CityVerve is the UK’s demonstrator for Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities. It aims to build and deliver a smarter, more connected Manchester. Creating a city that is a better place to work, rest and play helped by pioneering use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. A city is brought to life by the people that live, work and play at the heart of it. This project isn’t really about streets, buildings or buses. Nor is it just about giving cutting edge connectivity to sensors and devices. It isn’t about ‘things’ at all, it’s about people. And this isn’t just a reality for Manchester; CityVerve hopes to create tools and a way of doing things that can replicated in cities around the world.
FutureEverything in CityVerve
FutureEverything is project lead in three strands of CityVerve: human centred design, citizen engagement, and culture and public realm.
Human centred design
Human centred design puts the focus on real problems people have, and solutions that people will want to use. FutureEverything will work closely with a small number of CityVerve project teams over two years, and provide training to the rest. They will be introduced to human centred and participatory design methods, and then supported to introduce them during design, deployment and analysis. This will develop understanding of users, tasks and environments to inform technology and use case development, through ongoing user engagement, requirements gathering, a focus on user experience, and through user-centred evaluation.
FutureEverything is proposing a number of strategies to build ownership among residents, and give people a voice in the project. A citizen forum and meet ups will enable local people and interest groups to meet with and engage the project teams. Community champions will support user research and help to engage communities in the participatory design. We also propose to engage citizens in defining and measuring success criteria for the project.
Culture and public realm
CityVerve stands out because culture and public realm is one of the four project themes, alongside energy, health and transport. FutureEverything is theme lead, and is delivering itself two art projects. A group of artists will be recruited through a linked project, FAULT LINE. They will then be commissioned to develop two artworks, which bring to life, animate and question the social issues and technologies in CityVerve.
CityVerve and the project ideas
CityVerve is funded by InnovateUK (£10M), led by the City of Manchester and made up of 18 partners including Cisco, MSP and FutureEverything.
CityVerve will develop and implement 16 individual projects, and these are now being defined. Project ideas to date include:
Talkative bus stops
- CityVerve will convert ‘flag and pole’ bus stops into safe places with location-based services, sensors/beacons, mobile apps and intelligent digital signage. People will check-in to their bus stop and let bus operators know they are waiting for their service.
Management of chronic respiratory conditions
- CityVerve will set up a ‘biometric sensor network’ which will help improve responses to patients’ conditions and improve how local healthcare services work.
- A network of sensors positioned in parks, along commuter and school routes will track the progress of individuals and teams competing against each other for physical activity and fun. Examples include the “Great Space Race Challenge” for Manchester residents to walk to the moon.
- Manchester, like many cities, is seeing a growth of traffic and congestion. To reduce car use, alternative forms of transport need to be attractive and safe. Smart lighting, in addition to connected street lighting, will help address this.
- The Manchester Corridor through-route will soon become bus and bike only. Bike sharing schemes can be expensive to install and maintain, and so an alternative is to use Internet of Things enabled bikes in a crowd-sourced and maintained, secure bike sharing service. It will also include ‘e-cargo’ bikes to make ‘last-mile’ deliveries on the Corridor.
Smart air-quality monitoring
- Street furniture and connectivity infrastructure such as lamp posts and street cabinets on the Manchester Corridor will be used to monitor air quality at different heights and locations. Information will be passed to those with health conditions and made generally available to support walking options and routes.
- An online social network access through local wi-fi hotspots, giving access to cultural events as well as community and commercial services.
How to get involved
Watch out for announcements on CityVerve events and activities!