart city initiatives using the internet of things (IoT).
Retail Sensing, a Manchester-based people-counting and data collection provider, is currently deploying people and traffic-counting sensors along the Oxford Road corridor. Through this trial, the firm will capture data on density and directional flow of traffic. Retail Sensing said that the data collected will help inform future infrastructure plans and city centre management.
Tracsis, a provider of transport survey and data-capture services is deploying people-counting sensors at the Albert Square and at four of the city’s railway stations – Oxford Road, Deansgate, Piccadilly and Victoria. The data captured will support future event-planning and enhance understanding of crowd behaviours.
“Our solution utilizes an innovative combination of Wi-Fi sensing and video analytics technologies to provide a unique view of the city’s pulse and an understanding of how citizens engage with core parts of the city centre. We can’t wait to see the results flowing out from the pilot project,” said Chris Jackson, chief operating officer for Tracsis’ traffic and data services division
The third selected firm is Apadmi – a Manchester-based mobile technology provider. Apadmi have designed a communications app for reporting environmental problems, which will be trialled by Manchester City Council employees working in the city centre. The data captured will focus on the usability of the app as a tool for communication.
“The focus for us with this project is to test how mobile can be used for communicating with citizens, helping them to engage more frequently and closely with their local council. We’re excited to understand if it works as well as we think it will,” said Marcus Hadfield, chief strategy officer at Apadmi.
“CityVerve is a fantastic platform for these companies to showcase their business, contribute to the wider CityVerve project and demonstrate how digital innovation can work for Manchester,” said Richard Elliott, Head of Policy, Partnerships and Research at Manchester City Council.
CityVerve’s partners include Manchester Science Partnerships, the University of Manchester, Cisco, BT and other tech players.
CityVerve is being built to connect data, systems and people at city scale. In the future, the smart city platform will enable entrepreneurs, start-ups, developers, large corporates and service providers to develop smart city tools and solutions on the CityVerve platform.