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Manchester announced as UK’s IoT City

| December 22, 2015

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A groundbreaking public-private consortium is celebrating winning a competition for Manchester to be the UK’s Internet of Things City Demonstrator, awarded by The Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

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A hugely creative, multi sector team from across industry, academia and public sector won the intense competition with a proposal that utilises the power of technology to truly revolutionise and improve health and social care, the public realm, energy and environmental management, transport, cultural interaction and creation of communities.

Together with Manchester City Council, the partnership includes global technology giant Cisco UK, the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, MSP, the UK’s largest service and property partner to pioneering science and technology companies, BT, and innovative UK SMEs including Kiltr, provider of a new media platform designed to promote community cohesion,  and Future Everything, the internationally respected futurists and festival operators.

Simply put, The Internet of Things is about connecting physical objects with the internet and letting them talk to us, applications and each other, giving us a previously unimagined world of data that can be used to significantly improve our daily lives – from improving health and reducing pressure on the NHS by allowing us to self manage chronic illnesses or encourage physical activity, to better, safer public transport systems or cities that welcome you and help you find your way to where you want to go or where to park or find a bike, or transform how buildings consume energy.

The CityVerve proposition aligns with Manchester’s on going devolution commitment to deliver innovative solutions to local needs and priorities and focus on the continued growth of the digital economy, which is expected to accelerate further through this win by increasing   levels of business creation and growth  in  the IoT market.

The creation of a UK IoT Centre of Excellence in Manchester, to be located at Manchester Science Partnerships’ city centre campus, will provide start-ups and SMEs from Greater Manchester and across the UK with access to a world-leading open innovation programme, working alongside leading global companies such as Cisco to develop and test new smart city solutions.

When commenting on the benefits that this will bring to Manchester, Sir Richard Leese of Manchester City Council said: “I’m delighted that Manchester has been selected as the UK demonstrator city to test and demonstrate how the imaginative use of smart technology can make a real positive difference to our people and businesses. The lessons learned from this project should benefit the country as a whole.

“The pioneering work Manchester is doing on devolution, finding innovative ways to respond to local needs and priorities, makes us the perfect test bed for this work. Our plans are firmly focussed on creating the conditions for economic growth and helping connect people with the opportunities created – whether that’s helping them to monitor their own health to help avoid preventable illness or giving them improving transport information to help them move around the city more easily.

“Our plans build on Manchester’s strong tradition of public, private and academic partners working together for the greater good. They are focused on Corridor Manchester, our innovation district, home to the largest clinical academic campus in Europe and the UK’s leading science and technology park operator, MSP. It is these capabilities, which attracted the interest of our core industrial partner – Cisco, to work alongside us on this project. The Corridor  has already generated £3 billion of investment – supporting 21,000 jobs in the knowledge economy alone. As such, it’s not just important to Manchester’s economy but to whole goal of helping to rebalance the country’s economy.”

Andy Chew, Managing Director for Innovation for Cisco Systems UK, said, “We are delighted to be able to build the UK’s first IoT Smart City demonstrator in Manchester. There is a huge opportunity for UK tech companies to lead the IoT revolution. This consortium brings together the best of Manchester and the North’s IoT tech talent. Combined with Cisco’s industry-leading technologies and global presence, there is a powerful consortium that will establish Manchester as the Smart City, and open up digitisation opportunities for UK companies across the world.”

Rowena Burns, CEO of Manchester Science Partnerships comments: “This is a huge win for Manchester and for the brilliant team which pulled the project together. The IoT Demonstrator will enable innovators, new and established businesses in every part of the economy to access world leading technology, and work together to develop better public services and new products – supporting our already flourishing digital technology sector, growing our economy, and making the City a showcase for technology driven innovation.

Mike Blackburn, chair of the Greater Manchester LEP said: “Manchester is a city built on innovation so it is a worthy winner of this competition. From business to healthcare information is a valuable resource, this project will enable us to better use it to enhance services, increase performance and improve efficiency.

“Science and innovation is key to Manchester’s economic future. This project will enable us to be an example for the rest of the country, showing how new technology can aid the delivery of both business growth and public services.”

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