Can we build smart towns and villages?
Connecting our rural communities will provide new market opportunities for local businesses and improve people’s well-being through access to more services, lower pollution levels, energy savings and reduced isolation.
Smart cities are growing all over the UK. Recently, London, and Bristol were named the UK’s leading Smart Cities by Huawei. More locally, Southend-on-Sea, Peterborough, and Ipswich are all part of the Small Giants initiative, which sees them actively developing smart city projects.
For a location to be smart it must make the most of the resources and technology is has, whilst becoming more sustainable and connected. This can come in many forms and includes the public, businesses, local authorities, and other organisations coming together to make better use of energy, time, money, resources, transport etc.
It’s great that UK cities are embracing this move. Making cities more efficient is always a good thing. However, those out in rural Norfolk are not experiencing the same change. Norwich has an up-and-coming tech scene, but drive 20 minutes out from the city centre and you’re in rural villages with poor Wi-Fi.
This needs to change. It’s not about smart cities, it’s about smart places. Places that can be both urban or rural, highly populated or the smallest of hamlets but with one thing in common; communities that need connecting.
Smart places are the theme of Cleantech East’s challenge-led workshop, which will identify the challenges facing our county and how our innovative smart technologies can strengthen the region.
‘Building Smart Places’ will explore the challenges faced by rural communities, the solutions already out there, and how to join the dots. It will see local SMEs, large organisations, and the region’s public sector working together to create a plan to connect our communities.
This free workshop will be held on Thursday 9th March at Hethel Engineering Centre. Speakers include enLight, Connected Energy, Opportunity Peterborough, and Axon Vibe.
To register, visit: s_infrastructure.eventbrite.co.uk.