Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

A bigger, brighter, smarter, digital future for Newcastle-upon-Tyne

February 7, 2019

Last summer’s IoT smart street project was just the first step in the city’s digital transformation.

Setting the scene

It was a smart, successful and eventful 2018 for Newcastle upon Tyne and Newcastle City Council (NCC). Not only did the city play host to many of the activities that took place during the highly successful Great Exhibition of the North, but this coincided with a ground-breaking IoT project that will hopefully yield long term results, not only for Newcastle but for other towns, cities and communities.

Facing the challenges ahead

In the hard light of day, with the celebrations over, it’s back to reality. Most local authorities are seeing their budgets plummet year on year – yet at the same time, they are under increasing pressure to deliver more – and better quality – services, while also effectively managing channel shift.

NCC is no exception; by 2020, its budget will have been cut by nearly £300 million. Like many other local authorities, it must therefore find new ways of working and manage its services ever more creatively. And do so while simultaneously tightening the purse strings.

Innovation in action – take one street

During summer 2018, Mosley Street became the smartest street in the UK, thanks to an IoT project developed to monitor five main areas: waste management, parking monitoring, air quality, lighting – plus predictive analytics to assess when roads will need repairing. Bringing all of this together resulted in an exciting development that will have practical long-term applications.

Live data streams made four of these elements – waste management, air quality, parking and traffic congestion – visible simultaneously on screen. From knowing how many parking spaces were available, to monitoring air quality throughout the day, and seeing when bins needed emptying, this has helped NCC understand the street’s day to day activities.

Mosley Street provided a smart blueprint that could eventually be applied across the city, helping rationalise and improve services while saving money. This should be welcome news to any local authority. The insights gained from this first stage can also support NCC in exploring support improvements to the delivery of other local services, for example, health and social care.

We’ve also demonstrated the importance of partnerships in improving our communities; in making Mosley Street the smartest street in the UK, we worked alongside local businesses, technology partners, Newcastle University and of course, NCC. By doing so, we have shown that smart innovative can benefit whole communities – residents, workers visitors and local businesses.

What’s next?

Find out more – and what’s next for NCC – by watching the video above, where NCC’s Digital Lead Jenny Nelson and Director of Place Tom Warburton – together with yours truly – explain what the project means for people living, visiting and working in Newcastle. And how the results could be used to benefit other communities around the country – even around the world.

For information on our smart communities portfolio, including Cisco Kinetic for Cities – or to find out more about our work in local government, visit our website.

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