Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey joined tech entrepreneur Patrick Fisher, founder and CEO of Urban Innovation Company, to officially launch the network of “smart street furniture” in the City.
The £3M project, funded entirely by Fisher’s company which designs and builds next generation telecommunication hubs, will help people stay connected – and even save lives.
Belfast City Council have granted permission for 25 of the beautifully designed and technologically advanced smart hubs so far – with planning applications pending to make a network of 30 Pulse Smart Hubs throughout the City.
Cllr Hargey and Fisher this morning launched the first of the intelligent kiosks in Howard Street, with 15 of the 25 hubs now live. The other 10 will be installed and switched on over coming weeks.
Thanks to Pulse Smart Hubs, residents and visitors will benefit from a raft of free useful services, including:
- a defibrillator allowing anyone, even without training, to save a life
- sensors that capture crucial data on air quality made available to City stakeholders to be used for clean air initiatives
- a police override function for public messaging on the main screen, in case of an emergency
- public messaging to promote the City, local services, and events in collaboration with Belfast City Centre management and Visit Belfast
- a 999 button that connects directly to the police, fire, and medical services in case of an emergency, or if someone feels intimidated or vulnerable
- a free-to-use touchscreen interface to access local maps, services, facilities, and visitor information provided in collaboration with Visit Belfast
- free public WiFi so people can enjoy connectivity around Belfast City Centre
- free local and national calls, plus mobile phone charging, and scope for mobile data offloading.
Strategically positioned throughout Belfast City Centre, the smart hubs will provide a range of core public benefits to today’s digitally-led society.
The project will support the City’s Smart Belfast initiative, which brings together universities, businesses, local government, and citizens to collaborate, innovate, and experiment using cutting-edge technologies and data science.
Patrick Fisher, Founder and CEO of London-based Urban Innovation Company, said: “We have been working closely with local stakeholders to ensure the Pulse Smart Hub network supports Belfast City Council’s strategic vision for smart cities and that the benefits to the City and its residents are truly maximised and available free to all.
“In the age of the Smart City, street furniture must do more to earn its place on the High Street. At no cost to the public or taxpayer, the Pulse Smart Hub is the smartest of smart furniture. A network of beautifully designed and engineered hubs that provide next generation connectivity, share information, track the environment, and ultimately, save lives.”