Sheffield streets come to life as city’s highway network gets UK’s latest smart tech overhaul

Tottie Faragher, Senior Media & External Affairs Manager
18 February 2020
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Streets Ahead contractor Amey partners with Smart City operator Connexin to build the latest UK Smart City, starting with digitised city roadways and the Internet of Things 

Waste bins that say they’re full, grit bins which tell you they’re empty, drains which ask to be cleaned and trees which demand water. 

It sounds futuristic, but the technology is available, and it’s coming to Sheffield. 

By spring, the city’s highways contractor, Amey, will have created a digitised public highway network for Sheffield, with thousands of individual sensors communicating wirelessly via smart sensors deployed to the city’s assets. 

Amey, which operates Streets Ahead, the city-wide highways maintenance contract, is positioning itself at the forefront of Smart City technology to deliver a more efficient service to the city of Sheffield via a platform provided by Smart City operator, Connexin. 

Using an Internet of Things (IoT) foundation for its digital strategy, Amey will use Connexin’s CityOS platform to integrate, view, manage and respond to information to improve highway maintenance services and revolutionise service delivery across Sheffield, from Stocksbridge to Mosborough. 

Connexin’s CityOS platform, described by the firm as the “Operating System of a Smart City”, is being delivered in partnership with Cisco and Quantela and will digitally connect essential highway maintenance services and inform operatives about the condition of street assets in real-time.  

For example, when to; empty high street bins to avoid overflowing, water trees for preservation, refill grit bins ready for icy conditions and clear gullies to reduce the risk of flash flooding. By alerting operatives, Amey’s maintenance managers will always be one step ahead.  

Another huge benefit to the system will be a reduction in air pollution, with staff making fewer journeys across the city and being able to avoid spots where air quality levels are poor, to reduce the impact.  

As a result, residents of Sheffield will benefit from a better quality of life with cleaner and safer living conditions and improved maintenance services which are delivered in a more efficient, sustainable manner, contributing to the city’s Clean Air Strategy. 

Cabinet member for Environment, Street Scene and Climate Change at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Mark Jones said: 

“This is very much about us working better and smarter towards a greener and cleaner future for Sheffield.  

“By investing in this new initiative, our contractors will be undertaking fewer journeys, which in turn will result in a reduction in energy consumption, pollution and congestion, while ensuring our streets are kept clean and our bins are emptied using a more efficient and effective approach.  

“Using technology in this pioneering way will help the Council in its efforts to tackle the climate crisis while improving standards.  Following installation, those who live and work in our city should see a positive impact on their neighbourhoods fairly quickly. 

“Sheffield is an ambitious and proud city and where we lead, others will follow.” 

James Haluch, Managing Director of Transport Infrastructure at Amey says: 

“Technology is becoming more and more part of our everyday lives. Working with our partners in the public and private sector, we have to make radical changes to the way we deliver services. I’m delighted that we’re embracing Connexin’s technology, which is one of the first times it’s been used in a city environment, that will benefit our service delivery and help to improve local communities. It will also offer a more environmentally sustainable solution to reduce our carbon footprint and maximise the use of resources, allowing us to provide a continually evolving service for Sheffield residents.” 

Rob Bullock, Chief Sales Officer at Connexin says: 

“We’re thrilled to be supporting Amey to deliver services in Sheffield, further demonstrating that the digital economy and innovation is thriving in the North. 

“Our complete solution is built on the CityOS platform, bringing together the best of breed capabilities from Cisco Kinetic for Cities and the Atlantis Smart City platform from Quantela which together present the city’s assets in a single aggregated view.  

“This project has far reaching, long term benefits that go beyond simply delivering service efficiencies. A city with reduced service vehicles contributing to traffic congestion and air pollution is a benefit to everyone and has the potential to become the “new norm” for how services are delivered to cities.  

“The investment Amey has made in CityOS will support an agile approach to future technology adoption. CityOS is “open” and as new use cases are discovered Amey will be able to integrate new data sets to expand their service offering.” 

Stu Higgins, Head of Smart Cities & IoT, Cisco UK & Ireland says: 

“With so many components to a Smart City, from sensors creating data to insights that need to be actioned, by introducing an operating system for services in the city,  Sheffield and Amey will be able to create true value for those living and working in the city. 

“We’re delighted to be working with Connexin, Quantela and Amey on this initiative.” 

Amr Salem, COO at Quantela says: 

“Quantela is delighted to partner with Connexin and Cisco to deliver an intelligent digital platform for Amey, to help them provide better services to Sheffield City Council.  

“With councils and service providers looking at more efficient ways to manage assets and services, digitisation will aid in extracting efficiencies and unlocking economic value. Our endeavour is to help our partners and clients to bridge different islands of information, deliver new insights and improved services for the city and its residents, businesses and visitors.  

“We believe that this project will help bring more digital services to Sheffield in the future and we look forward to this journey with our esteemed partners.” 

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