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A Smarter Suffolk

A Smarter Suffolk

Researchers: Dr Hannah Steventon and Professor Nicholas Caldwell 

As climate change necessitates energy reduction and public funds are stretched, affordable Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and new Low Power Wide Area Networks are changing how local authorities can deliver public services.

In our Smarter Suffolk project, Suffolk County Council and the University of Suffolk are building a county-wide Live Lab of thousands of IoT sensors, connected by a new Suffolk LoRa network. We are deploying established and emerging technologies to existing powered lighting columns and other highways infrastructure to measure environmental and traffic conditions across the county. We aim to improve dynamically adaptive street lighting, winter gritting, and drainage cleaning, and to showcase competing innovative technologies.

Big data sets are being accumulated in a vendor-neutral data exchange developed by BT’s Futures Research team, to enable analytics applied to a range of local authority services. Showcase trials at the University’s DigiTech Centre at Adastral Park are evaluating solutions from multiple competing providers to measure road surface temperature, ambient lighting levels, air quality and gully operation.

The project, funded by the Department for Transport, and led by Suffolk County Council, comprises as a broad consortium of research and professional organisations including Proving Services, British Standards Institute, Institute of Lighting Professionals, Highways Electrical Association and solution providers ranging from BT and other large multinationals to local start-ups. It is part of the Technology Futures research theme of the Digital Futures Institute.

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Image of a networked smart city.