The first joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol has been announced (press release). In a move to combine University research and advanced technology with council owned infrastructure, the company will develop an innovative high-performance, high-speed network in Bristol.
The company, known as Bristol Is Open, will be established by the collaboration between both organisations, subject to it being approval by the council’s Cabinet on 3rd February.
This new initiative will create an experimental high-speed network where technology companies, research organisations and SMEs will be able to develop and experiment with the next generation of network technology, whilst creating a real-world testbed to help understand issues such as mobility, health and energy efficiency in the modern city.
With funding secured from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Innovate UK, Bristol Is Open will seek to capture information about many aspects of city life, including energy, air quality and traffic flows. This is made possible by a unique City Operating System (CityOS), developed over the last five years by Professor Dimitra Simeonidou and colleagues in the University’s High Performance Networks research group.
Whether the CityOS mentioned above is any relation to the CityOS developed by Marc Pous is currently unknown. Perhaps either the city council or the University would care to provide clarification in the comments below.
If approved, Bristol Is Open will enable the trialling of new technologies in a range of industries including broadcasting, entertainment and culture (is culture an industry? Ed.. The project will also benefit the development of autonomous systems, robotics and advanced manufacturing in Bristol.
Stephen Hilton, Director of the council’s Bristol Futures team, said: “The coming together of the city council and the university in this historic joint venture is an opportunity for Bristol to offer the country a platform to face the difficulties of modern urban living head on. Growing city populations, climate change and scarcer resources are but a few of the growing problems cities face from Bristol to Bordeaux to Porto. Bristol Is Open will provide a test bed that enables researchers, companies and organisations from around the country to come together in the spirit of innovation, with the aim of exploring solutions on a city wide scale.”
Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol, added: “Bristol Is Open will enable the people of Bristol to interact, work and play with their city. The project is a unique opportunity for the University and city council to work together to ensure the city is at the forefront of technological innovation.
“The University has invested £12 million in its Advanced Computing facilities since 2006, making it one of the country’s leading centres and its supercomputer is a resource for the whole city.”