Home Editorial Edinburgh aims to become a smart city

Edinburgh aims to become a smart city

by Geny Caloisi

A new City Operations Centre has been opened by City of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy Day. The new centre will use high-tech tools to help keep the city safe and moving, establishing Edinburgh as a leader in smart security and surveillance in the UK.

As part of a £2.6 million contract with IT service and solution provider North, the project is being delivered in partnership with the Council and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City’, which will contribute £712k in grant funding.

A new smart Operations Center will replace an outdated control centre that was no longer functional and receive real-time CCTV data 24/7. As a result, traffic flow, transport infrastructure, and city planning will be improved, reducing the city’s collective carbon footprint.

The Council and its partners will be able to respond to emergencies and manage large-scale events such as Hogmanay and the August Festivals thanks to advanced analytics and the availability of real-time data.

Council Leader Cammy Day says, “This new operations centre has been years in the making, and it’s fantastic to see it live in action. With cutting-edge low-carbon technology designed to keep the city moving and our communities safe, it drastically steps up our capabilities as a Council.

“We’ve completely overhauled our technology within the control centre and across the city – replacing outdated analogue cameras with intelligent internet-enabled devices. This means we can analyse events and traffic in real-time. Particularly as our city grows, our investment will support the safety of the public and wider community, deterring and preventing anti-social behaviour and crime like we sadly experienced recently on Bonfire Night and Remembrance Sunday.

“Edinburgh is fast becoming an example of a truly smart city, and its thanks to trailblazing projects like this. We’re also rolling out waste and housing sensors and innovative digital learning opportunities in schools, while exploring an urban management system which is a tool for monitoring traffic flow. The whole operation is much more sustainable and data-driven, which, crucially, will lead to more efficient Council services for the people of Edinburgh.”

Scott McEwan, the acting CEO at North, said: “Helping to drive positive change through smart technology and improved operational systems across Edinburgh is something that North is incredibly proud of. Working together, the city now has access to real-time data that will influence the future of city planning, improve large-scale events and create a greener environment for generations to come.”

The City of Edinburgh Council is making transformational steps to becoming a Smart City, and its forward-thinking approach to adopting IoT solutions will help accelerate their ambition to reach such status. We are really excited for the local authority to see the seismic impact introducing smart technologies has on the quality of the environment, and importantly, on the health and wellbeing of people who live in and visit Edinburgh.”

A new CCTV system captures data throughout the city, significantly expanding security coverage. As a result, the city’s digital Video Surveillance System (VSS) was upgraded, video analysis functions were enhanced, and data protection was bolstered, and analogue cameras were replaced with high-resolution Internet Protocol (IP) cameras.

North also contributed to several community benefits to help deliver social value within local neighbourhoods. Recruitment included an Edinburgh-based modern apprentice and an apprentice to assist with the roll-out of the CCTV network and curriculum support activities for local schools.

In Scotland, seven cities are collaborating to become world-leading Smart Cities. The Scottish Cities Alliance, a partnership of Scotland’s seven local authorities and the Scottish Government, is investing £45 million in the ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City’ Programme, including £18 million of ERDF funding and £27 million of cities match funding.

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