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Nokia joins UK's pioneering smart city initiative in Bristol

Nokia has joined the Bristol Is Open initiative, becoming the first major telecoms vendor to participate in Bristol's unique living laboratory.

Bristol Is Open (BIO) encompasses the entire city, effectively transforming it into a dynamic test bed to explore how integrated technology can benefit citizens – from helping solve problems such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and assisted living for the elderly to trials of self-driving cars.

A joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council, BIO is funded by local and national government and the European Union, along with academic research funding and financial backing from the private sector.

The participants will explore developments in software, hardware and telecom networks that enable more interaction between people and places. Small sensors, including the smartphones and, in the future, GPS devices of willing citizens, will supply data about many aspects of city life – such as energy, air quality and traffic flows – to the three new fast networks in the centre of the city.

The operating system developed by Bristol University and running on its supercomputer will process all the data, allowing the development of a wide range of applications that are linked to the various sensors and actuators deployed across the city.

Barry French, Nokia's chief marketing officer, said: “There is a great deal of talk around smart cities, but there are not many places where talk has led to action. This innovative program will show what can be achieved by bringing together experts from various technology areas to deliver integrated solutions that actually improve people's lives, a fundamental principle driving our everyday work.”

Nokia says the company was invited to join the project because of its track record in developing solutions for smart, sustainable cities, and its long history of collaborative research, including the Nokia-founded IoT Community for cross-industries collaboration.

Experts from across the company – including Nokia Bell Labs, who already have a strong relationship with Bristol University, particularly in the area of photonics – will provide consulting services to Bristol Is Open, while Nokia's IP networking division will provide network and infrastructure support. In addition, Nokia's application ecosystem program ngConnect will bring an extensive range of additional applications, ideas and companies into the BIO development program.

The partnership underlines its commitment to smart city solutions, as an increasingly important part our connected world, Nokia adds.

Using the city’s infrastructure, Nokia plans to use this exciting opportunity to test a whole range of applications coming out of Nokia Bell Labs, in areas such as environmental impact studies, healthcare and public safety. The first Nokia project in BIO will focus on video analytics on the city-wide CCTV system of more than 1,700 cameras.

Barney Smith, CEO of BIO, said: “We are delighted that Nokia has accepted our invitation to join Bristol Is Open. Building on the excellent relationship we already have with Nokia Bell Labs, the skills and experience that Nokia has will enable us to take BIO to the next stage of its development: solving real world problems for citizens and creating opportunity for all. Nokia brings a unique set of capabilities for smart city solutions that, through our open programmable city, are replicable and applicable in other cities.”

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