More funding approved for ‘Smart’ innovation and research in Berkshire

More funding approved for ‘Smart’ innovation and research in Berkshire

30 January 2018

READING - The Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has awarded £1.73m of Local Growth Fund for a ‘Smart City Cluster’ project across the Thames Valley and to help realise the ‘Smart City’ vision. Peter Brett Associates assisted Reading Borough Council (RBC) in securing the funding which will also benefit Wokingham, Bracknell and West Berkshire.

The project, due to commence in January 2018, will be delivered by RBC, in collaboration with other partner authorities, with project management from PBA. The project will provide the digital infrastructure and funding to support a range of projects around transport, energy, environment and assisted living, benefiting residents and employees through supporting innovative companies.

David Parry-Jones, Director and Technology Lead for Thames Valley Berkshire LEP said:

“This is an important step-change for the LEP; investing in smart technology in addition to hard and digital infrastructure. The Smart City Cluster is intended to act as a catalyst for both the public sector and private sector.”

Simon Beasley, Network Manager at Reading Borough Council added:

“The scheme has the potential to attract funding for research, business investment and start-ups in developing smart products as well as delivering an assisted living element to improve the lives of those with mobility challenges. It is hoped that the project could also bring about significant environmental benefits in improved infrastructure network management services to smooth vehicle flow, improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and air quality risk.”

Rob McDonald, Director of ITS at Peter Brett Associates said:

“The purpose of this project is to support the development of smart city solutions to improve the quality of life in Berkshire and open up huge opportunities for the low-cost deployment of smart devices for business, developers and Local Authorities to use. The delivery of this project will improve cross-sector and cross-authority working, creating a stronger platform to secure smart city investment across the region."

Scott Witchalls, PBA Partner, commented:

“This is a welcome announcement that is a strong step forward in our adoption of the smart agenda. Reading already uses predictive systems for assessing transport trends and these systems have a much wider application. Smart technology can manage and use data to create a healthier and more sustainable future; adopting this technology will bring widespread community and economic benefits for the entire region and beyond.”

Smart technology has already being trialled across Reading through an EU-funded project called SIMON in which an app allows blue badge holders to remotely detect when disabled parking bays become available.