Shipshape and Open Bristol fashion

Martyn Warwick
By Martyn Warwick

Dec 3, 2018

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Julie Snell, CEO, Bristol is Open

Bristol is Open (BIO) is the UK's leading Smart City and began as a joint venture between the City Council and Bristol University as a communications technology research and test initiative. So successful and innovative has it been that the project is now moving into the pilot phases of some of its many projects. The vision behind BIO is that of developing an open programmable city and in addition to the collaboration between the council the university, other partners include technology, media and telecoms industries, local communities and local and national government. Bristol is Open is funded by local, national and European governments along with academic research funding and contributions from the private sector.

Julie Snell says, "The project facilitates a variety of different initiatives, operating via the deployment of small sensors to create a multi-faceted wireless network stretching across the city. The purpose of these is to supply information about many aspects of city life, including energy, air quality and traffic flows”. She is a pragmatic realist and admits, “Ultimately, you have to run things in terms of identifying the business value, which is exactly how I now approach Bristol is Open. It’s not enough to have the technology, nor is it just a matter of connectivity, you have to ask how it’s going to make a difference to people’s lives.”

BIO has had a head start over other smart city initiatives because the city actually owns all its own ducting. The city council bought the infrastructure when the TV company Rediffusion stopped trading at the end of the 1980s. Now the ducting houses a fibre ring enabling the current simultaneous provision of Wi-Fi, massive MIMO, LTE a street light mesh network and a traffic monitoring system and many other projects are in the pipeline.

Filmed at Wireless Global Congress, London 2018

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