A dozen business representatives visited The Open University to find out about MK:Smart and explore the potential business opportunities which could be unlocked through collaboration with us.
Alan Fletcher, from The Open University, and Alan Ward, from BT, introduced our visitors to the unique benefits of the project’s location in Milton Keynes, and the challenges the city is likely to face due to the predicted increase in its population. They also gave our visitors a tour of MK:Smart’s activities and how they plan to help address these issues .
The visit was arranged by Advantage Austria, which aims to showcase Austrian companies and foster international business relationships. We noticed interesting overlaps between MK:Smart’s MotionMap app, which is under development, and BikeCityGuide Apps. Both applications aim to make the user’s travel choices easier. For the Austrian cycling app, this means providing the user with relevant data to inform what route they will take, while the users of the MotionMap will be deciding when to travel based on the level of busyness they can perceive at their chosen destination.
Our Austrian visitors empathised with the constraints of such an innovative project and were impressed by the support offered by MK Council. Unlike some older cities, Milton Keynes welcomes change and has often been a pioneer for the use of new technologies. This year’s ground-breaking electric bus scheme has been proof of this.
The event allowed plenty of time for question and answer sessions and networking. The visitors discussed the various visions for Smart Cities and how they could be defined and evaluated.
We look forward to continuing the Smart City conversation with business leaders at the Barcelona Smart City Expo next month, where MK:Smart will be manning a stand for UKTI.