Glasgow is embarking on an ambitious £24million programme aimed at using technology to make life in the city smarter, safer and more sustainable.

Imagine using your mobile phone to find the quietest route into the city centre as you start up your car. 

Imagine knowing the hospital Accident & Emergency unit with the shortest waiting time at the touch of a button. 

Imagine a CCTV camera with the potential to save lives by sensing when someone has climbed onto a bridge parapet and instantly raising the alarm. 

They may sound like something from a sci-fi film – but these are just a few examples of how integrating technology networks across the city could improve and even save lives in coming years. 

Glasgow is embarking on a trail blazing programme which will put residents at the forefront of technology integration and application. The city beat 29 others to win the money in a UK-wide competition run by the Technology Strategy Board – the Government’s innovation agency.

The pioneering programme will see a state-of-the-art technology operations hub created in the East End headquarters of Glasgow Community & Safety Services (GCSS). 

Super intelligent public space CCTV cameras will also replace the existing outdated network and their operators will be based in the new hub alongside specialists from TRAFFCOM – the team in charge of the city’s traffic lights and traffic cameras. The two teams currently work from separate bases at Blochairn and Charing Cross. 

Glasgow will get more than 400 new digital cameras. The cameras are so advanced they could help avert potential disasters. They can be programmed to automatically detect unusual activity, for example if someone leaves a box or bag unattended. Suspicious instances will trigger an alarm prompting further investigation by the emergency services. 

Future Cities Demonstrator Glasgow is looking to work in partnership with public and private sector agencies providing a range of services to the city. They include Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland, housing providers, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, universities, energy providers and Scottish Enterprise. 

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Demonstrator, said: “Winning this funding was a major coup for Glasgow. Now we’re putting the teams and infrastructure in place to realise the potential of a hugely ambitious and far reaching programme which will permeate all sectors of city life. 

“This flagship programme may be in its infancy but, once complete, we hope it will provide a blueprint for other cities to follow. As a society we are generating more data than at any time in history, by harnessing that knowledge we can improve the lives of Glasgow residents, the environment and the economy. 

“Glasgow is keen to embrace new technologies and create a forward thinking environment which will attract businesses from that sector, creating jobs with long term prospects. 

“We look forward to realising the future today through collaborative working with an array of partners.” 

Future Cities Demonstrator Glasgow also aims to deliver sustainability and health benefits for the city and data gathered over the course of the 18 month programme will be used to target resources and plan for future developments.  We’ll will bring you further details soon.