London and Bristol named UK’s leading smart cities

A new report has hailed the smart city progress made in London and Bristol, with urban innovations such as the London Datastore and the “Bristol Is Open” project making them the two smartest cities in the UK.

The UK Smart Cities Index ranks 10 cities across the country based on how well they are using digital technology to improve local services and amenities ranging from transport infrastructure to refuse collection.

Commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting, the study assesses each city’s strategy and execution when it comes to smart city projects.

London and Bristol are ranked as “leaders” at the top of the table, followed by the “contenders” with Birmingham in third place, and then Glasgow, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Leeds and Peterborough. Bringing up the rear and named as “challengers” are Nottingham and Sheffield.

The report highlights a wide range of smart city initiatives, including Birmingham’s plans to make East Birmingham a testbed for smart technology; Manchester’s new Internet of Things 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.

Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Consulting, who led the study, commented:

“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.

“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.”

Speaking at the launch of the report, Ed Vaizey MP, 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 Government strongly supports the Smart Cities sector, through the Future Cities Catapult and the Internet of Things City Demonstrator programme, and we welcome this report.”

Looking to the future, the report stressed the need for future demonstration projects to have a strong emphasis on both measurable outcomes and sound business cases, as well as encouraging wider collaboration and knowledge sharing between UK cities.

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