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Updated: 5 hours 50 min ago

Council to relocate emergency and city management operations

12 hours 12 min ago

Bristol City Council is set to bring together three separate city management and emergency control rooms in a bid to deliver significant savings for the Council and secure the future of these core services.

The move will see the Council’s Emergency Management, Traffic Management and Community Safety (CCTV) control rooms relocate to a dedicated space at 100 Temple Street.

Work will now begin on creating a state of the art, multi-purpose operation centre following a decision to proceed being made by the Mayor of Bristol and his Assistant Mayors at the latest meeting of the Council’s Cabinet (6 October). The centre’s construction and team relocation is expected to take 18 months.

The decision has been taken to ensure that the Council remains capable of responding to personal and city emergencies whilst continuing its long standing partnership work with the Police and other agencies in ensuring the safety and security of residents and visitors. The Mayor and his Cabinet also recognise and opportunity to continue the outstanding work of these teams but in a more cost effective and efficient fashion following the move. This includes an immediate saving of around £2m from vacating their current locations.

“I have read some extremely misleading commentary about the relocated Bristol control room and wish to assure citizens of Bristol that this is not a move designed to increase monitoring or expand CCTV in the city. It is an essential practical approach to how we manage the future of critical services when they can no longer operate from their traditional locations.

The importance of having reliable and effective city management and emergency response systems cannot be over-estimated. As one of the world’s Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, we have made city resilience a key priority and this project exemplifies that commitment by ensuring our core emergency and city management systems are protected for the future.

I regard this move as an opportunity to continue delivering quality, vital services and traffic management in a way that reduces cost and delay caused by operating from three very outdated sites. At a time when council budgets are being squeezed and greater emphasis is put on managing the urban environment, I am pleased to sanction this move and greatly welcome the benefits it will deliver.”
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol

“I believe this is a unique opportunity to bring about service improvement across all three control rooms whilst also delivering a more cost effective model of how they operate. Operating from one space instead of three will bring immediate rewards as too will utilising state of the art communications technology to enable closer working with colleagues and partner organisations such as the Police. I look forward to working closely with the team to ensure a smooth transition to the new centre.”
Cllr Geoff Gollop, Deputy Mayor of Bristol

For the first time, these centres will make use of a single shared, dedicated space. Equipped with high performance communication technologies and utilising the council owned BNet high capacity fibre network, this single operations centre will provide its core services efficiently and collaboratively with key partners.

“This new investment will lay the foundations to move towards a smart city operations model that will use real time data to anticipate and respond to incidents – re-routing traffic if there is an accident or using signals and signage to greater effect to keep the city moving.”
Stephen Hilton, Director of Bristol City Council’s Bristol Futures team

The services that will be delivered from the new operations centre will include:

  • Community Safety (CCTV) – the operators are a key factor in monitoring serious incidents (robber, assault), liaising closely with the Police to direct resources, identifying offenders and bringing such individuals to justice through reliable evidence.
  • Assistive Technology and Telecare – supporting vulnerable people to living independently in their own homes, co-ordinating an emergency response in case of a fall or serious incident occurring, that triggers an alarm.
  • Alarm Monitoring Services – used to provide high security monitoring and response services to all types of alarm activations including intruder, fire, lift, panic and CCTV
  • Out of Hours Call Handling – providing an out of hours contact for all Council services
  • Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) – responsible for the operation and management of the traffic control systems across the city.
  • Management of Planned events, roadworks and incidents from a single location
  • Dissemination of transport information to residents and visitors through websites, twitter, variable message signs, radio stations etc
  • Traffic Analysis and Modelling – improving and creating strategies to better manage the traffic network
  • Liaison with Public Transport Operators – ensuring journey time reliability of public transport and managing incidents & planned events effectively – this includes monitoring CCTV of Bus Lanes to observe any illegal use.

The project planning phase will now continue to ensure an efficient and robust plan is in place for the building and relocation phases. The operations centre build is expected to begin in 2016 with a final launch date in early 2017.

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Event: Online Influence Conference, Mercure Hotel Bristol, 16th October

7 October, 2015 - 11:03

Attendees at this event  will have the opportunity to network with top senior executives, learn about the latest digital trends and gain key industry insights. Pinterest’s UK Marketing Manager Lizzy Sibley, Airbnb’s EMEA Marketing Manager Holly Clarke and Thane Ryland, Global Lead Social Analytics and Insights at Microsoft have been added to the line-up.

