London, Bristol and Milton Keynes are set to become more intelligent after embarking on a new scheme, based on the UK Government’s Internet of Things (IoT) standard, Hypercat.
The HyperCatCity initiative, backed by Innovate UK, will see local councils adapting Hypercat to underpin IoT projects involving smart bins, smart metering and smart lights among others.
Hypercat, which was set up by a group of 40 UK-based tech firms, including IBM, ARM and BT, is a specification that lets applications ask data hubs what types of data it holds and what permission it needs to ask them.
It aims to solve the interoperability problem of the IoT by allowing devices, such as lamp posts and bins interact with each other.
Justin Anderson, CEO and founder of IoT firm Flexeye, which leads the Hypercat standard, said: "HyperCatCity is a powerful example of where the rubber hits the road when an entirely open, interoperable IoT specification is applied to real life smart city challenges, building better services for citizens and, ultimately, taking some of the friction out of people’s daily lives."
"It is also HyperCatCity’s collaborative approach that will see Britain take the unlikely lead in the global smart cities race."
London is one of the first cities to adopt Hypercat, having originally been designed to support the London Infrastructure Plan, launched by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, in July 2014.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has added HyperCat to the London Datastore, a project that aims to provide free access to councils’ datasets.
In Milton Keynes, the council has been working with BT to adopt Hypercat, using it for projects that encourage smart waste disposal, smart parking and street lights.
"Milton Keynes is implementing IoT applications across a range of use cases and demonstrating how such technologies can be central to addressing the challenges our city faces," said Geoff Snelson, Milton Keynes Council’s head of strategy.
"Our project has demonstrated the importance of an effective interface between the technology providers and the city’s challenges and being part of #HyperCatCity is an exciting opportunity to develop this approach further with a top quality group of collaborators."
Meanwhile, Bristol City Council is using Hypercat for its Bristol Is Open project, where it hopes to introduce smart meters and air quality monitoring.
Paul Wilson, Managing Director, Bristol Is Open said: "Bristol Is Open will go live in April 2015. It is Europe’s first city-scale R&D test-bed for Smart City technologies, and is a joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol."
He added: "Two types of organisation are getting involved – technical and societal. Telecom and technology companies are engaging with the Software Defined Network, developed by the University, which is at the heart of the test bed.
"This new technology will transform the way telecoms companies operate their networks and promises to liberate the amount of data gathered by IoT and Big Data platforms."