With devolution high on the government's agenda, this morning was the ideal time to hold an event on IoT and smart cities. With presentations from Ian Jones (General Manager of Intel UK), Justin Anderson (CEO Flexeye and Leader of Hypercat), Ben Hawes (Smart Cities Policy Lead – BIS) and Geoff Snelson (Director of Strategy, Milton Keynes City Council), delegates heard from four of the UK's leading lights in the smart cities space.
PowerPoints from the session are below shortly but in the meantime I wanted to offer some quick reflections.
Firstly, cities will make a substantial contribution to the estimated 44 zetabytes (!) of data that will be produced by 2020. With this in mind, Ian Jones of Intel came out with a good line: if data is the new oil, the tech industry and its partners will have to act as the new refineries, ensuring that all data produced is analysed, understood, and put to good use. For this to happen, it's going to be critical that all involved have the expertise to make this happen.
Second: the importance of driving IoT development by aiming for 'easy-wins'. Big ticket IoT items such as smart grids, telehealth & telecare and driverless cars, rightly dominate many discussions about IoT. However, these areas face substantial policy and regulatory challenges that will take time to iron out. In light of this, industry and government should take every possible opportunity to drive IoT development in other areas that don't face such obstacles - the potential 'easy-wins'. Street lighting. Media. Household appliances. Sure, these areas might not be quite as exciting as a driverless car but they nonetheless represent major opportunities for consumers and UK Plc alike.
Third: devolution. It's a huge area and a priority for the new government. At techUK we welcome the government's focus on devolution and the 'Northern Powerhouse' believing that it represents a great opportunity to drive smart city development. As this policy area evolves, the tech industry needs to ensure that its messaging on smart cities and IoT complements the government's devolution agenda.
Presentations are available below for members to download