Get REAL: Framework launched to place people at the heart of smart city transition

As digitalisation streamlines the way that humans interact with the cities that they live in, a new framework has been launched to ensure that local authorities and policy makers place people at the heart of the smart city transition.

Smart Energy GB, which runs the national advertising campaign for the smart meter roll-out, unveiled the REAL Ratio on Tuesday (14 February). Acting as a framework, the Ratio identifies areas that authorities should seek to improve and embed when delivering smart and connected projects.

The REAL Ratio covers resilience, efficiency, affordability and liveability as key metrics to consider when developing automated projects, ensuring that innovations are relevant to the lives of local residents.

Smart Energy GB’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said: “For our cities to be truly smart, systems need to be designed around the way people live their lives, not what policymakers want to impose. REAL can be applied to ensure smart infrastructure is designed in a way that is relevant to people’s lives.

“The digital revolution taking place in energy shows that when smart infrastructure is developed in a way that does respond to every day needs you can build a platform for meaningful engagement and behaviour change.”

Smart city initiatives are emerging across the globe, and UK is one nation in the vanguard of the transition. Smart Energy GB revealed that a surge in urban expansion, economic growth and the integration of new technology will lead to UK cities embracing renewable energy sources as part of a transition to smart cities.

Smart Energy GB has been at the heart of what it claims is the “most significant infrastructure project of this generation”, as more than 53 million smart meters are installed across the UK. For Smart Energy GB, this roll-out will act as a vital component of smart city projects.

As well as real-time data readings, smart cities will also foster the Internet of Things (IoT) in the future. Mobile operator Vodafone has formed a partnership with Philips Lighting to combine an IoT network with an integrated LED street light management system.

IoT for Greener Cities challenge

The role of IoT in future cities was explored last week. The Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, a community of more than 800 enterprising under-40s, issued a challenge to develop new IoT-enabled technologies that can reduce emissions and improve air quality in cities.

The “IoT for Greener Cities” challenge calls on start-ups and small teams to introduce new ideas and concepts for a chance to win €10,000 worth of prizes and six months of technical support. The competition covers three categories: smart household solutions, smart solutions for energy-efficient buildings and sustainable mobility in urban transport.

The competition will be supported by ENGIE, the Centre for Carbon Measurement of the UK National Physical Laboratory, Climate-KIC, and Energy Ville – a European Research centre focusing on energy-efficient buildings. Online registration closes on March 22 when 15 finalists will be announced in the following weeks.

Matt Mace

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