Birmingham is one of Britain’s top 10 smartest cities in the second UK Smart Cities Index, commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting.
The report is based on evaluations of 20 cities and their strategies, key projects and overall readiness in using digital technology to improve crucial civic services from transport infrastructure to healthcare.
Birmingham is ranked as the 4th smartest city in the UK, and is one of 12 “contender” cities, which also include: Manchester, Aberdeen, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Nottingham, Peterborough, Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh and Newcastle. The overall leader in the report is Bristol, followed by London.
As the second largest city in the UK, Birmingham’s smart city strategy has its roots in the work of Birmingham Smart City Commission, created by the Birmingham City Council in 2012 and involving business, academia and the public sector. Key initiatives include the Birmingham Data Factory, a platform for accessing the city’s open datasets, and Smart Routing, a trial software platform built into Birmingham’s existing Commuter App that uses real-time transportation data and personal data to support more efficient transportation planning.
Birmingham is also one of the cities involved in the EU Horizon2020 project, City4Age. The programme looks at the use of digital technology to improve the support for the elderly population within urban communities.
The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index rankings were calculated by an in-depth analysis of ten criteria within the cities’ strategy and execution, covering areas such as their vision, digital innovation, implementation record, environmental impact and community reach.
Sir Andrew Cahn, Huawei UK Board, said: “The successful cities of the future are going to be smart cities. It’s clear from this report that cities across the UK have made considerable progress over the last year, developing and implementing strategies to improve the delivery of public services and the urban environment. The scale of progress throughout the country is represented by a doubling in the number of cities included in this year’s ranking index compared to 2016. While Bristol and London are named as “leaders”, other cities have entered the index with exciting smart initiatives, such as Newcastle’s City Futures programme and Cambridge’s Smart Cambridge intelligent City Platform (iCP).”
Councillor Tristan Chatfield, Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness & Equality at Birmingham, said: “We are delighted to see Birmingham feature as one of the top 20 smart cities in the UK. We’ve focused on embedding digital perspectives in city operations and are proud of our investments in new infrastructure and citizen services. Looking forward, we’ll be developing an innovation ecosystem, including representatives from local universities, major suppliers, SMEs and other agencies to foster further innovation across our city. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners across the West Midlands to ensure our city is fit for the future.”
Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Consulting, who led the study, said: “UK cities are demonstrating an impressive commitment to service and technology innovation. They are now embedding smart city ideas into city planning and operations. They are also preparing for the impact of the next wave of technologies, including 5G, autonomous vehicles, and machine learning. The growing contribution that local universities are making to these programmes further emphasises the importance of advanced technologies to the future of UK cities.”
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