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Bristol wins global Smart City Award

Press release issued: 8 March 2018

Bristol beat off stiff competition from Barcelona, Dubai, New York, Singapore and Yinchuan to win the Smart City Award (Judges' Choice) at the GSMA's 2018 Global Mobile Awards (The GLOMOs). The award provides global recognition on how Bristol has raised the bar on defining the 'smart city' of the future.

The GLOMOs, regarded as the 'Oscars' of the mobile industry, recognise and celebrate all contributions made to the evolving and developing mobile industry.  The award winners were announced at the international mobile industry's largest gathering - the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week [26 February – 1 March].

The judges, when announcing Bristol as the winner of the Smart City Award, highlighted Bristol Is Open, a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council.  Bristol Is Open integrates three networks through software defined control: fibre in the ground; a wireless het-net along the Brunel Mile area of Bristol with wi-fi, 3G, and 4G; and a radio frequency mesh network deployed on 2,000 of the city's lamp posts. This is complemented by cutting-edge 5G research carried out by the University, which is delivering the UK's first 5G urban deployment.  

The judges also recognised the smart city Operations Centre, which opened last October and brings together and integrates the council's emergency control centre, traffic control centre and community safety (CCTV) control rooms for the first time. The centre, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, also provides Telecare, Alarm and Security monitoring for residents as well as Lone worker support for council staff.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: "This latest accolade reflects the outstanding work of the University of Bristol, Bristol is Open and the council’s Operations Centre which are all integral to achieving the vision of making Bristol the best-connected city in the UK. The council is already experiencing the value of investing in ground-breaking technology and is committed to developing further smart city initiatives that can benefit residents and visitors to the city.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol, commented: "We are delighted the city of Bristol has won this prestigious Smart City Award. This award builds on last year’s announcement that Bristol has overtaken London as the UK's leading 'smart city'.

"Both awards highlight the significant impact of the University's research in the city where we are pioneering innovative 'smart city' technologies and which is embodied in the University’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus plans.  It puts Bristol firmly on the international map for leading the way in developing digital communication technology that will benefit both people and businesses."

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol and Chief Scientific Officer for Bristol Is Open, said: "This award strengthens Bristol's international reputation for pioneering advance network technologies for smart cities, including 5G.  Later this month the public will experience the world’s first 5G urban network at the Layered Realities Weekend 5G Showcase and discover how 5G technology will transform the way we live, work and study in our cities."

The Layered Realities Weekend 5G Showcase will take place on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March with a weekend of free events in Millennium Square and We The Curious.  The event will launch the world's first public 5G testbed to explore the next generation of wireless and wired connectivity through a series of free experimental public events. The 5G showcase will bring together the University of Bristol's Smart Internet Lab and Watershed, We The Curious, BT, Nokia, Zeetta, Cambridge Communications Systems, PureLiFi and Bristol Is Open (BIO).

Further information

About the Smart Internet Lab
The Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol, is a hub for internet research which addresses grand societal and industrial challenges. With more than 200 experts and advanced laboratory infrastructure, we perform cutting edge research on optical and wireless communications.  We offer a unique holistic approach to hardware and software co-design solving critical problems in the global internet evolution. Our innovative research on end-to-end, wired-wireless network design and optimization is pushing the boundaries of digital living and communications. Our exceptional track record for performing 5G research with specific focus on fibre and 5G convergence is evidenced by significant funding from the UK Government, EU and industry (e.g. EPSRC TOUCAN, INITIATE, NDFIS, EU: 5G-Xhaul, 5GPICTURE, mmMAGIC, FUTEBOL, FLAME and 5GinFIRE, DCMS UK Government).   

About Bristol Is Open
How cities work is changing. Bristol Is Open, a joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol, is a research infrastructure to explore developments in software, hardware and telecom networks that enable more interaction between people and places and more machine-to-machine communication. The project uses a high performance software defined network as the city operating system, then internet of things platforms and big data analytics feed an emerging number of smart city applications. This is giving people more ability to interact, work and play with the city that they live in, and will help cities address some of the biggest challenges of modern urban life.

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