Key projects led by Perform Green take Bristol to the #1 spot in the Huawei Smart Cities Index 2017

Huawei UK announced on Monday that Bristol has become the UK’s leading “Smart City” in the second UK Smart Cities Index report, overtaking London to the number one spot. The report commissioned by Huawei UK and conducted by Navigant Consulting, is based on evaluations of 20 cities and their strategies, key projects and general readiness in using digital technology to improve crucial civil services from transport to healthcare. The index was launched in 2016, with only 10 cities being featured so the updated report highlights the progress being made UK wide in adopting digital thinking across all services.

At Perform Green we have been directly involved in the required innovation, determination and original thinking that has supported Bristol taking on the top spot by working with Bristol City Council on solutions that will help the people of Bristol. Yes the technology is there underpinning the overall strategic direction, but the real tangible results have been built from a strong vision and collaborative relationships.

What are we talking about?

Well, Bristol’s move up the rankings is directly linked to two key projects that our teams have been involved with.

Project One: Bristol’s Smart Operations Centre

Publicly launched on October 16th 2017, the centre plays an important role in managing the daily safety, accessibility and flow of the city through to its Traffic Control, incident management, Community Safety (CCTV) and telecare services. The centre now offers a world class cooperative and collaborative workspace, bringing council and city departments together, to work in a truly integrated manner for the first time. Perform Green have driven the programme from construction and build of the space, to the delivery and integration of the people, technology and services. Yes the technology platforms are there to ensure true integration can be delivered across CCTV, traffic and police but a huge amount of effort has to be put in by every single member of each team to change their working behaviours, habits and culture to really make a project like this work.

Project Two: Bristol is Open

The joint venture company between Bristol City Council and University of Bristol has provided large scale infrastructure for R&D, allowing testing of future technologies at a city wide scale. The focus and drive behind Bristol is Open also attracts tech and creative companies to the region and supports their efforts in developing new ideas, technologies and relationships with the community, to create products that people of a place really want.

In a real life scenario, what does this mean?

So even though the tech is part of the solution what has supported Bristol in taking the lead are some primary elements:

  • collaboration between multiple organisations, sectors and industries.
  • community engagement and keeping the people of a place at the heart of the overall ambition.
  • making the smart digital vision REAL in terms of cost savings for the city (major priority) while continuing to improve services and deliver more for every penny spent and for every person.

None of the above are easy to manage, especially not against a backdrop of austerity.

Barney SmithProgramme Director for Bristol City Councils Smart Operations Centre through to launch, and Interim CEO for Bristol is Open stated:

“By working across both of these pioneering programmes of work we have had to drive an openness around communication, create new ways of working together across departments and reimagine the thinking around how to make both of these projects commercially viable.

The long term legacy for the people of Bristol will be to improve their day to day life. From the congestion on the roads or air quality and healthcare provision, this can all be radically improved. The recent Operations Centre launch is the very start of the journey for the city. I am extremely excited about some of the practical ways in which technology will inspire a better living environment for everyone.”

What does that mean for me as someone living in Bristol?

To try and put some of this into context, here are a couple of examples of how technological developments in Bristol could have an impact on your life.

Going Missing, Getting Found

“My elderly father is living alone with dementia, 25 miles away from me. He’s so happy at home and wants to stay where he and mum lived for most of their lives, but I’m worried.

Dad’s been wandering during the day and is going further away from home — twice now, we’ve had to get the Police involved when we couldn’t find him after 4 hours, they have been fantastic, but if he were to get into real difficulties, it could cost a lot more than Police time! — I know that this can’t go on, his safety is so important, but I have a real moral dilemma.”

This is where the team at the new Bristol Smart City Operations Centre could help!

Bristol City Council, working with Police Missing Person Co-Ordinators and Avon and Somerset Dementia Forum, have set up a pilot scheme to address this very issue. The scheme is now providing a wearable, location-based support device and tech based platform to a group of vulnerable adults with dementia and their families or carers. The pilot is there to help those that are repeatedly going missing and are putting themselves and others at risk, and that people chose to opt into. With the support of the Police, using the Buddi GPS monitoring system, Bristol City Council are providing people 24hr monitoring support should they be reported missing, wander outside of a ‘virtual safe zone’ or have a fall — all co-ordinated and supported by the Bristol Smart City Operations Centre.

The project can not only help save Police resource — it can cost upwards of £1700 per hour to launch a Police helicopter to help locate a vulnerable missing person with dementia — but can help keep people out of hospitals and care homes to continue to live at home. Empowering increased independence and making cities be more liveable for everyone is a key value at Perform Green and is an important element to building smarter societies.

Incidence Response — increasing response times & keeping the city moving

For example, the CCTV Operators in the Bristol Operations centre notice that someone has collapsed on the pavement of a very busy main road in the City Centre in the middle of rush hour. The team not only notify the emergency ‘blue light’ services that they need to attend, with first hand detail and location, but pass on this information immediately to their Traffic colleagues now, working alongside them in the Centre. The traffic team are then able to respond to the build up of traffic in that location, by switching and adjusting traffic light sequences and/or updating digital signage to help keep the City moving, as well as ensuring that the emergency services can reach their patient and do their job efficiently and quickly. This information in turn, can be passed onto the First West of England Bus Radio team (who also now work alongside ) who can inform drivers of the issue, traffic build ups and make quick and informed decisions to keep their services running by picking alternative routes.

With the ambitions of all the other cities in the UK and the aspirations of market towns adopting this thinking too, it is going to be an exciting few years ahead as we reimagine our futures together. The key question is how can we build smarter societies that cost less to run and deliver more?

This has to come down to the challenges and the people, with technology being part of the digitally inspired solution. It  is amazing to see Bristol making such strides, and we are extremely proud of our team who have been directly involved and are a leading example in such a competitive space.

If you want to find out more about how to begin building your smart city journey please contact Lara Moloney, Head of Business Development on 07877 066 900 or

Huawei Smart Cities 2017 Index Rankings


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