Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

A royally sustainable Coronation, supported by Cisco and BT

June 21, 2023

A landmark event in history, the King’s Coronation was the most watched broadcast of the year with over 20 million people watching it play out on their screens.

The King’s passion for the environment is well known, but one story that hasn’t yet been told is the British Army’s work in making this Coronation the most environmentally aware, in support of the monarch’s long-standing commitment to sustainability.

The British Army played a very public role in two ceremonial processions, accompanying The King and Queen Consort from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and back. But the Army was doing so much more behind the scenes. It also ran several initiatives across transport, recycling, and reduced congestion to ensure the Coronation supported the UK’s Net Zero ambition.

Another key component of the Army’s sustainability programme for the Coronation was to use the event as a test bed to measure and optimise energy and emissions across personnel and buildings. To achieve this objective, it engaged Cisco and BT, both of whom are partners of the Army Digitalisation’s THEIA programme. A key project of THEIA is enabling the Army to transition to a digital estate, whereby sustainability and efficiency are enhanced across its sites.

Both Cisco and BT’s Defence team were pleased to support the Army with its sustainability aims for the Coronation. The first step in enabling digital estates is to measure key metrics, such as building usage and footfall. As Cisco and BT are already running testing programmes across several Army sites, it was able to quickly mobilise and support the Army with its objective measure emissions at the Coronation.

The companies worked alongside the Army’s National Security and Defence team to investigate how the Internet of Things (IoT) could be utilised to assist the Ministry of Defence in monitoring various energy sources at Wellington Barracks during the lead-up to and throughout the event, to provide a before-and-after perspective of the energy usage, footfall, dwell time and other environmental measures at the site. This could be seamlessly enabled thanks to the Defence Business Internet (DBI) network already deployed at Wellington Barracks.

As expected, Wellington Barracks, located across the street from Buckingham Palace, had a huge influx in footfall during the Coronation weekend. The site is typically home to approximately 1,000 military personnel, including the King’s Guard, but this increased to over 5,000 military personnel from all over the country, who assisted in running Operation Golden Orb as smoothly as possible. It also hosted military guests and civil servants for food and refreshments before and after the main event.

To ensure seamless data capture, the Cisco and BT teams travelled to London to set up the necessary equipment in preparation for the Coronation. A Cisco LoRaWAN network was established and eight smart sensors were installed to track various areas and metrics throughout the site. This was connected by Cisco Spaces, which connects Cisco networking, sensors and collaboration products into a single, cloud platform that makes buildings smart.

The sensors measured power consumption in the guest marquee and multiple areas within the main buildings, luminosity levels in the guest marquee, vibration and efficiency monitoring for the air conditioning, and temperature and humidity monitoring across the location. For measuring carbon emissions BT also deployed its Digital Carbon Calculator, which took the carbon footprint of the deployed network and fed it into a unified dashboard to give  useful information on levels  across the estate.

With Cisco Spaces providing full visibility of how emissions changed according to a number of key measures, Army Commanding Officers had complete visibility of what impacted the carbon footprint.

While the immediate goal was to provide data points relating directly to the activities surrounding the Coronation, the initiative was very beneficial for the MoD as a test programme to demonstrate the importance of using data to measure and track carbon emissions and see how it could use IoT technologies, like LoRaWAN, to support THEIA in the future and decarbonise its wider portfolio.

David Meads, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland: “We are very proud of the role Cisco played in helping to deliver a more sustainable Coronation. We are committed to helping our customers, suppliers, and partners on their net zero journeys. We believe technology has a critical role to play in supporting all organisations across every industry in decreasing their environmental impact, and it was wonderful to show this in action at such a special event.”

Jon Cole, Defence Director at BT, said: “BT has been a leader on climate and sustainability action for more than 30 years, so we were honoured to play our part in this initiative with the Army and Cisco. We have a long and proud association with the Armed Forces and it was great to work with them closely on this project which demonstrates how technology can help drive transformation towards more sustainable processes and operations. The insight we have gleaned from this initiative will be invaluable as the programme evolves.”

Tina Gundersen, Global Sales Director, Cisco Spaces: “With Cisco Spaces providing full visibility of how emissions changed according to a number of key measures, Army Commanding Officers had complete visibility of what impacted the carbon footprint. Leveraging existing Cisco infrastructure as ‘sensors’ to gather data, Cisco Spaces software is able to be rapidly deployed across any MOD site to deliver instantaneous value to sustainability and other operational objectives. As a trusted Cisco Spaces partner, BT are at the forefront of helping our customers realise the potential of such data.”

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