Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

CityVerve: a blueprint for smart cities everywhere

July 28, 2016

Manchester has for a long time had a reputation for innovation and shaking things up. From its days at the forefront of industrialisation, to its thriving music culture, the invention of graphene, Professor Brian Cox, Alan Turing’s experiments – the list goes on.

Now Cisco is delighted to be involved in another example of Manchester’s forward-thinking track record: building a blueprint for smart cities globally through the exciting CityVerve project.

We’ve teamed up with Manchester City Council and 19 other organisations from the public, corporate, SME and academic worlds to deploy the Internet of Things at city scale, for the benefit of the people who live and work there.

I attended the recent kick-off event in Manchester, where around one hundred CityVerve partners and stakeholders gathered to discuss the project and debate what is needed as we build this ‘production-grade’ smart city demonstrator over the next two years.

What was clear from speaking to everyone there was the sense of excitement and optimism in bringing together so many ideas, skills and points of view. It’s a consortium with a very clear focus: to transform the city and create endless possibilities.

Why a consortium? Well, these are such wide-ranging solutions; whilst one company could potentially put together the intellectual property to build a smart city, the reality is we don’t think this is the most effective deployment.

Our open platform approach means we can take all the best talents and innovations from across the industry. When you combine this with Manchester’s own set up, particularly in leading the devolution agenda, you have the ideal conditions for success.

Unlike other smart cities projects, we’re building a model that’s based on citizens’ real-life needs. This ‘bottom-up’ approach ensures this smart city is real and relevant to its citizens.

What binds CityVerve is the ‘platform of platforms’ – a technology layer that will create a secure catalogue of data that can unite applications. This will enable the intelligent collection, interpretation and use of data, coupled with a flexibility to accommodate the growing and ever-changing needs of a living, breathing city.

There’s lots of information about the project on the CityVerve website. I can recommend reading my colleague Nick Chrissos’ blog post about why our smart cities approach is different, along with Vicki DeBlasi’s post about the CityVerve kick-off event itself.

We’ll also be talking a lot more about CityVerve here on the Cisco UKI blog. I look forward to sharing our experiences as the story unfolds.

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