Smart City IoT project to help transform lives of pupils

Smart City IoT

School children from Edinburgh in Scotland have been challenged to come up with creative ways of using new technologies to combat issues and help change their hometown into a Smart City as part of a unique partnership with local business and organisations.

CityFibre, the City of Edinburgh Council, and the University of Edinburgh’s Data Education in Schools programme – part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal – will deliver the Smart City-focused Internet of Things (IoT) pilot to primary and secondary school year groups across Edinburgh.

With an aim to increase the amount of children that are using data science education in schools pupils will develop their understanding of data-driven solutions for a range of issues both inside and outside of the school environment. From this, pupils may develop ways of monitoring air-quality in playgrounds, improve the use of digital technology in classrooms or examine digital methods for managing the flow of traffic around the city. 

The project will begin in schools in the spring 2020 and a number of children will be asked to attend a Smart Cities event in Edinburgh in May, to demonstrate their solutions. As a part of the initiative, CityFibre will also provide Edinburgh schools with IoT tech kits over the coming year. This will help pupils to practice solving challenges using data analytics and sensors.

The announcement for the project was made at an event in Edinburgh Royal Scots Club which has brought civic and business communities together to discuss how improving digital connectivity will be able to transform everyday life for the people of Edinburgh and beyond. Development has begun for a city-wide full fibre network which will deliver significant benefits to communities across Edinburgh. Due to high levels of investments by City Fibre, most homes will have access to next-generation fibre connectivity.

Elaine Doherty, CityFibre’s City Manager for Edinburgh, said: “We can’t wait to hear about the creative ideas school pupils have to use IoT technologies and make the most of Edinburgh’s new full fibre infrastructure.

While most schools and City of Edinburgh Council buildings have been connected to full fibre, construction is well underway to extend the benefits of a full fibre network to almost every home and business across the city with the first homes to be connected next month.”

Professor Judy Robertson, Chair in Digital Learning, at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Education, Community and Society, said: “We are delighted to be working with CityFibre to deliver this exciting IoT project to schools across the region.

The project will encourage young people to think about how they can use sensors and data to understand their environment and to develop tools that can improve their local communities, learning how data can be used for good. The project is a fantastic addition to our Data Education for Schools project.

By bringing business, schools and the university together we can ensure that we are providing young people with skills and confidence to take full advantage of the opportunities provided within our data driven society.”

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people across Edinburgh to explore how digital technology can change the way we live our lives – and to help us come up with data-driven solutions for some of the challenges facing the Capital. “Thanks to this partnership with CityFibre and the University of Edinburgh, the next generation of problem-solvers will gain the skills needed to deliver a truly smart city for the future.”