SmarterUK March update | Energy, Utilities, Transport, Smart Cities


Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, techUK has moved to full remote working and our office has closed. We are not hosting any meetings, events or drop-in facilities until further notice. We’ve outlined some more information on the techUK website.

techUK has developed a COVID-19 Information Hub – summarising and digesting Government announcements and helping the sector understand the impact on businesses. The hub also serves as a place to gather together stories of good news, capturing the remarkable steps taken within techUK membership to help the Government, NHS, and wider UK public to adapt and respond to COVID-19.

We are aware that many of our members will be seriously affected by COVID-19 in a number of ways and are looking for support from Government. SmarterUK will be assisting the policy team by collating your queries, concerns and questions and feeding them back into Government.

What SmarterUK will be doing in the coming weeks

Although our offices are closed, we are by no means scaling back our activities in championing smart infrastructure. Alongside our scheduled Council and Steering Board meetings – including our inaugural Digital Twins Working Group meeting this week – we are looking to gather intelligence and share relevant information with a series of campaigns, insights, thought-pieces and digital information tools for the following sectors:

  • Energy and Water (Utilities)
  • Transport – Road, rail, freight, logistics, airports
  • The Connected Home
  • Digital Twins
  • Intelligent Buildings

If you would like to get involved, please get in touch.

Thank you,

Teodora Kaneva
Programme Manager, SmarterUK

Smart Cities and Digital Twins - News


Dstl publishes new report on the future of urban living

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has published a new report - The Future of Our Cities - which makes predictions about how we will live in cities in the future. Read our overview now

Centre for Innovation in Advanced Measurement in Manufacturing (University of Birmingham) 

In collaboration with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the University of Birmingham has announced a new three-year project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, that will advance its pioneering work in quantum technologies.  

Accenture creates cyber digital twins to simulate potential attack scenarios (SiliconAngle) 

Lisa O'Connor, managing director of security R&D at Accenture spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the RSA Conference in San Francisco. They discussed the biggest cyber challenges companies are facing and how Accenture Labs research is changing the future of cybersecurity. 

Why you should be treating your data as an asset (Anmut) 

For many businesses, data has become the lubricant that allows markets to operate more seamlessly – allowing firms to better match supply and demand. And it is not just in ‘born digital’ businesses that data is creating a stir by enabling markets to operate more seamlessly.  

It is time for the GCC to look beyond publicly financed infrastructure (Atkins) 

The ambition of rail, metro, mega smart cities and smart infrastructure projects in the UAE and KSA will need strategic thinking on the methods of infrastructure investment, including investor-friendly legal and regulatory frameworks, collaboration and alternative financing options. 

Atos on track with Network Rail private cloud upgrade contract (Atos) 

Atos has signed a four-year contract worth £12 million with Network Rail to design, deliver and manage a new digital private cloud platform that will underpin the operations of Britain’s rail infrastructure provider. 

Babcock awarded key High Frequency Communications contract (Babcock) 

Babcock will deliver critical equipment replacements to support the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) over the near term, with an extensive customer through-life support programme forming the remainder of the contract.

BAE Systems showcases advanced technologies as HMS Prince of Wales comes to Liverpool (BAE Systems) 

BAE Systems will showcase a series of technologies and innovations as HMS Prince of Wales docks in the North West of England for the first time, as part of a landmark event to celebrate the best of UK engineering and to mark decades of innovation and excellence in engineering past, present and future. 


SBRI: monitor and visualise domestic pollution to safeguard health (Innovation Funding Service) 

Organisations can apply for a share of £100,000 including VAT, to develop an air quality monitor to provide information and advice on pollutants in the home.

Deadline: Wednesday 15 April 2020 12:00 

Demonstrators addressing cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things: round 2 (Innovation Funding Service)

UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £4 million for collaborative R&D projects addressing major cyber security challenges in the Internet of Things.

Deadline: Wednesday 15 April 2020 12:00

Innovate UK Smart Grants: January 2020 (Innovation Funding Service)

Opportunity to apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations that can make a significant impact on the UK economy.

Deadline: Wednesday 22 April 2020 12:00 

EUREKA collaborative R&D: advanced materials, March 2020 (Innovation Funding Service) 

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £1 million for advanced materials R&D projects partnering with EUREKA country organisations, including South Korea.

