London and Bristol take Smart Cities crown

London and Bristol have been named as the two smartest cities in the UK, thanks to their "urban innovations."

Huawei's Smart City index praised London's congestion charge scheme and other transport innovations, and the London Datastore, while Bristol's "Bristol Is Open" project helped contribute to its success as a smart city.

The latter scheme brings together the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and industry partners to create an entire network of innovation around the city, improving services for residents of the city.

Huawei noted that five trends were recognised when finding the UK's most impressive smart cities and exploring the schemes up and running around the UK. These were the importance of leadership and vision, a need to focus on local priorities and strengths, the importance of engagement with local communities, building local partnerships and understanding the way in which the data revolution can improve services and boost innovation.

"The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index highlights cities developing innovative digital projects and measures how well they are performing against each other," Ed Vaizey MP, Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy said.

"I hope it will encourage city leaders to share best practice and promote competition, because smarter use of data and technology drives growth and delivers a better quality of life. The Government strongly supports the Smart Cities sector, through the Future Cities Catapult and the Internet of Things City Demonstrator programme, and we welcome this report."

Third place went to Birmingham, while Glasgow, Manchester, and Milton Keynes followed closely behind.

"We wanted to understand how well advanced these schemes were and where lessons could be learnt between them," Gordon Luo, Huawei UK CEO, commented.

"The Huawei UK Smart Cities Index shows that, right now, Britain is one of the most advanced countries in Europe in this field. But it's still early days and there is more work to do to build more effective partnerships between city authorities and technology providers, and in making the benefits of smart city technology apparent to a greater number of citizens."

However, Huawei noted that more innovation is needed to keep the UK a hotbed for smart technologies and the next generation of smart city projects should demonstrate measurable outcomes and sound business cases, while also showing how information can be shared among other cities in the country.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.