Smart technology has been one of the biggest catalysts for change in cities across the world and Manchester is leading the way as it embraces and develops it. In 2017, Manchester was chosen by the government out of 30 other cities for a £10 billion investment in smart technology. The CityVerve project is led by Manchester Council, Cisco, and Manchester Science Partnerships and is set to transform the way Mancunians interact with their city and environment. It has set out with the ambitious aim of building a smarter Manchester which uses technology to meet the complex needs of its people.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a buzzword in the smart technology world, and this catch all term refers to the network of vehicles, devices, appliances and other objects which can connect to the internet.
The Internet of Things brings huge potential for city leaders, who can use these devices to improve connections, gain information and design a city network that works for everyone. Simon Navin, an advocate of smart cities and programme manager of Smart Cities Practice at Ordnance Survey said: “SmartCities are very much in their infancy and we’re currently in an interesting and exciting time of experimentation.
“We now have the ability to process big data quickly for valuable insight and location data and intelligence has never been more comprehensive, enabling new wave of technology that has the potential to help us ‘be smarter’ in the way we live, work and play in our urban environments. Ultimately, a city that wants to be Smart must have a clear vision of what it wants to achieve and an appreciation of the challenges it faces now and will face in the future.”
There are a number of examples of ways that a city can become smarter, which are being demonstrated in Manchester as part of its Smart City programme. A constant stream of data about heating, ventilation, and cooling systems in the centre allow the project to monitor how the city uses energy and develop energy saving strategies.
Keeping the city clean is another area that has been given a fresh approach through smart technology. Multiple sensor-driven data feeds, recording things like occupancy, customer feedback, bin levels, and proof of cleaner attendance, are being used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of cleaning services in Manchester. CityVerve aim to reduce wasted time for cleaners by making them avoid cleaning areas that haven’t been dirtied and helping them to react in a timely manner to cleaning issues as they occur. They have also developed a Personal Wellness Platform to tackle social isolation felt by old people, by introducing them to getting out into their environment through things like connected parks. A social platform for people visiting the Oxford Road corridor will enable local content discovery, increasing peoples’ engagement with their city.
New developments are also embracing smart technology and property companies like RW Invest are finding innovative ways to incorporate it into their high-end, luxury developments. Newer developments like Hollywood Manchester have integrated smart features throughout the design process in order to create more energy efficient and sustainable homes for the future. Solar panels, underfloor heating and heat recovery ventilation systems are all key features of the development.
Manchester’s population is growing faster than ever before, totally transforming the city and the way it works. City planners and smart technology firms are working together to find new ways to keep Manchester connected for the future and demonstrate what smart technology can do for a city. From healthcare to transport to efficiency savings, smart technology can be integrated in almost every aspect of a city and how it functions.