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Newcastle Council to show off smartest street in Britain

The Great Exhibition of the North will see Mosley Street in Newcastle upon Tyne transformed into Britain’s smartest street as part of a demonstration of IoT technology

Nearly 140 years after it became the first street in the world to be lit by electric incandescent bulbs, Mosley Street in Newcastle city centre is to be transformed into the UK’s “smartest” street as part of the upcoming Great Exhibition of the North.

Through a collaboration with network giant Cisco, network delivery firm Connexin, smart lighting specialists Mayflower and integration and artificial intelligence (AI) firm Quantela, Newcastle City Council hopes to showcase the possibilities of smart cities for people living and working in them by inundating Mosley Street and the connecting Neville Street with internet of things (IoT) sensors.

“It is fantastic that Cisco has chosen Newcastle for the location of their most comprehensive smart street in the UK. The fact that the world’s largest networking company has selected our city for such a pioneering venture puts us firmly at the heart of modern Britain,” said Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes.

“It is also testament to Newcastle’s growing skills base in digital technology and data analytics, and an example of our commitment to use innovation to help make people’s lives better. It is fitting that Cisco is launching their smart street during the Great Exhibition of the North – a celebration of the North’s inventive spirit, marking the next phase for the North’s future.”

Combining both live and historic data from multiple sources, including real-time urban data lab Urban Observatory at Newcastle University, the project will demonstrate how connecting data brings genuine benefits to city residents, businesses and authorities.

Visitors to the demonstrator – which will run until 9 September 2018 – will be able to experience various smart city applications either at the smart street installation, through data displayed on screens elsewhere in Newcastle, or via the exhibition’s wayfinding smartphone application, running on Cisco’s Kinetic for Cities platform.

Use cases on one of Newcastle’s busiest streets will include using data to predict whether visitors to the area will be able to park; spend less time idling in traffic by using historic and live data to interpret the movement of vehicles through the area; and analysing environmental data to lower air pollution on the street.

It will also help local operators manage waste disposal; introduce dynamic street lighting that manages power consumption using predictive analytics; and use AI and video analytics to predict the effect of traffic on the road service, possibly allowing the council to prevent potholes.

“Newcastle has innovation in its DNA, and we are thrilled to be working with Newcastle City Council and our partners to create the UK’s smartest street, and to build on the pioneering innovation which took place on Mosley Street over a century ago,” said Cisco UKI head of smart cities and IoT, Stu Higgins.

“The creation of smart places through the deployment of internet of things solutions brings amazing possibilities to enhance the lives of people living and working in a place. It is this type of innovation which is crucial to the UK cementing itself as a global digital leader,” he added. 

“Just like all those years ago when electricity began to run through our streets, connecting our cities – making them smart – will open up possibilities that haven’t even been imagined yet,” added Connexin founder and CEO Furqan Alamgir.

“No single organisation can make smart cities happen on its own. Governments, businesses, the education sector and citizens need to work together to grasp the opportunity.  The sum is way greater than the individual parts. This project is a perfect demonstrator of all the parts working together.”

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