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London and Edinburgh top smart city ‘leaderboard’

The research highlights the progress made by Edinburgh in its 16-year smart city journey

Edinburgh has been able to apply its 'One Council' principle to deliver better citizen services
Edinburgh has been able to apply its 'One Council' principle to deliver better citizen services

London and Edinburgh are the leading smart cities in the UK, according to a new study. Analysis by Juniper Research identified the top 10 smart cities in the UK with London coming top of its “smart city UK” leaderboard.


The rankings were calculated over a range of city indices, including transport, healthcare, public safety, energy and productivity. Scores were calculated according to diverse metrics, including present state-of-play variables (such as congestion and crime levels) alongside smart city rollouts, vision and long-term strategy.


The ranking is as follows:


1 London

2 Edinburgh

3 Glasgow

4 Bristol

5 Manchester

6 Brighton & Hove

7 Liverpool

8 Oxford

9 Birmingham

10 Milton Keynes


With Glasgow ranked in third place, Scotland’s major cities were regarded as strong performers across the board.


Edinburgh’s 16-year smart city journey, for example, has allowed the city to learn from mistakes (such as disparate maintenance of systems and control of systems by separate council units) and apply its “one council” principle in order to better deliver citizen services.


“Glasgow has used the smart city concept to address a number of key challenges,” said Steffen Sorrell, senior analyst at Juniper Research and author of the report.


“The traffic system is integrated with emergency services, helping save lives. Meanwhile a £24m grant was used to plan smart CCTV rollout, using artificial intelligence to detect suspicious objects and terrorist activity.”


But Juniper warned that “significant hurdles” lie ahead for the UK smart city market. The report noted that the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Horizon 2020 have contributed over £23bn to the UK market over the past three years; after 2019, alternative funding will have to be found to replace them, the analyst said.


In turn, Juniper found that funding challenges bring with them issues in scaling projects, particularly for small-to-medium enterprises. Juniper urged the creation of more ‘test bed’ environments in cities, enabling experimentation prior to full roll-out.


This would allow more risk-averse players, such as utilities, to enable disruptive service providers to work in partnership with them to develop smart city solutions and new business models.


Juniper Research provides research and analytical services to the global hi-tech communications sector, providing consultancy, analyst reports and industry commentary.


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