Deadline: Wednesday 24 June 2020 12:00

Smart Energy and Utilities - News

Utilities: Get switched on about the PSTN switch off

Find out how utilities will be impacted by the withdrawal of the traditional landline in 2025, and what can be done now to prepare. 

Report: Innovating to net zero (Energy Systems Catapult) 

Energy Systems Catapult has published its report "Innovating to Net Zero" finding that Net Zero by 2050 is possible with support for innovation and scale-up across three essential areas – Low Carbon Technology, Land Use and Lifestyle. The report modelled hundreds of potential pathways to 2050 – ramping up or down different technologies and behaviour changes – to understand the combinations, interactions and trade-offs of competing decarbonisation approaches. 

UK's 'first' green hydrogen plants among winners in £90m funding boost (Business Green) 

Several green hydrogen production plants across the North of England and Scotland among host of energy projects to secure BEIS funding - full story via the Business Green website. 

SSE strikes deal to give O2’s suppliers discounted clean power (The Energyst) 

O2 has struck a deal with SSE Business Energy whereby its suppliers will get a discount on renewable power – and pay the same rate as the telco. The move represents shrewd business, given O2 has committed to decarbonising its operations by 2025 – and to make its suppliers cut emissions by 30 per cent. O2 said all of its suppliers – from SMEs to large firms – can take the deal. 

Planning applications for UK clean energy projects hit new high (The Guardian)

The number of new renewable energy projects applying for planning permission reached a four-year high in the UK last year as energy companies raced to meet the rising demand for clean electricity. There were 269 planning applications for new wind, solar and bioenergy projects in 2019, up from 204 the year before.

Water sector sets out possible routes to net-zero goal (Utility Week) 

Specialists advising the water sector on its goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 have said collaboration will be needed both within and beyond the industry to deliver the necessary innovation. 

AI basics for advanced water wise utilities (IWA) 

Blog series: Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a ubiquitous plot point across sectors when digital revolution leaders speak about the future of their industry. Whether it was first introduced to you via pop culture or as a real-world solution to pressing global challenges, AI is now part of our digital vocabulary. For the water sector, implementing AI for water will, amongst other benefits, allow water professionals to efficiently utilise their data deluge to make better decisions. 

Virtual Events

27 March: #AskUsAnything - How will coronavirus change the utilities sector? (Utility Week)

Webinar covering the impact of coronavirus on the utilities sector: Utility Week will be asking three key questions – how is the industry responding, what is the next stage likely to look like and what are the emerging signs on what the long-term implications of the virus will be on the regulatory and strategy landscape. The panel of experts includes former Ofgem executive Maxine Frerk, Nick Ellins, chief executive of Energy & Utility Skills group and Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union. 

31 March: The BIM conference 2020 – Digital Delivery (British Water) 

British Water’s seventh BIM conference will share the benefits realised by Digital Delivery on recent projects and discuss the impact of Digital Technology on the way projects are delivered. Registration is open now. 

Smart Transport - News

Consultation: Future of transport regulatory review (DfT) 

​Call for evidence asking for information and views on 3 areas of the ‘Future of transport regulatory review’. The 3 areas are:

  • micromobility vehicles
  • flexible bus services
  • mobility as a service (MaaS)

The consultation closes on 22 May 2020. 

Britain’s first digital railway takes major step forward as funding and partners announced (Network Rail) 

Network Rail has confirmed Siemens Mobility Limited and Atkins as its partners in a major programme to introduce in-cab signalling on the southern section of the East Coast Main Line – a scheme that will reduce passenger delays by thousands of hours. 

Work starts on 'electric petrol station' in Essex (BBC News) 

Work has started on an electric vehicle charging forecourt that will be able to charge 24 cars at once. It is being built on a 2.5 acre site at Great Notley, near Braintree, Essex, by sustainable energy company Gridserve. The company hopes the roadside forecourt, which will use solar power, will "solve the challenge" of where to charge electric vehicles. 

  • Teodora Kaneva

    Teodora Kaneva

    Programme Manager | SmarterUK
    T 020 7331 2016

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