Smart cities
Smart cities

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Smart cities

5.3.2 HyperCat

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Figure 11

HyperCat [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is a consortium set up by a group of 40 UK-based tech firms that aims to create an inclusive one-stop shop of best practice on the IoT implementation. How does this work?

It is creating a standard that lets applications ask data hubs about the types of data they hold and about the permissions required to ask about the data type. For smart cities to exploit advances in technology they must be built on open foundations, not foundations that lock a city and its citizens into proprietary technologies and standards. Interoperability is the ‘ability of systems to provide services to and accept services from other systems and to use the services so exchanged to enable them to operate effectively together’ (BSI, 2014b). Interoperability between technologies is essential if a smart city is to scale up from pilot projects to citywide initiatives. The specification being created by HyperCat therefore aims to solve the interoperability problem of the IoT by allowing devices to interact with each other. It is being turned into a standard by the BSI to sit alongside existing standards.

The #HyperCatCity initiative, backed by Innovate UK, will see local city governments adapting Hypercat to underpin IoT projects, such as those being deployed in London, Bristol and Milton Keynes. #HyperCatCity will build on the HyperCat IoT specification for open and interoperable IoT technologies that ensure systems are able to work together. It will focus on creating showcase solutions in smart energy, smart water, smart transport, smart waste, and smart security and resilience. It is anticipated that these areas will provide substantial value to cities, and solutions have the potential to scale globally to all urban environments.

In London HyperCat was originally designed to support the development of the London Infrastructure Plan 2050, which is looking at London’s future infrastructure needs and how they’ll be financed. It has been added to London’s open data platform, the London Datastore. In Bristol, the city council and the University of Bristol are using it in Bristol is Open, a city-scale research and development test-bed with high-speed broadband, sensor-mesh network and Wi-Fi, for delivering smart city solutions. In Milton Keynes the council has been working with BT, The Open University and other MK:Smart partners to adopt HyperCat, using it for projects that encourage smarter parking, street lighting and waste disposal.

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