Belfast On Road to Smart City Status

Belfast is joining the ranks of the smart city with the installation of connected street furniture that could put it on the path to eventual V2X capability.

The Northern Ireland capital is the first place in the UK to deploy the technology from specialist company, Pulse Smart Hubs. The first in a proposed network of connected street portals has been installed in the project run jointly with the local authority and telecoms hubs designer and builder the Urban Innovation Company and is funding the project to the tune of £3M ($3.8M).

Belfast City Council have granted permission for 25 of the smart hubs so far with planning applications pending to make a network of 30 hubs throughout the city. The network has been launched with the first kiosk installed in Howard Street with 15 of the 25 hubs now live. The other 10 will be installed and switched on over coming weeks.

Among several features provide by these hubs are:

  • An easy-to-use defibrillator for public emergency use;
  • Air quality sensors to monitor urban pollution levels;
  • An emergency services button connected directly to the police, fire and medical services;
  • Free-to-use touchscreen to access local maps, services, facilities and visitor information;
  • Free public WiFi;
  • Free local and national calls, plus mobile phone charging and scope for mobile data offloading.

Patrick Fisher, founder and CEO of London-based Urban Innovation Company, said: “In the age of the smart city, street furniture must do more to earn its place on the High Street. A network of beautifully designed and engineered hubs that provide next generation connectivity, share information, track the environment, and ultimately, save lives.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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