Crown Commercial Service

Making cities smarter through connectivity

It’s likely you’ve heard of them, and that you have a sense that they are coming: Smart Cities, but what are they, and how will they affect you?

There are a number of smart city initiatives across the UK such as Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol (the latter of which even edged out London for the top spot in the UK Smart Cities Index from Huawai).

These cities are also supplemented by national projects such as real time air pollution monitoring and the consultation currently being run to publish open data for bus transportation.

The UK government in its smart cities background paper argues that “There is no absolute definition of a smart city, no end point but rather a process or series of steps by which cities become more “liveable” and resilient and, hence, able to respond to new challenges”.

This shows that, rather than waking up one day in smart cities, there will be a slow growth in the intelligence of our cites, a gradual seeping of ‘smartness’ into the darkened cracks of public information.

And operating behind all these initiatives silently, and unseen is the ubiquitous network. Just as buses ferry passengers around smart cities, the network is moving data from where it’s gathered to where it becomes useful. The network in the 21st Century isn’t simply one thing, but a collection of different technologies and protocols able to adapt to a specific requirement.  For example a bus will report its location via a LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) but the bus stop that passengers use to view that information can be connected via an underground cable.

With this tidal wave of data cresting in the near future it’s important to understand that building network infrastructure today, means building that infrastructure for tomorrow. Which is where our Network Services framework comes in. One of the cornerstones of the design of the framework was to make it technology agnostic. Which means rather than specifying something like “4G Data connection” we asked suppliers to be capable of delivering “data to a mobile device”, which allows suppliers the freedom to offer cutting edge solutions to solve their customers data needs, allowing public sector organisations to offer network backbones suitable, not just for today’s cities, but for the cities of tomorrow (I tried really hard to avoid that phrase, but you knew it was coming sooner or later, right?).

So if you are looking to refresh your city’s infrastructure, maybe you have a public wifi plan or pollution monitoring solution to connect, then please get in touch with our team. Our network experts will be able to help you take your requirement to our pre-selected suppliers, cutting down on procurement time and giving you access to the right technology solutions and experience required to deliver 21st century (and beyond) connectivity.