The Internet of Things in Smart Cities and Smart Regions: event summary


On 12th May, our third online event took place: The Internet of Things in Smart Cities and Smart Regions.

The event showcased projects within the ‘Smart Cities’ strand of the Pitch-In programme. Attendees were able to find out about four key projects that have investigated the barriers to the adoption of IoT in Smart Cities and Smart Regions and methods for overcoming these barriers.

The smart cities theme sponsored 11 mini-projects, with collaborations across the universities of Newcastle, Oxford and Sheffield and a wide range of industry partners.

These have included Newcastle and Sheffield City Councils, Oxfordshire and Cumbria County Councils, Northumberland National Park, Transport Scotland, Siemens, Jacobs, and various partner SMEs. In addition, networking partners for innovation sprints and workshops have included Northumbrian Water, Northern Gas Networks and Living Oxford.

Projects have addressed themes including air quality monitoring, urban-scale computer vision deployments, radio frequency systems performance in smart cities, urban flow analytics, green spaces for mental health, landslide monitoring, osmotic computing, smart cities data toolkit, biodiversity in green spaces and mixed-fidelity building models.

The Pitch-In programme has sought to encourage and facilitate Knowledge Exchange (KE) around IoT innovation and adoption. The universities’ KE activities allow them to engage with the wider world to make a contribution to the economy and society, and, in return, receive inspiration and practical guidance to channel their research efforts. The key KE lessons coming out of the smart cities projects include:

The key Knowledge Exchange (KE) lessons coming out of the smart cities projects include:

  • Academics contributing to the project portfolio came from a wide range of disciplines indicating the interdisciplinary nature of the sector. These included civil engineering, computing, electronic and telecommunications engineering, environmental sciences and physical geography. There is considerable scope and appetite for multi-disciplinary work in our Energy theme.

  • There are a wide-range of barriers to innovation and adoption of IoT in the field. This is reflected in the range of barriers addressed in the mini projects, reflecting the diverse range of industrial partners involved.

  • Access to data and knowledge of how to use data remain key barriers to overcome, an issue which several projects tackled.

  • Low cost IoT was an important issue for a number of projects. This was either explicitly as part of the project brief or it emerged as a key element as projects developed.

  • Although large-scale deployment of IoT may be facilitated by the falling cost of devices and equipment, there would need to be a focus on training and skills development among the non-specialist workforce for the full potential of IoT in the sector to be realised.

Nearly 60 participants joined us on the day. Many thanks to chair and theme lead, Professor Phil James and speakers, Dr David Scott, Dr Tom Komar, Dr Luke Smith, Professor Raj Ranjan, Dr Rupert Bainbridge and Professor Yit Arn Teh from Newcastle University and Dr Oktay Cetinkaya from the University of Sheffield.

If you missed the presentations, you can watch a recording of the event below.

  • 00:01:05 – Professor Phil James, Newcastle University: Introduction to IoT in Smart City Regions and how we apply emerging technologies to real-world solutions

  • 00:19:58 – Dr David Scott, Newcastle University: Theme portfolio overview

  • 00:31:00 – Dr Tom Komar, Newcastle University: CCTV and smart cities

  • 00:36:40 – Dr Luke Smith, Newcastle University: IoT and urban mobility

  • 00:46:30 – Dr Oktay Cetinkaya, University of Sheffield: Radio frequency systems performance in Smart Cities

  • 00:55:10 – Professor Raj Ranjan, Newcastle University: Osmotic computing for IoT

  • 01:01:50 – Dr Rupert Bainbridge, Newcastle University: IoT for landslide monitoring

  • 01:10:30 – Professor Yit Arn Teh, Newcastle University: IoT in the rural environment

IoT in Smart Cities and Smart Regions is part of the Pitch-In event series, marking the end of the three-year collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Cambridge, Oxford and Newcastle. Pitch-In is funded by Research England’s Connecting Capability Fund (CCF).