Citylabs

Smart building pilot plugs into Citylabs

Paul Unger

CityVerve, the Manchester internet of things initiative with £10m government funding, has made its first physical installation of data-monitoring equipment, at Manchester Science Partnership’s Citylabs 1.0 on Oxford Road.

Sensors provided by Asset Mapping, a property technology supplier, will produce data for lighting, security, power usage at the 100,000 sq ft commercial building to help the landlord maintain it more efficiently.

In the next two years, Asset Mapping, with MSP, Bruntwood, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Manchester will connect a minimum of nine buildings in the Oxford Road area, where CityVerve is based in MSP offices.

CityVerve was awarded £10m by government in December 2015 to fund work in smart city research and development, especially around health, energy, environment, transport and culture. If successful, the project will be used as a pilot with the best ideas replicated around the country.

Asset Mapping connected a secure internet of things monitor to the building management system of Citylabs 1.0. The monitor provides a constant stream of live data from all heating, cooling and ventilation systems throughout the building.

The next steps are to complete the mapping of all equipment that is used to operate Citylabs 1.0, including energy and security, as well as to install additional IoT sensors to gain further intelligence.

Once all the individual systems are connected, and the data is made available via Asset Mapping’s web application, operators and facilities managers will be able to make informed decisions to run buildings better.

Rowena Burns, chief executive of MSP, said: “MSP wants to establish a partnership with Asset Mapping that we can extend to other projects and other buildings. We want to use Citylabs as a testing ground to create best practices and standards for useful innovation within smart buildings and smart cities.”

CityVerve projects included in its successful funding bid were:

  • 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
  • Community wellness – 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’
  • 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
  • Smart lighting – 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.
  • Bike sharing – The Oxford Road 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 Oxford Road 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

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