They will join Head of Content Europe for Twitter Paul McCrudden, Advertising Standards Association CEO Guy Parker, Jeremy Waite, Head of Digital Strategy at Salesforce and Keith Lewis, Zurich UK Social Media Lead.

This event will take place on October 16th 2015 at the Mercure Hotel in Bristol City Centre. In addition to hosting a wealth of influential speakers, the conference will also include quick fire panel debates, meet the expert sessions, industry benchmarking and interactive learning opportunities.

This conference is limited to 200 capacity and super earlybird tickets have now sold out. Register your interest at

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Hundreds of business owners to attend Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in Bristol, Colston Hall, 22 October: Book now.

24 September, 2015 - 17:30

Small business network Enterprise Nation has announced the final line-up for a festival in Bristol aimed at helping female-founded businesses to grow.

The Festival of Female Entrepreneurs (FFE), at Colston Hall on 22 October, will feature successful businesswomen including Nicola Horlick, who was once branded ‘superwoman’ for juggling a high powered career in finance with bringing up six children, and Julia Eliot Brown, the founder of Upper Street, which harnesses tech to allow women to design their own shoes.

The event also includes a panel of local women, Nadia Abdulla of Park Street Events; Tara Gillam from Business West and Colston Hall CEO Louise Mitchell, debating ‘Can we build a Western Powerhouse?’.

The day-long festival is run by Enterprise Nation and sponsored by Start Up Loans, Verisign, 123-reg and Great Western Railway. The event will also feature activity from Bristol based networks, Women Mean Biz and YENA.

Bristol mayor George Ferguson said:

“I’m delighted that the city is hosting this festival, which will bring together some of the UK’s most influential female entrepreneurs, business leaders and brightest start-ups.

In establishing the Bristol Women’s Commission, I acknowledged that the city will not achieve its full potential if the experience, know-how, skills and creativity of women are not fully embraced.

Female entrepreneurs are crucial not only to Bristol, but the UK economy as a whole, and this important event will help highlight and celebrate their contribution to the world of business.”

Top speakers also include Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones, Gold medal Olympian-turned crowdfunding entrepreneur, Sarah Gosling OBE, Too Fat to Run founder Julie Crefield and Lee Dancy, founder of Barking Mad, a nationwide dog holiday franchise.
After the keynote speeches and panel discussions, delegates will be able to attend practical workshops led by leading business experts.

For more information and to book tickets go to

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How much is your personal data worth? An awful lot it seems, but who gets the value?

3 September, 2015 - 15:19

Each of us creates about 5GB of data each day, and according to new website data wallet $300 Billion is spent on obtaining that personal data each year. Firms of data brokers aggregate information about us from a variety of different sources, from our loyalty cards to social media posts. In most cases it won’t be apparent what information has been gathered and how it is being used, but one data broker has create a website which sets some of this out. In future it would be good to see far more transparency about what personal data is being mined and how its being used, and perhaps even returning a decent amount of the value to the individuals who create it.

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Bristol businesses, do you want a £3000 voucher for better broadband? Apply now and join thousands of others from all over the UK

3 September, 2015 - 14:56

Broadband Connection Vouchers are being delivered by 50 cities across the UK. More than 40,000 vouchers have been issued so far, enabling small businesses to make a step change in their broadband provision. There is still time to join them and make your own application. Head over to the National Connection Vouchers website and check your eligibility.

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Local website takes the casual job search online for students

2 September, 2015 - 16:01 is a new website that has just launched in Bristol. Founded by a Bristol university graduate, it aims to connect university students with part-time and one-off jobs whilst studying at university.

The graduate jobs market is saturated with websites trying to cash in on placing the UK’s smartest new employees in high flying jobs. But what about whilst the students are studying? With the cost of going to university at an all-time high, a huge number of students need a part-time job to supplement their loan. While studying in Bristol Sam Hyams, founder, discovered that  he had to travel around the local shops and pubs handing out CVs. He saw an opportunity which seemed particularly to fit here in Bristol, a City that values technology and innovation so highly.

