Scotland selects Smart Cities

Scotland selects Smart Cities

Seven cities are to enjoy the benefits of Smart City projects, as £24m is spent on making them into ‘world leading digital hubs'.

Smart Cities are the integration of data and digital technologies into a strategic approach to sustainability, citizen well-being and economic development.

It’s about using information collected from sensors to help everything from easing congestion to knowing when to empty bins on the street, to enable them to become more internationally competitive and boost economic growth.

The Smart Cities Scotland programme aims to make services across Scotland’s cities become more efficient and greener while making the cities themselves more attractive to potential investors, transforming everything from street lighting to healthcare, and from public safety to controlling energy use to make life smarter using open data.

The “Smart” ambitions of Scotland’s cities are connected to projects the cities believe will help them become some of the most desirable places to live and work and most sustainable locations in the world. Projects that have been given the green light include:

Aberdeen, Perth, Stirling and Glasgow are piloting Intelligent Street Lighting which will deliver a range of benefits, including more controllable and efficient lighting, delivering energy savings and enhanced public and road safety. This will reduce CO2 emissions by using LED bulbs and sensors to control the lights.

Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling will work collaboratively in order to deliver improved waste management services, including deployment of smart bin technology and innovative smart technology deployed in the waste management process to enhance waste and recycling collections through improved monitoring and sharing of data and information. Sensors in bins will alert waste management services to empty the bin only when full, improving efficiency

An innovation hub in Perth will develop new businesses in the digital and creative sectors linking to research and education. The Hub aims to foster new businesses and encourage entrepreneurs; but within the facility the Innovation Lab will take this further in terms of developing smart city technologies and solutions.

Cities will create data publication platforms with the introduction of data analytics which will allow cities to make evidence based decisions in order to improve services and delivery. This means more informed decisions will be made leading to efficiency

The £10 million ERDF is part of the Smart Growth element of the 2014-20 ERDF programme. The ambition is to make a step change in the use of smart technology for integrated city management across the seven cities, not just individually but collectively, so creating the 8th city.

The data gathered will be made widely available for others to use: it can be used in the development of new products and services and will create more responsive and appropriate services. To date 10 operations have been approved with £6.7m grant committed with further operations currently being considered.

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Future City Glasgow, said: “Glasgow, as lead city for this programme in Scotland, worked with our partners across the country both to submit this bid and show how the use of data can benefit us all socially and economically. Our success in pioneering smart city technologies is something we will continue to build on to deliver transformed services for residents, businesses and visitors.”

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown announced the European Regional Development Funding at the inaugural Smart Cities Scotland launch last year.

He said: “Through the Scottish Cities Alliance we are working to boost Scotland’s cities and make them smarter.

“That’s why I’m pleased to see this programme move into its delivery phase with the wide range of projects announced today set to make our cities more efficient and greener, as well as more attractive to potential investors. 

“This £24m investment will use Smart City technology to transform our cities into world-leading digital hubs which will improve services and empower residents. I look forward to seeing how it can make our cities more internationally competitive and boost economic growth.”

Councillor Ian Miller, Leader of Perth & Kinross Council, said: “Technology has an immense impact on every aspect of our lives. Smart solutions to everyday activities such as managing traffic, street lighting, and reducing and controlling waste can help target resources in ways that which will have the most benefit for services, businesses and residents.

Pooling our efforts through the Scottish Cities Alliance allows us to learn from our partner cities, and achieve economies of scale when pursuing new technologies.

“I am particularly excited about the development of an innovation hub facility within Perth, which will help develop new businesses in the digital and creative sectors, encouraging entrepreneurs, and positions the Perth City region as a destination for employers looking to develop and grow digital businesses.”