04 Mar 2015

Milton Keynes partners stage landmark Future Cities Conference

Image Courtesy of Transport Systems Catapault

Image Courtesy of Transport Systems Catapault

Key industry figures will address the future direction of Smart Cities at a landmark Milton Keynes conference on Thursday 5th March

The Open University (OU) is hosting the conference on behalf of Milton Keynes Council and partners including, BT, Transport Systems Catapult and UCMK. The event will enable expertise-sharing among those at the forefront of future city planning including an exciting view of world-leading projects at the heart of the Smart Cities agenda.

The conference, held on Thursday 5th March 2015, will showcase activities already under way in Milton Keynes, including the MK Data Hub – the UK’s first citywide Internet of Things network – as well as the autonomous transportation systems and intelligent mobility.

Many of the technologies and much of the expertise on show at the conference form part of the MK:Smart project.

Speakers at the conference include Martha Lane Fox, Chancellor of The Open University and Chair Go-ON UK, Mark Prisk MP, Chair of Smart Cities All Party Parliamentary Group, Ian Dalton, President, Global Government & Health, BT Global Services, Steve Yianni, Chief Executive, Transport Systems Catapult and Sir Alan Wilson, Professor of Urban & Regional Systems University College London and Chair, Lead Expert Group, Foresight Future Cities Project, Government Office for Science. Attendees will have the opportunity to pool their knowledge and make informed decisions on the next steps for creating further Smart Cities, as well as gain valuable insight into how to implement infrastructure and new technologies.

The co-located events will include a UCMK Public Policy evening lecture on the day by Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, on “How can a city think better?”. Mr Mulgan is one of the UK’s foremost innovators and thinkers in the development of public policy, strategy and skills. The lecture will look at how a city can think better about its shared threats and opportunities, and will speak to our shared developments in Milton Keynes on smart cities and big data.

A second day workshop event on Friday 6th March, held at the Transport Systems Catapult, will look more deeply at specific initiatives taking place under the umbrella of the future city agenda, including some taking place within the MK:Smart project. This event is co-hosted by the OU, Transport Systems Catapult, UCMK, Milton Keynes Council and BT and interspersed with mini-seminars will be a series of exciting practical demonstrations of real-life applications of smart technology in Milton Keynes.

Professor Tim Blackman, Acting Vice-Chancellor, The Open University, will be giving a keynote address at the conference.

He said: “Milton Keynes is not only a leader in smart city innovation but open for business as a tech city - whether for a big corporate looking to test a new technology in a real world urban laboratory, or a digital start up looking to benefit from a dynamic knowledge economy.

“We are delighted to be hosting this showcase conference at The Open University, which is an invitation to come and learn from what's happening in this exciting city, including how the OU's cutting edge data science is helping boost economic growth and engage citizens in our digital future.”

Geoff Snelson, Director of Strategy, Milton Keynes Council will also present on MK The Future City Roadmap at the main conference on Thursday 5th March.

He said: ”Milton Keynes has a deserved reputation as a centre of innovation and the Future City Programme is taking that to the next level through a top-quality collaboration between business, universities and the public sector.

“The programme addresses strategic challenges arising from the city’s strong growth but also enables business and citizen innovation projects to bring further economic and quality of life benefits for local people.”

Notes to editors
For more information about the conference, including the full list of committee organisers:

MK:Smart is an OU-led consortium of local and national partners in a significant Big Data that will see Milton Keynes benefit from a £16m Higher Education Funding for England catalyst grant-funded project.
MK:Smart will develop innovative ways of supporting the significant forecast growth in Milton Keynes through curation of the data that drives the city’s key transport, water and energy infrastructure.

Find out more about MK:Smart here:

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