Birmingham – An Intelligent City?

I’d seen this video (as I said to Mark, I find the start a bit creepy) before I saw Mark’s blog post on the subject (which he wrote some time back). It’s a proof of concept focussing on transport and the challenges we all face when negotiating our way around the cities where we live and the cities we visit. How should I get there? Where should I park? Can I drop the car here and walk. Perhaps I should get the bus? Why don’t we have some sort of integrated transport information network?

This proof of concept was part of the “Intelligent City” programme, a Birmingham City wide initiative to “address key urban issues relating to transport, tourism, security and climate change through the exploitation of information technology”. I should just encourage you to read Mark’s blog post as he has all the interesting details.

As for the video, I found the choice of mobile device interesting. Personally, I’d have gone for something a little more compact rather than something the size of a bus shelter but that’s just me. More interesting (and serious) though is the service platform at the heart of all this based on WCF and SQL Server 2008. This allowed the team to build a variety of client applications and leaves the door open for further apps in the future. (Perhaps a Surface app Mark? More portable than your choice of mobile device).

I can’t help but think that a similar system would be ideal for the Tesco flagship store in Slough. If you’ve ever been you’ll know you don’t just need your a SatNav to negotiate the car park but an aerial view of the available spaces to have any hope of getting one.

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