Edinburgh asks children for smart city ideas

  • February 18, 2020
  • imc

School pupils across Edinburgh are being asked to come up with creative ways of using technology to tackle local issues and help transform their hometown into a smart city as part of a partnership with local businesses and organisations.
CityFibre, City of Edinburgh Council and the University of Edinburgh’s Data Education in Schools programme will deliver the smart city-focused IoT pilot to primary and secondary school year groups across the Scottish capital.
Aiming to enhance the number of children using data science education in schools, pupils will develop their understanding of data-driven technology for a range of issues both inside and outside the school environment. This could see pupils develop ways of monitoring air quality in playgrounds, improve the use of digital technology in classrooms or examine digital methods for managing traffic flow across the city.
The project will kick off in schools in spring and a number of pupils will be invited to attend a smart cities event in Edinburgh in May to showcase their ideas. As part of the initiative, CityFibre will also provide schools in Edinburgh with IoT technology kits over the next 12 months. This will help pupils practice solving problems using sensors and data analysis, with some of the data they’ll be collecting travelling over the CityFibre network.
The announcement was made at an event in Edinburgh’s Royal Scots Club, which brought civic and business communities together to discuss how improved digital connectivity would soon transform everyday life for people across the city.
“We can’t wait to hear about the creative ideas school pupils have to use IoT technologies and make the most of Edinburgh’s new full fibre infrastructure,” said Elaine Doherty, CityFibre’s city manager for Edinburgh. “While most schools and City of Edinburgh Council buildings have been connected to full fibre, construction is well underway to extend the benefits of a full fibre network to almost every home and business across the city with the first homes to be connected next month.”
Work is underway on the city-wide full fibre network that should deliver benefits to communities across Edinburgh. CityFibre is investing more than £100m to deliver the project, which will give almost every home and business access to full fibre connectivity.
“We are delighted to be working with CityFibre to deliver this exciting IoT project to schools across the region,” said Judy Robertson, chair in digital learning at the University of Edinburgh. “The project will encourage young people to think about how they can use sensors and data to understand their environment and to develop tools that can improve their local communities, learning how data can be used for good. The project is a fantastic addition to our Data Education for Schools project.”
She said that bringing business, schools and the university together ensured that young people were provided with skills and confidence to take full advantage of the opportunities provided within a data driven society.
Council leader Adam McVey added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people across Edinburgh to explore how digital technology can change the way we live our lives, and to help us come up with data-driven solutions for some of the challenges facing the capital. Thanks to this partnership with CityFibre and the University of Edinburgh, the next generation of problem-solvers will gain the skills needed to deliver a truly smart city for the future.”
The picture shows from the left: Phil Cragg, Deloitte smart city specialist; Andy Starnes, head of city development at CityFibre; Frank Airth, city manager at Vodafone; Elaine Doherty, CityFibre’s city manager for Edinburgh; Jenni Doonan, business developer at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Education, Community & Society; Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce; and Andrew Kerr, chief executive of the City of Edinburgh Council.