So was launched; a completely free service for both students and employers that aims to take the search for a casual job online. The website provides a streamlined approach to job hunting, simplify the hiring process for businesses in the Bristol area.

The service is completely free and encourages all types of jobs from individuals who want their fence painted, to part-time bar work, to a full-time position in one of Bristol’s tech start-ups.

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Free Lunchtime discussion on sustainable and efficient smart city planning, 11 Sept, 1200-1500

27 August, 2015 - 09:57

Bristol has been working with San Sebastian and Florence to explore the potential for using Systems Thinking to produce comprehensive Sustainable Smart City Plans. The project partners, which includes Arup, Bristol City Council, Centre for Sustainable Energy, University of Bristol, are gathering at Open Space in Bristol to set out some of the lessons learned and to share their findings. This event would be of particular interest to

  • People working, studying or interested in energy planning
  • People interested in how smart cities, including energy planning, could transform our cities

Book your free place at the Eventbrite page.

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Come along to the Accessible Bristol talk “WCAG sufficient techniques – How well do they really work?” August 25, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

24 August, 2015 - 14:14

The Accessible Bristol group are holding another of their excellent talks on accessible technologies at the Engine Shed tomorrow. Mark Rogers of Powermapper will be going through how well different sufficient techniques work in different assistive technology. Sign up to attend via the Accessible Bristol Meetup Group.

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Pitch your IoT and Smart Cities Idea in the Pitch@Palace Competition

24 August, 2015 - 09:42

Pitch@Palace supports Entrepreneurs in acceleration their business ideas by connecting them with potential supporters including CEOs, Angels, Mentors, and key Business Partners.

Pitch@Palace 4.0 will focus on the Internet of Things and Smart Cities, with a specific emphasis upon products and services that are helping to create a smarter world, as well as empowering consumers and citizens to engage with objects and the environment around them.

Applications should come from Entrepreneurs in the following areas:

  • Energy
  • Fitness & Wellbeing
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Home
  • Transportation

On the afternoon of 14th September, there will be a  Pitch@Palace On Tour event at Engine Shed. To attend companies must register this week. Visit the Pitch@Palace website for more on the competition and the Bristol event.

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Sign up for free online courses on Smart Cities, Sustainable Cities and the Internet of Things

13 August, 2015 - 12:14

More and more Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming available covering all sorts of topics. A few interesting ones  have recently opened up in these interesting areas;

Smart Cities:

Internet of Things:

Sustainable Cities:

The courses are free, and there shouldn’t be issues with capacity, but some of them are starting soon so go ahead and register now.

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Some Open Data resources and references

11 August, 2015 - 09:47

I came across a very useful archive of open data resources on LinkedIn. The list was created bya Strategist, Speaker and Consultant, so thanks and acknowledgement go to her. I’ve reposted the list here and intend to add to it as I come across more handy bits and pieces;

What is Data / Open Data?

Leading open data licensing & standards

Big, open & personal data

What about government open data?

Open data, what’s the value?

Open data stories

Who publishes open data?

Training Slides


Other Resources

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There’s still time to register for Transform Digital Conference, @Bristol, 15 and 16 September

4 August, 2015 - 12:46

On 15th September INCA and Bristol City Council will run the third Better Broadband for Business voucher scheme workshop, led by James Saunby and aimed at small businesses in the Brisol area. This will be followed by a Technical Showcase: How to Build a Broadband Network led by Rob Leenderts. In the evening there will be a visit the Bristol Planetarium followed by the conference dinner.

Delegates will assemble on 16th September for the Transform Digital: Bristol Conference. The focus this year is on how new digital infrastructure contributes to economic development, the increasingly important role of the competitive, independent sector of digital network operators, and how local authorities can get better value for money from their broadband contracts.

