£16 million MK:Smart project to transform the city
The Open University has announced a cutting-edge partnership with technology giant Tech Mahindra and Milton Keynes Council to transform Milton Keynes into a smart city.
The £16 million project called MK:Smart will investigate how big data can be used to help develop new ways of managing key infrastructure across the city, including transport, water and energy.
Professor Enrico Motta at the Open University, who is the MK:Smart project director, told CBR that the parties will work closely together to research developments in a number of important areas, such as electric vehicles and the Internet of Things.
He said the project is "very important" because, although Milton Keynes’ continued growth represents a success story in terms of the UK economy, there is increasing pressure on the city’s resources and infrastructure from a fast-growing population.
"Milton Keynes has always been a city with one eye on the future but its success means stress points are starting to be reached," said Motta. "If we don’t address the issues, the growth and economic success will slow down."
The MK:Smart initiative will consier how big data can be used in novel ways to solve key infrastructure issues, such as using information to change public transport flows and using knowledge to improvement the management of water resources.
The new partnership will develop bids for private and government sector opportunities in these areas during the next five years, with the smart cities sector estimated to be worth £400bn globally by 2020.
"Tech Mahindra have offices in Milton Keynes and share our aims – it’s a prefect partnership. Both organisations are focused on the future of technology and smart cities provides an intersection for those interests," said Motta.