Smart Energy & Utilities
The majority of forum discussion focused on the price of energy (both domestic and business) and Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review Proposals. Both topics give rise to opportunities and challenges for innovation and it was agreed that more research was needed to understand what the challenges are in the market currently and how this is either creating a situation for which smart energy is a solution or acting as a barrier to deployment. A common theme ran throughout the discussion which was the need for greater certainty and simplification within the sector. techUK will be engaging further with colleagues at the Energy Networks Association and EnergyUK to understand the implications of these issues.
As connectivity is increasingly relied upon in the energy system there is a greater awareness of the importance of resilience, and the ability to increase bandwidth as smart energy matures. The UK Spectrum Policy Forum has been looking at a number of these issues. The forum was joined by Raj Sivalingam and Skye MacLeod from techUK’s Communications Infrastructure team to hear about discussions to date, with the opportunity to feedback on proposed recommendations.
The forum then went on to discuss a new piece or work aimed at exploring new technologies in energy. Through a series of short papers techUK will look at the role new technologies such as blockchain and AI can play in disrupting and improving infrastructure and service delivery in the future.
Smart Cities & Communities
Nick Chrissos, Head of Innovation & Technology at Cisco, joined the forum to give an update on Manchester’s City Verve demonstrator. Discussing key factors of success throughout the project and lessons learned the group sought to understand further how aspects of the demonstrator can be replicated elsewhere. Nick also took the forum through some of the use cases being explored across the platform, including a transport and health application where people are encouraged to walk to the next bus stop via the incentive of a free bus trip.
Next we were joined by Matt Wood-Hill, Cities Standards Coordinator at Future Cities Catapult, who provided members with an update on standards activities supporting smart city implementation. Over the last few months BSI has published a number of PAS aimed at specific issues facing both local government and industry in the deployment of smart city projects. Matt also took the forum through the goals of the City Standards Institute encouraging members to get involved in this important interface between the sector and stakeholders.
We also discussed a new programme of activity that looks at enabling transformation and culture change within local government – Council of the Future: Preparing for Smarter Communities.
Alongside techUK's Local Government Programme the Smart Cities & Communities Programme have kick-started two initiatives. One is around the importance of Digital Devolution and the other is a project with Harrow Council which seeks to demonstrate the art of the possible and drive the uptake of innovation as a solution to the Council's challenges. The group received an update on activities to date before kickstarting a discussion on next steps for the programme.
Joined by Dr Stephan Appt, Partner at Pinsent Masons, the forum explored the opportunities and challenges posed by the deployment of CAVs. In particular the legal challenges around data and liability, and the impact new technology will have across the automotive supply chain.
Building on this Dr Ron Oren, Principle Strategy Analyst at Transport System’s Catapult, took the forum through a piece of work looking at data sharing within intelligent mobility. A discussion then followed on how we can improve data access within the sector, including actions on government to incentivise data sharing.
The group then received an update on techUK’s Future Connected Rail Initiative and went on to discuss a proposed communications piece looking at the value of a more joined-up transport strategy to the UK economy, and the role of technology in delivering it.