Gloucester wins prestigious innovation award for Marketing Gloucester initiative led by Cllr Jennie Watkins

A trailblazing combination of three key elements will make Gloucester one of the best connected cities in the UK

​CCTV, wi-fi and enhanced mobile communications are all part of a pioneering project which was launched by BT and Gloucester City Council in 2015 driven through by Cllr Jennie Watkins based on recommendations by the team at Marketing Gloucester, who lead on the digital strategy for the city.

The development – the first of its kind in the UK – included the introduction of a free public wi-fi service for tourists and people living and working in Gloucester city centre. Laptops, tablets and mobile devices will all be able to connect to it.

There is also be a new state-of-the-art CCTV service and control room, and improved mobile phone coverage for 4G and other new services.

City is on the ball with pioneering project

City is on the ball with pioneering project
Paul Coles is BT regional manager for Gloucestershire and the South West.

Councillor Jennie Watkins is cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods at Gloucester City Council.

 

Paul Coles says the project makes Gloucester one of the best connected cities in the UK.

He added: “It’s great to see Gloucester pioneering this approach. We hope to repeat it in other towns and cities.”

Installation of wireless access points and 50 new high-definition CCTV cameras has taken place across the city.

The new digital service  provides clearer images, enable security teams to zoom in on potential trouble spots, and gather evidence with high-quality images.

Councillor Jennie Watkins says the development is fantastic news for both locals and visitors to Gloucester – “Once it was evidenced to us by Marketing Gloucester that we could leverage the funding we had budgeted for CCTV to also provide a step change in WIFI and 4G digital infrastructure, it become obvious to me that we should seize the opportunity especially since it would allow us to pursue our goals for digital inclusion and to be a connected city.”

On the back of this innovative solution, Gloucester City Council scooped the prestigious Gordon McLanaghan Security Innovation Award at the MSC annual educational security seminar on Monday evening (14th November 2016) staged at the Bristol Hotel.  The independent chairman of the judging panel Professor Kamal Beckoum, the Head of School Computing and Technology at the University of Gloucester delivered the verdict of the judges at the formal dinner where he identified the multiple benefits the new Gloucester City Council CCTV system creates with a more secure environment (through higher quality CCTV) and a greater access to free public wifi along with improved 4G coverage

20161114 - Global MSC Bristol Hotel by Jon Craig @JonCraig_Photos 07778606070

The award was made by The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Jeff Lovell.

The photo shows (from L – R) Roger Hardiman (consultant), Amy Kedward (BCC Emergency Control Room Manager),Gill Ragon (Gloucester City Council), The Lord Mayor of Bristol, Jeff Lovell, Derek Maltby (MD – Global MSC Security), Andy Kilmurry, (Gloucester Police), Ed Pomfret (Gloucester City Council)

The council beat off stiff competition from Cumbria Police, the Metropolitan Police and North Somerset Council.

In addition to winning the prestigious Bristol Blue Glass Trophy, the winners were awarded a cheque to the value of £1,000.

 

https://www.btplc.com/BTToday/NewsList/Cityisontheballwithpioneeringproject/index.htm

 

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What UK can learn from 5G in USA, Korea and Japan. Gloucester – the ideal test-bed

Cellcos don’t need 5G for people to make phone calls – their existing 4G networks have more than enough bandwidth for that. Cellcos also don’t need 5G for IoT applications, except for uses such as smart cars and smart cities because most IoT devices use very little bandwidth – although some need the low-latency that 5G provides. What cellcos need is to make 5G economically feasible for them. For that cellcos need people to watch lots and lots of videos that take lots of bandwidth, especially 4K videos, live streaming, VR and AR. The thought of live streaming has cellcos drooling. Notice what Verizon said about one reason it paid almost $5 billion to acquire Yahoo – live streaming of sports.

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Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam recently confirmed that Verizon is on target for beginning its launch of a commercially available service in 2017 by saying, during a recap of the company’s financial returns, “we see the stars aligning very quickly when it comes to the 5G future.” He also said the FCC has finished its radio specifications, which makes it feasible to begin testing of technical components. McAdam said Verizon’s work with 5G and the millimeter wave spectrum it will use is “preparing us for a fixed commercial wireless fiber launch in 2017.” McAdam added that the FCC’s approval of Verizon’s spectrum lease deal with XO Communications provides a “clear spectrum path for 5G deployment.”

