The UK city of Hull will soon achieve smart city status, becoming the first in the country to get its own operating system.

Developed by Connexin and with support from Cisco, the operating system known as CityOS will form an internet of things (IoT) base layer for the city’s infrastructure, enabling all aspects of the city’s infrastructure added to, monitored from and controlled by the central system.

Data from traffic, parking, smart lighting and waste management, as well as Wi-Fi hotspots around Hull, will be added to the smart city platform. This will enable council services to centralised and monitored, improving the performance of services and the overall operation of the city.

It will also see data currently held and managed by distinct council departments brought together for the first time, enabling improvements across a host of government services, including social care and traffic management.

This will initially allow residents to receive live data on the best transport, traffic and parking options, with more services set to become available as the system expands.

Hull smart city to enhance citizen wellbeing

It is hoped that making Hull a smart city will improve the wellbeing of residents, enabling currently hard-to-spot issues with the city’s infrastructure to be easily identified and tackled.

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“Developing Hull as a Smart City will give us the opportunity to work with public and private sector partners to deliver real benefits to communities, businesses and visitors to Hull,” said Councillor Daren Hale, deputy leader of Hull City Council.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering up with our home city and are committed to making Hull a world-leading Smart City to foster economic development and enhance many aspects of liveability, workability and sustainability,” added Furqan Alamgir, founder and CEO of Connexin.

It is hoped that over time it will enhance the technological opportunities within Hull, as businesses see the benefits of operating from a smart city.

“As the project develops, it will create a demand for new digitally skilled workforce in the city, so we will need to invest in skills and training for younger generations so they are prepared for the new types of jobs that will be created in the digital sector,” said Hale.

Creating a “programmable city”

Giving Hull an operating system also creates an opportunity for a step-change in how the city is managed.

“Our platform will enable Hull to become a ‘programmable city’ and move from outdated siloed service driven technologies to a central platform to improve service delivery, reduce costs and to make the most of new technologies such as IoT, AI and machine learning algorithms,” said Alamgir.

“When you start to think of a city as programmable, there is opportunity to not only improve individual services with technology, but use combined data insight from those services to create a holistic, actionable view for local authorities,” added  Scot Gardner, chief executive of Cisco UK & Ireland.

“Hull City Council are investing in the future of their city to help it become one of the smartest in the world, and we’re delighted to be a part of that with Connexin.”

Read more: How data is powering smart city micromobility and public transport