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NextGen Reaches ‘Beyond Smart’ at Intelligent Cities Conference


A digital event in Bradford is set to explore how investment in new technologies will transform city economies. Key decision makers will meet at the NextGen Intelligent Cities Conference and Expo to highlight how local, regional and national businesses can boost the economy by exploiting advanced digital infrastructures.

The event at the Coral Windows Stadium on 15 July will put Bradford in the national spotlight by showcasing its forward-thinking stance and ongoing work in its endeavour to become a truly intelligent community after being awarded the status of Super Connected City by the Government in 2012. It is expected that many other cities will also learn from Bradford’s long term plans in areas such as broadband access and open data.

Highly influential speakers from the world of innovation and smart cities will host a number of sessions throughout the day, including a keynote by Professor Brian Cantor, Vice Chancellor at the University of Bradford. A debate between Rashik Parmar, President of IBM Academy of Technology, Nada Nohrova, Researcher at Centre for Cities, Jonathan Speed, Urban Development Programme Manager at Future Cities Catapult and Tom Riordan, Chief Executive at Leeds City Council will begin the day, with the four speakers aiming to extinguish any confusion over what makes a city smart and a community intelligent.

“It is important that smart initiatives, such as smart meters and open data platforms, are integrated into cities alongside their existing economic development plans to be able to promote economic growth and secure a better quality of life for citizens,” said Ms Nohrova, speaking ahead of the conference. “Unfortunately a lot of cities do not yet fully embrace new technologies and we believe this is partly due to a lack of consensus on what becoming a smart city truly means.”

The Intelligent Cities Conference will act as a platform for Bradford and the Yorkshire Enterprise Network to showcase its innovative business and academic sectors and highlight the best practices in public sector service delivery. John Duncan, Business Development Officer at Super Connected Cities at Leeds City Council will give a presentation on SMEs and Super Connected Cities, introducing the Connectivity Voucher Scheme and providing local case studies for businesses to learn from. Mark Collins, Director of Strategy and Policy at CityFibre, and Graeme Scott, Technical Account Manager at Independent Fibre Networks Ltd, will also discuss the rise of the Gigabit City Movement and describe how future proofing new-build developments will help cities become smarter.

“The event has already attracted a wide range of organisations across the UK, from investors and developers, to service providers and specialist technology companies that otherwise might not have a reason to visit Bradford and see what investment and sales opportunities there are,” explained Andrew Macdonald, Director of NextGen Events Ltd. “The time is now for smart development in cities and our line up of speakers will highlight ideas and case studies on how this can be achieved.”

Topics including green technologies, healthcare, mobile advances and M2M capabilities will also be explored at the event. Presentations by Craig Johnson, Higher Education Programme Manager at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Adam Lusby, Founder of CE-optimal, will introduce ideas surrounding the circular economy framework and explain the shift from the “city as a machine” metaphor to the “city as a metabolism.”

Hosted by the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and with academic and research sponsorship from the University of Bradford, the Intelligent Cities Conference and Expo is free to attend for all pre-registered delegates.

Welcoming this influential event, Bradford Council leader David Green said: “Digital technologies are transforming the way we live and will help the council to improve the delivery of vital public services that residents, businesses and communities depend on.”

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