The CityVerve Project

Manchester is set to become a world leader as the UK’s first city to demonstrate the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies at scale.

In December 2015, InnovateUK selected Manchester out of 34 applicant cities for the award of £10million to fund develop the UK IoT cities demonstrator.

The ground-breaking CityVerve project was an ambitious multi-sector consortium, led by Manchester City Council, bringing together global industry partners, leading UK universities, public sector agencies and innovative SMEs.

CityVerve saw Manchester transform into a ‘smart city’ demonstrating the power of IoT technologies to revolutionise and improve city services across health and social care, transport and mobility, energy and environment, culture and the public realm, delivering a smarter city, which is safer and more efficient, with lower environmental impact, increased health benefits, and empowered citizens.

CityVerve aims to provide a replicable model for other cities to follow in the UK and further afield.

The project demonstrated multiple IoT Smart City services will utilise key IoT infrastructures such as Hypercat and InterCloud. Such infrastructure allows for rapid scalability and interoperability, and the virtualisation of data, reducing costs and enabling the security of data sharing and allowing real-time access to data.

Supported by new technical models for hyper-scalable cloud services, real-time data sharing, and interoperability and integration at the network, platform and cloud levels.

CityVerve demonstrated applications of IoT, adding sensors and data analysis to equipment throughout the city, in four key areas: health and social care; culture and community; transport; and energy and environment.

The ‘smart’ improvements in these areas will help deliver more efficient and personal products and services to Manchester’s citizens, strengthening its stance as a Northern Powerhouse city.

Combining sensors embedded in light fixtures (including environmental sensors), analytics and the existing wireless outdoor infrastructure, will create a sensing platform to supporting energy reduction and monitor air quality at different heights and locations.

Transport in the ‘smart city’ will be more efficient and, with the addition of smart lighting, safer.

CityVerve will see ‘flag and pole’ bus stops convert to talkative bus stops with intelligent digital signage and sensors, where people will be able to check-in and let the bus driver know they are waiting.

For the Manchester Corridor, soon to be bus and bike only, the project promotes bike-sharing schemes and will have ‘e-cargo’ bikes to make ‘last-mile’ deliveries along the corridor.

The ‘smart city’ project will provide more efficient and personal health and social care

Sensors embedded in the environment – in lamp posts and street furniture – and wearable sensors will support citizens in increasing recreational and everyday walking. Individuals and teams can be tracked via this network competing against one another to improve health and prevent emerging conditions, enabling preventable costly conditions like diabetes to be caught before they begin, improving the outlook for the long-term sustainability of health and social care.

Data from a range of sensors both inside and outside the home combined with information from IoT networks of air quality and mobility sensors can provide information to patients and clinicians to support co- and self-management of chronic conditions such as COPD and other respiratory problems.

Digital Futures Director Prof Chris Taylor is the University of Manchester Principal Investigator.