Verizon clearly has its 5G eye on wireless broadband to homes. McAdam said, “I think of 5G, initially as, in effect, wireless fiber. With wireless fiber, the so-called last mile can be a virtual connection dramatically changing our cost structure.” He said the most expensive part of deploying its FiOS fiber network is just outside and inside the home, an expense that would not exist with the use of 5G. He said that FiOS and 5G routers cost the same, but that 5G doesn’t use an optical network terminal (ONT) that is typically mounted on an outside wall. McAdam said Verizon expects there will be a significant cost reduction when 5G becomes available.

Verizon, together with Ericsson and Nokia, has been testing 5G in Dallas, New Jersey and Virginia. The speeds it’s getting are truly fantastic for a wireless cellular network. McAdams said that in its tests, it has been getting speeds above 1 Gbps at over 500 yards, which is more than enough for up to six 4K TV signals, six virtual reality units and multiple smartphones and tablets.

McAdam said Verizon’s now in the process of moving that work into the field, where it can start to cover 200-home developments. It will also look at some rural environments.

Unlike 3G, 4G and WiFi, 5G is said to have the latency and steadfastness that, until now, only wireline networks could offer.

McAdam didn’t say it specifically, but 5G, if it performs as promised, will substantially reduce the costs of building wireline broadband networks because telcos do not have to install any wiring within the last 100-500 or so yards (meters) of the home. Telcos and cablecos will still need to install fiber to within 100-500 yards of the home. At that point it will install a 5G cell, probably on a utility pole or building, and then a 5G-capable router in the home – no digging up streets and yards or installing wires on utility poles. Telcos could install fiber to an MDU (Multiplexer and Distribution Unit), of which the world has millions, and then install a 5G cell in or just outside the MDU to offer high-speed broadband to the MDU’s residences.

5G could serve broadband services providers as a wireless form of G.fast or VDSL broadband technologies – with no wires required. Cablecos, who already install fiber close to the residence, could also use 5G instead of installing coax to and inside the residence. It is still not clear whether service providers will use 5G to connect each device to the internet or whether the 5G cell will connect to a router in the home, which will then connect to each device via WiFi or a wireline home network.

Verizon boasts about having built the US’ “best” 4G network. It was the first major telco in the world to build an all-fiber network – albeit in only 70% of its copper wire footprint. The cost of installing fiber over the last mile to the home may have prevented it from going all-fiber throughout its entire wireline footprint. 5G could solve that problem. It could also allow Verizon to offer high-speed broadband outside its wireline footprint – wherever its recently acquired XO Communications fiber rings exist. That would for the first time put Verizon in direct competition with AT&T, who could also do the same by building more fiber networks to near residences. Verizon could become a nationwide broadband powerhouse, something that’s sure to have Comcast and AT&T thinking about doing the same.

Verizon is simultaneously building a media company with the AOL and Yahoo assets it acquired, a media company that it is positioning for streaming content to millions of consumers.

McAdam said Verizon can add 5G to its existing cellular network for very little additional cost because it will densify its existing 4G networks with small cells.

Verizon CFO and SVP Fran Shammo said 2017 will be a development year for 5G, but added that the FCC’s approval this week of its spectrum leases with XO could move up its deployments “to get to a commercial launch and actually start to generate revenue.” He said, “I think that will come in either very late 2017 or early 2018.”

Verizon said it will later on test use cases for mobile 5G that supports the “massive” scale and low-latency that IoT services require.

Other cellcos such as AT&T and Korea Telecom (KT) are working to begin deploying 5G sooner than its 2020 forecast date. AT&T is pressured by Verizon and AT&T’s own massive and costly effort to upgrade its aging wireline broadband network to all-fiber and to G.fast over existing copper phone wires to MDUs.

KT is pressured by the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics that South Korea is hosting. Japanese cellco NTT DoCoMo is testing 5G for the real-time transmission of 8K video. It completed tests with Nokia on May 19. The tests used beam-tracking techniques to transmit millimeter wavelength signals at the extremely high frequency of 70 GHz. The trial showed that 8K video of 48 Gbps, which is four times larger than 4K video and 32 times than 1080p HD, was transmitted without any delays. Japan hosts the 2020 summer Olympics and wants to show off wireless streaming of it in 8K.

