A smarter city called Bristol

Giant mirror ball

The city of Bristol has announced a multi-million pound experiment to create the smart city of the future.

As soon as I heard this, I was worried. As there is something about Bristol which I hadn’t really got till I left. Bristol is a city where things are done differently. Where art and business are in conflict with each other and that conflict drives the continuing disruption and creativity.

I needed not worry…

Bristol is Open, the project will effectively turn Bristol into a giant laboratory and look at how big data can be used to solve problems such as airpollution, traffic congestion and assisted living for the elderly. The network could also be used to collect and understand data from the city’s trial of self-driving cars. Bristol is one of four UK cities currently testing driverless car technology as part of a government scheme.

Sensors and other internet of things devices will be hooked up to the network to collect huge amounts of data from the city. In one example it would be possible to use tracking technology to collect location data from vehicles used by the health, education and city transport sectors to try and solve the city’s traffic congestion problems.

I only recently learned Bristol was the 2nd most congested city in the UK and hated by many of car drivers. Hopefully the artistic, creative and playful nature of the city will persist throughout.

Bristol's Park Street water-slide

Got to love Bristol

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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