Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey has renewed the government’s commitment to smart cities, but without committing to a specific development model.
In an article published in Business and Industry UK, Vaizey said that having a single model would be “at odds with devolution” as local needs differ. Instead, Vaizey said that the government has acted in specific areas and offer support is specific ways.
“With the global smart cities market estimated to be worth up to £1 trillion by 2020, the UK is extremely well placed to take commercial advantage of this,” he said.
Vaizey added that the role of Internet of Things technology would be essential in the development of smart cities, alongside data analytics and intelligent mobility.
In 2015 City Verve, a Manchester-based programme won the Internet of Things Demonstrator Competition. City Verve will trial applications for healthcare, transport, energy and the environment, culture and the community.
Other initiatives Vaizey highlighted were the Government Office for Science’s Future of Cities Project, which looks at scenarios for UK cities up to the year 2065 and the Open University’s free six-week online course on Smart City concepts to help people in the UK and abroad understand the opportunities.
As well as these, the Future Cities Catapult has identified more than 32,000 companies in the UK that are offering smart cities solutions.
“Our Smart Cities can not only learn from each other but also share and sell their expertise,” he said. “So this is a major investment and export opportunity.”
“UK expertise in architecture and urban design already contributes £16 billion and 400,000 jobs to our economy, so our potential is enormous.”
UK Trade and Industry and Innovate UK will lead a Connected Cities Trade Mission to South-East Asia.