Nokia joins the UK’s programmable city initiative in Bristol

Nokia has joined the UK’s Bristol Is Open initiative, becoming the first major telecoms vendor to participate in Bristol’s living laboratory and underlining its commitment to smart city solutions, an increasingly important part of our connected world.

Bristol Is Open (BIO) encompasses the entire city, effectively transforming it into a dynamic test bed to explore how integrated technology solutions can benefit its 450,000 citizens – from helping to solve problems such as traffic congestion, air pollution and assisted living for the elderly, to trials of self-driving cars.

BIO is a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council and is funded by local and national government and the European Union, along with academic research funding and financial backing from the private sector.

Nokia was invited to join the project because of its track record in developing solutions for smart, sustainable cities, and its history of collaborative research, including the Nokia-founded IoT Community for cross-industries collaboration.

13632096843_803c2cd268_oExperts from across the company – including Nokia Bell Labs, who already have a strong relationship with Bristol University, particularly in the area of photonics – will provide consulting services to Bristol Is Open, while Nokia’s IP networking division will provide network and infrastructure support. In addition, Nokia’s application ecosystem program ngConnect will bring an extensive range of additional applications, ideas and companies into the BIO development program.

Small sensors, including willing citizens’ smartphones and, in the future, GPS devices, will supply information about many aspects of city life, including energy, air quality and traffic flows to the three new fast networks in the center of the city. The high-powered operating system developed by Bristol University will dynamically host this machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, allowing the development of a wide range of applications that are linked to the various sensors and actuators deployed across the city.

The BIO initiative was spurred by the continual need for sustainable growth, taking into account an increased awareness of pollution and the City Council’s desire to offer an improved range of services to its citizens. The initiative promotes smart city growth within the UK and across Europe as governments seek to meet environmental targets.

Using agile infrastructure, through which it is possible to test applications and demonstrate their sustainability, Nokia plans to use this exciting opportunity to test a range of applications from Nokia Bell Labs’ innovations in video, to environmental impact studies, healthcare, and public safety. The first Nokia project in BIO will focus on video analytics on the city-wide CCTV system of more than 1,700 cameras.

Barry French, Nokia’s chief marketing officer, Nokia
Barry French, Nokia’s chief marketing officer, Nokia

Barry French, Nokia’s chief marketing officer, said: “There is a great deal of talk around smart cities, but there are not many places where talk has led to action. This innovative programme will show what can be achieved by bringing together experts from various technology areas to deliver integrated solutions that actually improve people’s lives, a fundamental principle driving our everyday work.”

Barney Smith, CEO of BIO, said “We are delighted that Nokia has accepted our invitation to join Bristol Is Open. Building on the excellent relationship we already have with Nokia Bell Labs, the skills and experience that Nokia has will enable us to take BIO to the next stage of its development: solving real-world problems for citizens and creating opportunities for all. Nokia brings a unique set of capabilities for smart city solutions that, through our open programmable city, are replicable and applicable in other cities.”

Cormac Whelan, head of UK and Ireland at Nokia said, “This demonstrates the applicability of Nokia’s technology to the emerging smart cities market, which is part of the continuing focus of our dedicated teams in Government, Enterprise and Public Sector.”

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