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Nokia joins UK’s Bristol Is Open smart city solutions initiative

Nokia has joined the Bristol Is Open initiative, becoming the first major telecoms vendor to participate in Bristol's unique living laboratory and underlining its commitment to smart city solutions, an increasingly important part the connected world.

Bristol Is Open (BIO) encompasses the entire city, effectively transforming it into a dynamic test bed to explore how integrated technology solutions can benefit citizens - from helping solve problems such as traffic congestion, air pollution and assisted living for the elderly to trials of self-driving cars. BIO is a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council and it is funded by local and national government and the European Union, along with academic research funding and financial backing from the private sector.

Nokia was invited to join the project because of its track record in developing solutions for smart, sustainable cities, and its long history of collaborative research, including the Nokia-founded IoT Community for cross-industries collaboration.

Experts from across the company - including Nokia Bell Labs, who already have a strong relationship with Bristol University, particularly in the area of photonics - will provide consulting services to Bristol Is Open, while Nokia's IP networking division will provide network and infrastructure support. In addition, Nokia's application ecosystem program ngConnect will bring an extensive range of additional applications, ideas and companies into the BIO development program.

Small sensors, including the smartphones and, in the future, GPS devices of willing citizens, will supply information about many aspects of city life, including energy, air quality and traffic flows to the three new fast networks in the centre of the city. The high-powered operating system developed by Bristol University will dynamically host this machine-to-machine communication, allowing the development of a wide range of applications that are linked to the various sensors and actuators deployed across the city.

The BIO initiative was spurred by the continual need for sustainable growth, taking into account an increased awareness of pollution and the City Council's desire to offer an improved range of services to its citizens. The initiative promotes smart city growth within the UK and across Europe as governments seek to meet environmental targets.    

Barry French, Nokia's chief marketing officer, said: "There is a great deal of talk around smart cities, but there are not many places where talk has led to action. This innovative program will show what can be achieved by bringing together experts from various technology areas to deliver integrated solutions that actually improve people's lives, a fundamental principle driving our everyday work."