Civica pilots smart technology in Belfast parks
‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ initiative trial is part of the Council’s Smart Belfast programme
Civica, a market leader in business-critical software applications, digital solutions and managed services, is taking part in a smart pilot project to help Belfast City Council manage its parks and open spaces.
The ‘Amazing Spaces, Smart Places’ initiative will be trialled for two weeks as part of the Council’s Smart Belfast programme to gain a deeper understanding of how residents and visitors alike use green spaces in the city.
Following a competition launched in October 2018, five companies including Civica were selected to explore how data and innovative cloud technologies can help Belfast City Council manage its open spaces, looking at safety and usage issues, alongside encouraging more visitors.
Civica’s Belfast-based Innovation Team created the ParkKeepr solution for the competition, based on the company’s SensAI cloud software. Civica’s pilot project is based in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens and uses a network of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to track anonymous WiFi connection data to record footfall and better understand the flow of people through the park. Following the pilot, Civica will provide analysis and data reports into flow and occupancy which will help the Council make better informed decisions for the future.
Councillor John Kyle, deputy chair of Belfast City Council’s People and Communities Committee, said: “We’re committed to working creatively with companies to encourage innovation in areas such as big data and new technologies, to come up with smart solutions to everyday challenges for our city.
“This pilot project gives us a unique opportunity to capture important data which will help Council improve how it manages our city parks and open spaces, and further enhance the experience for all users.”
Mark Owens, Managing Director, Northern Ireland for Civica added: "We’re delighted to be working with Belfast City Council on this challenge to explore how cutting-edge cloud technologies can help build better and safer parks and community spaces. We look forward to seeing the results alongside the potential to innovate and collaborate further on digital projects across the city in the future.
Phase one trials are taking place in Botanic Gardens, Victoria Park, Connswater Greenway, Girdwood Community Hub sports pitches and City Cemetery. The projects use a range of technologies to capture and analyse data including IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and community currency apps.
The project has been jointly funded by Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice via the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), as well as funding from Dublin City Council.
The Civica Group’s leading innovation programmes cover a range of technologies from robotic process automation to IoT, connected devices, AI, and blockchain programmes, helping organisations transform the way they work. Civica has recently partnered with the University of Bath to back the training of the next generation of AI leaders, exploring ideas in accountable, responsible and transparent AI.