UK residents ‘unaware’ of smart city developments – survey

According to the survey, 48% of UK adults felt that the smart city concept was still five or more years into the future
According to the survey, 48% of UK adults felt that the smart city concept was still five or more years into the future

A survey conducted by British telecommunications company Aquiva and YouGov, an international internet-based market research firm, revealed that 96% of Britons were unaware of any smart city plans by their local city councils.

The results of the survey showed that 48% of UK adults felt that the smart city concept was still five or more years into the future. 23% of adults also revealed that they were unclear on the primary objective and how a smart city would benefit them.

The Computer Business Review stated that smart IoT initiatives generally went unnoticed by most people residing in the UK. 29% of respondents surveyed provided a definition of a smart city, which was classified as ‘a better living environment for residents’.

Survey participants had admitted that traffic congestion and parking was a challenge that needed to be addressed.

Research showed that younger ‘millennials’ are a lot more enthusiastic about the prospect of their residential area being included in smart city initiatives.

Sean Weir, business development director of smart metering and M2M at Arqiva said: “Without the proper support these initiatives will die on their feet, so far greater communication is needed on what exactly is happening and why people should care.

“Councils desperately need to find a way to harness the enthusiasm of the tech-savvy younger generation.

“If done correctly, they create powerful advocates to spread awareness – if done wrong, and they risk their city’s economic future.”

Several UK smart city initiatives underway

In recent months, had reported on numerous smart city developments in the UK.

In May, Newcastle University had developed an energy storage test bed in a bid to strengthen the country’s position in smart energy services.

The €200m test bed project will provide a platform for energy storage developers to optimise their systems and evaluate how they perform against grid disturbances.

The development platform is linked to a microgrid allowing researchers to test software solutions for smart grids and energy storage such as super-capacitors and batteries, power convertor designs and control techniques.

Earlier this year, the city of Bristol selected US company Silver Spring Networks to deploy its standards-based IPv6 wireless network to connect smart sensors and existing assets as part of the ‘Bristol is Open’ smart city programme.

The project aims to create a ‘living innovation lab’ by leveraging data generated from Silver Spring’s IPv6 network to allow start-ups, entrepreneurs and academics to develop prototypes for new smart city applications and services.

Just recently, smart city innovator SEaB Energy won a tender to begin work on a pilot waste-to-energy project in London’s major business district Canary Wharf.

The deal is part of the Cognicity Challenge, a future city project set up by Canary Wharf Group, a British property company headquartered in the capital.

SEaB Energy won GBP50,000 during the second phase of the Cognicity Challenge for the development of a micro power plant that turns food and organic waste to heat onsite where the waste is produced.