West Berkshire Council and partners win national award for Digital Innovation
West Berkshire Council has beaten out local authorities from across the country to win an award for Digital Innovation and Technology at the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Places and Transport (ADEPT) President's Awards.
The award, received at a ceremony on 27 May, was given to the authority and its partners in recognition of the success of the Thames Valley Berkshire Smart Cities Cluster project.
This £2.1m project, which was funded by Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) through Government's Local Growth Fund and the Business Rate Retention Pilot (BRRP) and supported by private sector partner STANTEC, has brought together all six of Berkshire's local authorities to address complex local authority service delivery issues using new technology developed in the county by local businesses.
Among the new developments were an app to tackle social isolation, a device to monitor and minimise electricity consumption, a chatbot which answers frequent resident website enquiries and sensors to prevent falls among elderly people living in supported accommodation.
It has also seen the rollout of a new Long Range Wide Area communications Network across the county which can be used with Internet of Things (IoT) devices to exchange data and monitor assets as well as a wide range of other applications.
Cllr Ross Mackinnon, Executive Member for Economic Development at West Berkshire Council, said:
"This is great news for West Berkshire and the wider region and strengthens its position as a centre of excellence in digital innovation.
"Investing in better infrastructure, helping local businesses to thrive, ensuring better outcomes for vulnerable residents and delivering innovative public services are our key priorities as an authority and this project covers them all. It is brilliant to see that being recognised at national level, which is a real cause of celebration.
"The success of the project is also testament to the strong work we've done in conjunction with the LEP, the other Berkshire authorities and the exciting small businesses who have risen to our challenges. I have no doubt we'll be able to take what we've learnt from this project and use it for the good of everyone who lives, works and learns in West Berkshire."
Bill Hicks, Head of Infrastructure at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, added:
"We're thrilled to receive this award for a project which has seen true partnership working between the LEP and the six Berkshire local authorities. This technology has wide-ranging and demonstrable benefits for many reasons and has already been used to transform local authority service delivery across a number of areas.
"Not only this, but we've injected capital into innovative local businesses who have created solutions to real life issues from scratch. We look forward to building on this success as we find more uses for IoT Technology which will benefit both residents and businesses. I'd like to thank the local authorities for their role in the project as well as Stantec for helping us to create meaningful outcomes in the region."
Rob McDonald, Director of Future Mobility and Smart Cities at Stantec said:
"It has been very exciting and enjoyable working collaboratively with the authorities and with the enterprises that have demonstrated real innovation in addressing the real challenges faced by the public sector in delivering its services. Whilst the last year has been challenging with the impact of COVID on all aspects of the project, we have been pleased to see not only excellent pilots within the project, but also the emergence of follow-on investment and opportunities for many of the pilots which is a testament to the quality of what has been achieved. It is great to have the recognition of Adept in recognising the achievements in Berkshire."
Find out more about the Smart Cities Cluster Project here: http://www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/tvbsmartcity