Headed by Chris Townsend of BDUK the list of speakers includes:

  • Mark Collins of CityFibre
  • Andy Conibere of Callflow Solutions
  • Malcolm Corbett of INCA
  • Matt Evans, of BSG
  • Barry Ford of B4RN
  • Matthew Hare of Gigaclear
  • Liz Harrison of Kent County Council
  • Daniel Heery of Cybermoor
  • Stephen Hilton of Bristol City Council
  • Richard Hooper of BSG
  • Mike Locke of Satellite Internet
  • Garry Miller of BT
  • Paul Morris of Vodafone
  • Hilary O’Shaughessy of Pervasive Media
  • Kate Rennicks of Metronet
  • Pete Shearman of Cisco
  • Roy Shelton of ITS Technology
  • Andrew Stirling of Microsoft
  • Mark Swarbrick of DCMS
  • Craig Thomas of Calix
  • Dana Tobak of Hyperoptic
  • Phil Winfield of @Bristol

For more information and to register visit INCA Events

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New Fund for Hyperlocal Publishers to Measure their Online Success

28 July, 2015 - 09:41

Hyperlocal publishers (online news or content services pertaining to a town, village, single postcode or other small, geographically defined community in the UK that create public value) can apply for grants of up to £6,500 from Nesta to explore how a more strategic use of website and social media analytics might help them define and measure their success online. A trial will run with up to 10 hyperlocal media publishers from across the UK who currently: do not use any website analytics; have a basic website analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, installed but do not use it to its potential; and/or do not make effective use of social media analytics.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 10th August.

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Vacancy: Bristol City Council are looking for an Open Data Project Manager

27 July, 2015 - 12:00

If you are an experienced Project Manager with an interest in open data and recognise its potential to transform the way that Local Authorities and other organisations operate you may be interested in this vacancy. Bristol has demonstrated a good deal of ambition in the area of Open Data, launching a City Open Data Platform and recently being confirmed as an ODI Node. The role is based within the City Innovation team who lead the Council’s Smart City Programme. The closing data for applications is 10 August 2015.

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Bristol’s tech start-up ecosystem gets positive write up by the Next Web

20 July, 2015 - 09:44

Bristol has a well networked, innovative technology community focused around the major hubs at the Engine Shed and Watershed. The Next Web have written a comprehensive article picking out some of the leading businesses and stand out technologies being developed across the region.

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Vote for the Future 4 Me project in the National Lottery Awards and bring the award for Best Charity Project to Bristol

17 July, 2015 - 17:25

The Future 4 Me project has been shortlisted as a finalists for the National Lottery Best Charity Project. This is the only project from the South West to be nominated and the only finalist in the UK working with young people leaving care, custody or homeless.

You can vote for them here free : or call the Future 4 Me VOTING LINE  – 0844 836 9713 Calls cost 5p (some networks vary).

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Melbourne residents send email messages to trees

17 July, 2015 - 11:14

In a project which brings to mind Bristol’s Playable City Winner “Hello Lampost” people in Melbourne can now email the trees in their City. All of the trees in the City have been mapped and given an individual ID which enables residents to email that tree directly with their thoughts.

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ODI to commission projects demonstrating the impact of open data. Up to £7,000 funding available to support delivery.

16 July, 2015 - 09:42

Do you have a great idea for an open data project but need help to get it off the ground? Are you working on a project that you would like to promote more widely? As part of its open data summer showcase, the Open Data Institute is looking for great examples of open data impact, to support their development and promote them to a global audience.

As well as the potential £7k funding the support package includes;

  • Remote mentoring from the ODI’s Research, Communications, Content and Production teams to help you develop your project for maximum impact
  • Free training
  • Free ODI Individual Membership
  • The opportunity to promote your work at the ODI Summit in November 2015, and at an ODI Friday lunchtime lecture
How to apply

Submit your proposal online using this application form. The deadline for entries is 15.00 BST, Friday 24 July 2015

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You can download the presentations for the Connecting Bristol to the Internet of Things event, 6 July 2015

10 July, 2015 - 15:34

Thanks to everyone who turned up for the Connecting Bristol to the Internet of Things at Watershed on Monday. The presentations are available to download below as PDF’s. Watch this space for more events and information about Bristol’s ambitious IoT programme;

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Watch this video from the “Tangible Memories: Community in Care” project

9 July, 2015 - 17:18

The Tangible Memories project is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Bristol who have been working alongside Alive! activities, artists (Stand + Stare and Heidi Hinder) and care home residents, staff and managers from across the city of Bristol. Working together the project team were able to produce innovative and playful artifacts to preserve and share the memories of residents in care homes. Its an inspiring, creative and often moving project.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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