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US tech firm launches initiative to help UK seaside town become ‘smart’

US multinational technology firm Cisco has announced that it has agreed to collaborate with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in a bid to help the seaside town become 'smart'. Cisco announced that it will work closely with local officials to explore the digital future of the scenic costal town which is located close to London.

The council has devised an ambitious digital strategy that aims to create new solutions for energy saving, carbon reduction, innovation and sustainable growth. Its primary objective is to create 'smart', connected experiences for its residents and citizens and for tourists visiting Southend.

In addition to this, it has been disclosed that they also aim to reduce costs and increase communication and interactions with citizens and businesses across the borough. Head of Digital Futures, Southend-on-Sea, Nick Corrigan, said it wanted to make the town 'smarter' in a bid to boost business, tourism and primarily to improve the lives of those who reside there.

Corrigan said, "Innovation is vital to the UK's success as a global nation, and we are delighted to be playing a key role in this. We want to further enable our citizens and businesses to grow and evolve, in line with the rest of the UK and with competition globally. We are looking forward to the collaboration and seeing our local residents and stakeholders realize the opportunities digitization can offer."

It has been revealed that the project will utilize Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform in a bid to investigate further the role of digital technologies in improving the delivery of services, economic growth and citizen engagement through the implementation of networking technologies.

Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform has been showcased in some of the various cities across the world. The technology has been implemented in Manchester's CityVerve project in a bid to help monitor CO2 levels and to develop 'smart transportation solutions' in an effort to improve public safety through a smart and connected platform in Jaipur, India. The ultimate objective of this initiative between Cisco and the UK seaside town is to create a technology hub in a location central to London, and local officials believe leveraging Cisco's expertise in smart city development will help them enhance connectivity, data and security.

To address the number of challenges facing the town, the council's plan is to take a holistic approach to the project. The initiative will involve a number of ecosystem partners that will have solutions built on Cisco's platform in order to ensure data and initiatives are connected. The project will focus on several pilot initiatives ranging from community safety, smart traffic, smart parking, resident support, environmental management and energy management.

Stuart Higgins, Head of Smart Cities and Internet of Things at Cisco said the revolutionary benefits of digital transformation shouldn't be limited to major cities. Higgins said, "The ambition to share the benefits of digital technologies shouldn't be limited to organizations or even big cities," What Southend-on-Sea Borough Council aims to achieve is testament to that, and we are thrilled to be working with our partners to help enhance the lives of people who live, work and visit the town."