CityVerve may be a demonstrator based in Manchester, but its ambitions stretch far beyond the city.
Indeed, the people of this north-western city have gifted plenty to the world – and we’re not just talking about music and football teams.
One of our key goals for CityVerve is to produce a blueprint for smart cities worldwide. Last week, our partners went globetrotting in support of this, representing the project at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Smart IoT London in, well, London, and MIPIM in the city of Cannes in France.
Across the pond
SXSW, or South by Southwest, is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences. It’s been running for 30 years, and has grown to become one of the biggest dates in the calendar for people from across a whole host of different industries and disciplines.
— Sir Richard Leese (@SirRichardLeese) March 13, 2017
Tech has had an increasingly important presence at the show in recent years, and this year presented an ideal stage to tell the gathered masses about CityVerve.
Manchester City Council’s leader, Sir Richard Leese, and Rowena Burns, CEO of MSP, were on hand to promote the project and talk particularly about the strides the city is making in healthcare innovation.
Back in Blighty
Meanwhile, on home soil, Cisco’s Nick Chrissos delivered a keynote case study on CityVerve to an attentive audience of tech professionals and public sector policy officers at Smart IoT London.
CityVerve, he said, revolves around asking “What is unique? What has not happened in another city before?”
The challenge the consortium has set itself is to come up with multiple ways to do this. The technology, he went on, is not always new, but the uses will be.
Elsewhere at the show, the consortium was strongly represented. Ordnance Survey, Cisco, and Clicks + Links all showed off live demonstrations on the CityVerve stand, while Sparta Digital, Asset Mapping, SPICA and BT were kept busy meeting and greeting inquisitive visitors from cities in the UK and beyond.
— CityVerve (@cityverve) March 15, 2017
Matthew Gould, the government’s first director general for digital and media at the Department for Media, Culture & Sport, also namechecked the CityVerve project in a speech given on the future of the IoT. “One of the most exciting things about IoT,” he said, “is not just the future, but the here and now.”
Over the Channel
In the perhaps slightly more glamorous setting of Cannes, MIPIM is a four day real estate exhibition and conference that gathers together more than 20,000 property professionals from around the globe.
Needless to say, with an eye on the future, there was plenty of talk about how the buildings that make up our cities will be adapted to new and improved ways of living in the years to come.
MSP chairman, Chris Oglesby, and managing director, Tom Renn, took to the stage to debate the potential benefits and implementations of smart cities with Nick Chrissos (fresh off the plane from London).
— MSP (@TweetsbyMSP) March 16, 2017
The show also played host to the unveiling of the Bright Building on Manchester Science Park, which will serve as the new HQ for CityVerve and act as a living, breathing demonstration of the project.
Time for a break? Of course not
It certainly was a whirlwind week for all involved, but these kinds of event are essential to the success of our project.
If we’re going to be able to pass on what we’re learning on the journey that CityVerve is, then we need to take every opportunity to shout about the great work our consortium of partners is doing day in, day out.