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Smart City Innovation Top of the Agenda at Edinburgh Council

David Paul

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Edinburgh Smart City

The city council has put forward an ambitious project with hopes of becoming a Smart City in the future.

Edinburgh City Council has announced a new strategy that lays out aspirations for the capital to become a sustainable Smart City by 2050.

Through a new Digital and Smart City strategy, the Council is planning how its technology services should be designed, sourced and delivered over the next three years.

In line with Edinburgh’s 2050 City Vision, the strategy discusses how data and cloud-based technology can “provide even more accessible, secure and efficient services for residents”.

As well as this, the Council plans to put a focus on recycling and paperless tech, with the hope of saving money and reducing carbon emissions as part of Edinburgh’s ambitions to be net-zero by 2030.

City of Edinburgh Council’s Smart Cities leader Cammy Day commented: “We want to become a digital Council and a world-leading Smart City, and this plan will help to get us there.

“At home and at work, we are all increasing our use of technology to make our day to day lives simpler, greener and more connected. Likewise, digital is playing a major role in the way we operate as a Council and we need to keep refreshing our approach so that we stay on top.”

He added: “We know that smarter technology helps us to provide even more user-friendly Council services and better value for residents. This strategy will help us to keep advancing so that we can continue to meet the demands of a growing Capital city like Edinburgh.”

The Council says the Digital and Smart Cities Strategy will “maximise the potential of digital technologies to improve outcomes and services” for people, councillors, colleagues, visitors, and businesses in Edinburgh.

Plans include implementation of 5G, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), smart parking and electric vehicle charging, as well as wearable and mobile tech, smart public transport and greater citizen engagement.

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Adam McVey, Council Leader, said: “Technology is a great enabler. We have seen it used in many ways we never thought of during this pandemic, not only to keep our own services running but to enjoy our festivals virtually and to visit our libraries online.

“Our vision is to build on this and see Edinburgh become a leading Smart City, opening up access to new technologies which benefit all of our residents, workers, visitors and businesses.

“We are already progressing a number of really innovative projects under our extended contract with CGI and this strategy will act as a guide for all of this work.

“This is about working together towards a more sustainable and inclusive service for the people of Edinburgh and providing the type of flexible and agile working a forward-thinking city like ours needs. I’m pleased it has the support of Committee”

The strategy will run over a three-year period, from 2020 to 2023. An implementation plan is set to be prepared to support the strategy which the council says will be reviewed and refreshed quarterly.

Edinburgh Council’s Smart City announcement comes after it extended a deal with global ICT services provider CGI in early September to help boost the city’s digital ambitions.

A £186 million deal with CGI was signed in August 2015 aiming to outsource ICT services and help the council introduce integrated digital services.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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