Vision to create leading smart city in Hull revealed

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 24 Jul 2018

Imagine a city where traffic lights, bridges, waste bins and even garages are controlled using one central internet network.

Smart cities are no longer a concept of the future. Cities including Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dublin are already pushing the boundaries of what a single network can offer to an entire population.

In Hull, broadband company Connexin is spearheading the push to put the city in the spotlight, and has created the UK’s largest smart network which will connect millions of wireless devices.

Furqan Alamgir, CEO of Connexin, explained the power behind a smart city.

Read more: Hull schools and community groups to get free access to open network in bid to create 'smart city'

He said: “It is the first network that has been built to this scale that can incorporate lots and lots of devices.

“It will enable us to deliver high-quality connections to everything from traffic lights and bridges in the city, to wheelie bins and peoples’ garages.

“All of these things could be controlled from one network. We will also be giving this access to people in schools, university and places like the C4DI, where there are people much smarter than me creating some fantastic products.”

Smart cities use a highly-advanced network to analyse and improve a range of services, from traffic and transport, water supply and waste management to hospitals, schools and libraries.

The new network in Hull – called a LoRaWAN network – will first be used to power the city’s new smart bins project.

Public waste bins around the city will alert the council to when they are getting full, being vandalised or are on fire.

Read more: Connexin joins prestigious programme for high growth companies

Plans are also in place for the network to be rolled out to schools, community groups and charities, who will be able to access an open, free network.

“We have now got this network in place, and it really is the backbone of creating a fully smart city,” Mr Alamgir said.

“I truly think – obviously being biased – that it is one of the most impressive networks that has been created in the country.

“We have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in the network, and we could have put this anywhere in the country.

“There are other cities which would maybe have made more sense commercially, but we wanted to do it in Hull, to help the city become a beacon of the north.”

The network will offer a cost-effective alternative providing long range outdoor and deep indoor coverage in high density and difficult to reach areas, enabling the next generation of IoT and smart cities to become a reality in Hull.

Multiple gateways have been installed to support the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology across the city.

Read more: Plans for new £5m data centre which will create 60 jobs approved

The new network covers all of the city of Hull, and stretches out into the East Riding areas surrounding it.

“One of the biggest challenges has been recruiting in technical talent,” Connexin’s CEO said.

“Hull is unfortunately still seen as being at the end of the road for a lot of people, and has been a place where one provider has ruled the whole city.

“We are one of the fastest-growing companies in Hull at the moment, and we have made some excellent progress with the Northern Powerhouse.

“Now is the time for us to show what we can do, and help create a truly smart city.”



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