Streaming videos, especially live streaming, is very important to Verizon’s wireless strategy. It said its $4.83 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s operating businesses will help it become a bigger player in mobile media. McAdam said Verizon sees “tremendous opportunity in the digital video marketplace” and “content creators and advertisers are hungry for alternatives as the market expands for both in-home and mobile consumption. Verizon intends to be a significant player in this space.”

Verizon especially likes sports videos because it can stream games over its Go90 network, cellular network, FiOS, AOL and Yahoo. McAdam said, “we view this as a waterfall of content moving down through our different properties.”

McAdam said Verizon is moving ahead with cities such as Boston, San Fran-cisco and others on a one-fiber strategy for both cellular and FiOS. He said, “no longer are discussions solely about local franchise rights, but how to make forward-looking cities more productive and effective” and that its deal to acquire XO’s 40 metro fiber rings in major cities is the key to this strategy.

Credit: http://rethinkresearch.biz/articles/verizon-will-first-use-5g-create-fixed-wireless-broadband-networks/

Why Gloucester is becoming a pathfinder for UK and global companies testing Digital High Street and Smart City initiatives

Gloucester is rapidly developing an international reputation as a pathfinder for UK and global companies testing Digital High Street and smart city initiatives. So what’s leading to the spotlight being shone on this small city, nestled at the foot of the Cotswolds?

No one can deny that there is a wind of change blowing across the retail environment, with national trends in the UK  showing a steady decline in footfall for many of the country’s towns and cities.  Following hot on the movement towards out of town developments, the impact of Internet shopping through giants such as Amazon has left many traditional shopping areas struggling to fill voids and on a downward spiral of lower footfall.

Local and national governmental orgnisations around the world have recognised the challenge and are attempting to address this with reports such as those produced by Mary Portas.

However with every challenge there comes opportunity, and it is an opportunity that those involved with managing the city of Gloucester were determined to grasp and to do so in such a way as to put the small city at the forefront of the development of technologies that  potentially could have a transformative effect on how residents and visitors will use their town and city centres in the future.

In 2014, Marketing Gloucester, the place making organisation for the city of Gloucester set out its aims to make the city the go to place for technology providers looking to develop smart city and digital high street solutions.

Jason Smith, CEO of Marketing Gloucester told us: “Gloucester is ideally suited to solution providers test bedding new technologies.  It is a relatively compact city, with a representative demographic and a high degree of innovation and good digital infrastructure.  It is a city that confirms with many of the norm baselines and so can provide an excellent modelling opportunity. Most importantly there is a team of people here who have built up a huge group of partners, including the University, private sector, and the local authority, who are happy to speedily adopt innovative products. By working with a wide range of partners we are rapidly building the jigsaw that will lead to digital solutions to support town and city centres and produce a seamless journey which will lead consumers from online to bricks and mortar”

Innovations

Some of the innovations that have taken place in just a few years have included Gloucester becoming one of the first in the world and the first city in the UK to adopt a three in one integrated solution with CCTV over IP, Free high-speed WIFI across the whole city and 4G being installed simultaneously.  This model won the city a prestigious Gordon McLanaghan Security Innovation Award and has since been adopted by Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leicester and Newcastle with others to follow.

Gloucester Councillor Jenny Watkins was instrumental in driving through the provision of this three in one solution and said “Once it was evidenced to us by Marketing Gloucester that we could leverage the funding we had budgeted for CCTV to also provide a step change in WIFI and 4G digital infrastructure, it become obvious to me that we should seize the opportunity especially since it would allow us to pursue our goals for digital inclusion and to be a connected city.”

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BT’s Paul Coles and Cllr jennie Dallimore at the launch of the UK’s first 3 in 1 solution

A recent survey of the City centre wifi showed that over 10 million people had potential access to this annually with speeds regularly being reported of up to 136 mbps – which equates to faster download speeds than most people achieve at home or at their place of work.

So what else has been going on in Gloucester that is building its reputation as the place to testbed digital high street and smart city technolgies?

In 2015 Gloucester became the first destination outside of the UK to partner with Google’s Niantic Labs on the FieldTrip™ app, which allows virtual, location based tourism information through cell phone, tablet or Google Glass.  Whilst Google Glass may have come and gone, the relationship between Marketing Gloucester and Niantic labs has shown real dividends during the recent Pokemon Go™ craze.

