Recreating TV's “How Refreshing” … moment

04 December 2015
An Amey employee in PPE, carrying out an inspection.

Smart city platform launched to aid collaborative infrastructure planning

Leading public and regulated services provider Amey, together with Staffordshire County Council have received funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK to streamline works on the highway by combining its programme of works with planning information from utility providers and telecommunications companies on a ‘smart city’ platform.

Together with CSC, Staffordshire University, Elgin, Future Cities Catapult and Tenshi Partners, the team will be recreating one of the classic ‘Heineken moments’ from the brewer’s iconic "how refreshing... " TV adverts of the 1990s. The advert featured a team of road workers in a hole dug in a busy street, with utility companies, and contractors co-ordinating their work.

The collaborative 18-month project will design, prototype, develop and trial a new spatial planning service across Staffordshire using an innovative smart city platform developed by CSC.

The technology allows the analysis of a diverse set of data sources including future plans and maintenance information, presenting the results on a map to allow the planners to see the context in which the works will be carried out. The platform will highlight where it thinks opportunities for joint works could be, allowing the planners to scale the number of delivered joint works beyond what they can achieve manually today.

The main aim of the project is to promote new ways of working to reduce the cost of delivery of core city services, reduce the impact on the environment and the local economy as well as reducing disruption, and inconvenience to the citizen.

Rick Robinson IT Director, Smart Data and Technology at Amey said; “By combining cross-industry collaborative working with smart technology we can truly revolutionise the way works are programmed across the infrastructure network. Maintaining the physical highways network hasn’t changed much over the last decade however our ability to access analytics and data, is allowing us to profoundly change the services we deliver, providing economic, environmental and social benefits to our clients and end users.

“In the digital economy people everywhere are finding new ways for data and technology to support their businesses and communities and so we will work collaboratively with the County Council and Staffordshire University to help local innovators and businesses engage with the Smart City platform and the data it contains.”

James Bailey, Staffordshire County Council’s Commissioner for Highways, said: “Keeping a county the size of Staffordshire on the move can be a challenge at times, especially when you have to factor in highways maintenance, major developments, utility and telecom projects and emergency work – sometimes all at once.

“We have always aimed to co-ordinate work in the highways and this project is a fantastic opportunity to utilise the rapid developments in technology to map and programme works even more intelligently to minimise costs, disruption and inconvenience further.”

Mike Jones, Managing Partner at CSC said: "We are delighted to be working with Amey and the team, using CSC's technology and know-how to provide the smart city platform for this innovative project. There is plenty of hype about digital and smart but we prefer to focus on practical applications like this project which have the potential to deliver practical benefits for stakeholders, in this case: local government, business and the community."   

Richard Nickson from Elgin said: “Project Heineken will show how coordinating works planning can be achieved easily and cheaply via cloud based web services and the use by Councils, Utilities and Contractors of a common data hub with which all Streetworks systems can communicate.”