What will a SMART Basingstoke look like? What kind of things will be able to do and affect? These are the questions that need to be answered because the technology to enable it already exists; we just need to decide what we want to do with it. In this article we will explore some of the things that could be different in a SMART city or town.

What could be different?

Air Quality in the main is affected by road traffic pollution; emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are responsible for 70% of air pollution. It is a major cause of many respiratory and cardiovascular disorders, in particularly in young people where it contributes to lower mortality rates.

Traffic Congestion results in longer journey times as routes through towns and cities are not used efficiently and vehicles emit more pollution in areas of congestion as cars sit in traffic jams with their engines running. It is estimated that traffic congestion costs the UK economy £8 billion a year.

Parking is another area of inefficiency as vehicles owners cannot quickly and efficiently find parking spaces. It results in vehicles circulating around streets and car parks looking for spaces to park wasting time and again contributing to emissions. It is estimated that the cost of looking for parking in wasted time, fuel and emissions is £23.3 billion a year in the UK.

Building Management is an area that can save both money and energy by intelligently controlling heating and lighting systems in buildings based on occupation, time of day and external weather conditions. It is estimated that 30% of the average energy used in commercial buildings is wasted.

Environmental Management is increasingly a concern as the effects of global warming result in more extreme, short term weather patterns that cause localised flooding or snow fall that can block routes or damage properties, sometimes with little warning. In the UK alone for example flooding costs around £2.2 billion per year.

What else?

These are just a few examples but, the mass deployment of sensors that measure air quality, traffic flows, temperature, humidity and more could allow towns and cities to better control and monitor these situations. Monitoring traffic flows alone could allow us to reroute traffic to avoid areas of congestion, saving time and reducing the build up of pollution. Directing vehicles to parking spaces that are known to be free is another and turning lights off when buildings are empty or it’s still daylight outside is another. We already have the infrastructure to do this, Basingstoke will shortly have low powered sensor network across the town centre to enable this but this data needs to be open to promote innovation. If entrepreneurs have free access to this sensor data they can create innovative solutions that will benefit the community as a whole.

The Big IoT Hack

How then will we help and encourage entrepreneurs to develop these systems? Well, one way is through “Hack” events such as “The Big IoT Hack” planned for 27th/28th of April at Desk Lodge in Basing View. At these events entrepreneurs, innovators and developers are provided with the technology and set challenges to solve real problems in the town. They have a weekend to come up with a solution and demonstrate it to a panel of judges. April’s event is made possible with the support of our commercial partners. Pycom is supplying sensor gateways and modules while Microsoft is supplying a full cloud environment. Couple this with the existing lower power network and there is everything you need to build a prototype system. It encourages rapid innovation and that’s why our commercial partners want to help. If this has got you interested why not come along and be part of shaping the future for Basingstoke. Check out this link for more details and how to register:

The Big IoT Hack