Pokemon Go™ is also produced by Naintic Labs and since much of the location data for Pokestops and Gyms was based on existing information uploaded for Fieldtrip™ and Niantic’s app Ingress™, Gloucester has an especially rich environment for Pokemon Go™ players which has attracted players from around the region, boosting the local economy.  Needless to say Marketing Gloucester, were not shy in capitalising on this through social media, and by educating and encouraging retailers to promote their businesses near Pokestops and gyms and quickly trained retailers how to use the opportunities by purchasing and using Pokemon “Lures”.  Gloucester cafe owner Nick Brookes reported “it was incredible the number of people who came and sat down in the cafe once we started using the Lures”

Prof. Richard Cuthbertson of Said Business School, University of Oxford has been examining Gloucester’s example as part of  a European wide study, he has praised the city’s approach commenting:

“In our research of European cities with a positive focus towards digital technologies, especially those involving small retailers, Gloucester is an excellent example. This city recognises the need for a independent, third party enabler in Marketing Gloucester, providing a long-term, single point of contact, developing the relevant digital and physical infrastructure with multiple means of access for customers and retailers, while utilising simple tools, all within a strategy for “place” that encompasses the individual flavour provided by local retailers and services.”

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Dr Richard Cuthberstson Said Business School, Prof Fabio Fulvio, of Italy’s retail organisation Confcommercio and Jason Smith CEO Marketing Gloucester

Two of the projects that are currently being implemented are those being developed by Rewarding Visits, which was granted £1 million from the UK Government, Innovate UK funding, and Maybe, a solution that is being delivered as part of the DCLG, Great British High Street Project.  Both of these are operating within the Digital high Street environment with the aim of encouraging purchasing to me made in bricks and mortar business rather than online.

Guy Chatburn, of Rewarding Visits, which won a £1 million Innovate UK grant to develop digital high street solutions comments “We chose Gloucester as the partner location for the third phase of the role out of our technology, primarily because alongside a great digital infrastructure, the city had a “can do” organisation like Marketing Gloucester that already had the trust of a wide range number of partners throughout the city which  it could rally together relatively easily in order to enable our project to happen.  They were especially good at helping us work with other organisations operating in complimentary areas such as Stagecoach and Trinity Mirror.  There was also a much lower learning curve as Gloucester has a team with a understanding of the tech and the issues facing towns and cities, and that has definitely lead to us having a much stronger offering in a shorter period of time”.

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One of eleven Digital Touchpoint booths, part of the Rewarding Visits solution to be installed across Gloucester March 2017

Polly Barnfield OBE of “Maybe*” backed this up saying “Gloucester has proven to be the perfect place for us to test our digital high street solution #WDYT, and the help from Marketing Gloucester, GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership and Gloucester City Council was instrumental in enabling us to successfully roll out our pathfinder project across the other conurbations in the county and now futher across the country.”

Marketing Gloucester is part funded by Gloucester City Council with a board made up with movers and shakers in the private sector and chaired by the Leader of Gloucester City Council Paul James who is justifiably proud of the progress in realising the aims to make the city the go to place for technology providers looking to develop smart city and digital high street solutions. Councillor James is ambitious to build on the successes to date, commenting “The world is just at the beginning of the transformational opportunities presented by digital technologies and its great that Gloucester is being viewed as the ideal place to test these. In fact the city has a history of innovation in digital and high performance technologies, including being the home to Fasthost (UKreg owned by United Internet), Amazon’s Print on Demand service, Raytheon’s recently opened cyber security division, and Tidal Lagoon Power. We are open to working with those looking for a compact city to testbed their technologies”

Marketing Gloucester is also currently working with the Local Data Company (LDC) who with University of London are developing next generation footfall data collection and reporting,  combined with their current retail dashboard.  There are plans for Gloucester to have the highest number in the UK of LDC sensors generating data that will help retailers and place management teams intelligently model the city.

What next?

So what for the future?  Jason Smith says that he is keen to continue building relationships with technology solution providers to build the jigsaw that will deliver a unified digital, place-based, solution for bricks and mortar retailers, and he mentioned Facebook and IBM as being targets for partnership.  He enthusiastically responds when asked about the long term goals “this is all about letting tech companies know that Gloucester is the ideal place to test their technologies from the point of view of physical environment, infrastructure and partners already operating in the city.  This is a city where we present solutions not problems to businesses wanting to be involved and we welcome new partners”

It is clear that Gloucester has very ambitious plans to be a smart city, and from talking to those involved, it looks like they might achieve it.

Follow updates:

#digitalhighstreet @jasonijsmith