26 May 2022

Guest blog: How a data driven rural place drives opportunity for all

Guest blog by John Kelly, Head of Data and Insight at North Yorkshire County Council

North Yorkshire is the largest county in England – predominately green stretching almost the width of the country.

With this, there are many challenges to be faced for many public sector services but data insight is ensuring the Council is making evidence based decision, which is now driving opportunity for those who live, work, and serve the County.

By using two innovative projects – Mobile Access North Yorkshire, a DCMS part funded 5G Testbed and Trials project and SMART Places, a York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership project – teams within the Council have had the opportunity to develop an architecture model to ingest IoT and streaming analytics capable of supporting the whole county.

Underpinning this is a clear digital strategy ensuring that the insight gathered supports the County’s and many of its rural area's future.

By using sensors that provide a feed of intelligence, we can provide a constant and collective view of an area by enabling Mobile Communications, AI Camera technology, IoT platforms, open data and local intelligence to work together to provide value and opportunity. The combination of technologies is letting the Council drive forward the development of – what is thought to be – the first SMART rural town; set in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

This provides residents, businesses and Council stakeholders significant data and real time analytics, which will be able to identify and pass on events in real time, based on triggers whilst informing new ways of working and jointly gaining insight to have a more informed approach to partnership boundaries.

For example, our Highways teams are small in comparison to the size of the county; maintaining almost 9,250km of highways, the council maintain 1,645 bridges and have direct responsibility for 6,110km of public rights of way. Yet, by deploying sensors and collecting real time or near to real time data allows this team to deploy resource where it will be needed; whether that is sending gritters to roads which temperatures have dropped below zero or, providing early warnings to communities, via the Emergency Teams, prior to river levels peaking, the data collected will allow resources to be deployed effectively.

Furthermore, insight informs strategic policies such as traffic through air quality sensors and supporting economic growth through understanding the movement of people or traffic.

Being able to use data by deploying IoT sensors across the County provides a better-connected place, which is served by evidence-based decisions; resulting in benefits for all that live, work and visit North Yorkshire. The more connected and digitally communicative a place becomes, the more informed the decisions that are made to improve it.

Want to find out more, book onto Mobile Access North Yorkshire’s latest event

John Kelly, Head of Data and Insight at North Yorkshire County Council

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