Smart Cities

SMART CITIES HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CHANGE THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES, FROM IDENTIFYING FREE PARKING SPACES, CONTROLLING TRAFFIC AND FOOTFALL TO MONITORING AIR QUALITY.

Cities are inherently complex with widely distributed governance systems between a number of agencies and organisations.

Yet many approaches to building smart cities have been top down, centralised and hierarchical and have also failed to articulate a clear vision and business case to adopt smart city IoT technologies.

We have worked with partners to understand how IoT is implemented in real conditions, whilst assessing the benefit to the wider community. This includes working closely with initiatives like Smart Oxford, which works hard to foster and enable projects in the city.

Mobility

As the number of cars on the road increases, finding car parking becomes more difficult.

This is a costly problem: the average UK motorist spends 106 days of their life searching for on-street parking, not including the cost and environmental impact. More detailed and timely information about the availability of parking spaces would help to address this problem.

In response to this, we have built a smart car parking system using a combination of IoT technologies and Nwave’s Weightless-N car parking occupancy sensors. The smart car parking system provides a real-time picture of car park utilisation, along with historical analysis and predictions of future usage. The project demonstrates how quickly and simply sophisticated smart city applications can be built and deployed using our IoT technologies.

Environmental Monitoring

Like many cities around the world Oxford suffers from increasingly frequent and highly disruptive flooding events.

The last big event in February 2014 cut off two of the major roads into the city and caused an estimated £50 million of economic loss. The Environment Agency provides warnings generated from a few, expensive, large and well-managed sensor stations around the city. These sensors are only able to provide warnings for a general area, but flooding can vary on a street by street and even house by house level due to the large number of small waterways that flow through the city. To help cope with the impact of flooding, the community urgently needed more detailed data but without the expense of the professional sensors.

geo-visualisation

Working with the community-grown Flood Network, we built a system for monitoring and visualising the risk of flooding through the measurement of river levels in real time. The system uses a network of low-cost internetconnected sensors to generate high resolution spatial data, enabling citizens and local authorities to mitigate the impact of flooding. This data can be viewed on a clear, easy to use, and interactive map at map.flood. network.

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