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Oxford makes moves to up its smart city credentials

Oxford City Council, Oxfordshire County Council, the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and the Local Enterprise Partnership have teamed up to scope out and develop smart city approaches.

This group of local organisations is also working in partnership with Internet registry company Nominet, which is exploring how technology can help solve some of Oxford’s unique challenges.

According to the firm, a smart city uses digital technologies and data-sharing to drive sustainable economic development, reduce costs and make it an attractive place to live, work and visit.

As part of the Smart Oxford Project Board, Nominet has been reviewing other smart city programmes globally, as well as taking a look at what Oxford is already doing, to examine how the city might begin to differentiate itself in this space in the future.

“The Internet is rapidly moving from mainly connecting humans to connecting machines through the Internet of Things (IoT),” claimed Nominet CEO Russell Haworth.

“This has the potential to support many new and exciting projects that use the Internet for good and we want to play a part in defining and shaping it, building on our existing DNS expertise.

“Globally, there is a lot of exciting work going on in this new field and we’re delighted to be looking at how technology might improve our home city of Oxford,” Haworth added.

Oxford already beginning to think like smart city

Currently, Oxford has a number of initiatives that reportedly reflect smart city thinking, including the MobOx transport study, Oxford Flood Network, Oxford Super Connected City Project, UrbanData2Decide Project and OxFutures.

Many businesses and the two universities are also placing themselves at the fore front of research and innovation and hope that the recently agreed City Deal and Growth deal will see major investment in infrastructure and innovation centres.

“From our initial research, it’s clear that Oxford already has a lot of the characteristics that mark out a smart city,” claimed director of research and development at Nominet Adam Leach.

“It’s an active hub of existing smart city-style initiatives from local companies and organisations, including our own TV white space project powering the Oxford Flood Network.

“Businesses are already naturally exploring initiatives in this areas and it’s great to see Oxford’s local authorities and universities taking a forward-thinking and active lead in bringing all these efforts together to give the city a technological and economic boost,” Leach added.