The exploration of how technology could help address Greater Cambridge’s challenges really began in 2012 when Cambridgeshire County Council entered the ‘Future Cities’ competition run by the TSB (now innovate UK). Cambridge was successful in the first round which funded a feasibility study. https://connect.innovateuk.org/documents/3130726/3794125/Feasibility+Study+-+Cambridge+City+Council.pdf/88cb6c99-23b7-4046-9dc9-08b48260b6dd
Unfortunately we were unsuccessful in the second round with most of the funding £24m going to Glasgow http://futurecity.glasgow.gov.uk/ but also Bristol http://www.bristolisopen.com/ , London http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/smart_london_plan.pdf and Peterborough http://www.peterboroughdna.com/ receiving smaller amounts.
In 2014 the Connecting Cambridgeshire http://www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk/ programme established a ‘Future Digital’ work stream which was set up to look at how new and emerging technologies can help to deliver service better across the county, including transport, city management, health and social care etc. As part of this work we began to look at emerging ‘Smart Cities’ technologies, including the ‘Internet of Things’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_Things .
Our first step was to begin to map out the entire connected infrastructure (link to connected Infras map) within the city showing how it’s connected and what it’s connected too. This map informed a workshop that we held with the University of Cambridge and local tech companies to begin to think out about what could be achieved if we broke infrastructure out of its silos and started to get infrastructure to work in a more co-ordinated way.
We also began to work with a number of partners to explore setting up some pilots and developing projects when opportunities arose. Although not all of these ideas developed into pieces of work they formed the basis of the current programme (link to project).
The next step was to formalise the programme and to think about governance. The most obvious place for the work to sit was within the City Deal http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/citydeal/ structure as the work was complimentary to the proposed city deal programme and would help to deliver its aims and objectives. Having briefed city deal assembly and board members on Smart Cities, we began the process of asking City Deal partners to approve ‘Smart Cambridgeshire’ becoming part of the City Deal with a final decision being made at the 4th of Aug board meeting.http://scambs.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g6549/Public%20reports%20pack%20Tuesday%2004-Aug-2015%2014.00%20Greater%20Cambridge%20City%20Deal%20Executive%20Board.pdf?T=10
Having established Smart Cambridgeshire as a work stream our next step is to deliver on the six objectives set out on the Smart Cambs home page.