The council has drawn up a wide-ranging digital strategy targeting a number of areas as part of a wider aspiration to provide smarter, connected experiences for people living in, working in, or visiting the town.
Cisco’s Kinetic platform – recently renamed from Smart+Connected – is already well in use in a number of other cities around the world, including Manchester, where it is underpinning the CityVerve project exploring smart transport and CO₂ emissions, and Jaipur in India, where it is being used to help improve public safety.
Ultimately, the council hopes to build a new technology hub in Southend, capitalising on Cisco’s growing expertise in providing connectivity to underpin smart cities. It is also planning to introduce a number of ecosystem partners to develop new smart city initiatives on the Kinetic platform.
“Innovation is vital to the UK’s success as a global nation, and we are delighted to be playing a key role in this. We want to further enable our citizens and businesses to grow and evolve, in line with the rest of the UK and with competition globally,” said Nick Corrigan, head of digital futures at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
“With Cisco’s proven expertise in the developing smart cities and technology sector, it is the perfect partner to help drive this initiative forward and demonstrate the potential of our borough. We are looking forward to the collaboration and seeing our local residents and stakeholders realise the opportunities digitisation can offer.”
In Southend, the council plans to use Kinetic to architect several initiatives. It has already announced a number of pilots based around community safety, such as building an intelligence hub with IP-based public safety systems that will use CCTV and advanced video analytics.
It has also announced smart traffic access and parking management, which will use data systems that it has already deployed to ease congestion; resident support in connected care homes and healthcare applications; environmental monitoring and management, using internet of things (IoT) tech to address air quality; and energy management, to explore how to bring down power consumption in the town.
“The ambition to share the benefits of digital technologies shouldn’t be limited to organisations or even big cities,” said Cisco UK and Ireland head of smart cities and IoT, Stuart Higgins.
“What Southend-on-Sea Borough Council aims to achieve is testament to that, and we are thrilled to be working with them and our partners to help enhance the lives of people who live, work and visit the town,” he added.