How the standards for smart cities are being set in the UK

The UK has become the first country to develop standards that will help to shape the future of the smart cities across the country.

As technology allows cities to develop, become more automated and run themselves, officials in the UK have decided to create plans that will outline the best practices for the creation of smarter cities.

Two sets of standards have been created to aid the modernising of cities – with the Universities and Science Minister David Willets saying they will help to “address barriers” that are faced.

The aim to create smart cities has seen cities, businesses and universities across the country collaborating as the UK competes in the worldwide race to develop smarter cities.

Smart cities have the potential for businesses to plan efficient routes to transport goods, allow effective public health services and provide real-time data to allow people to plan their days.

These cities can be using wireless networks, utilising big data, social media plus sensors and tracking products. They aim to use technology to simplify the lives of residents. Potential innovations include being able to provide smart public transport information which displays the most relevant travel to the commuter and personalised recommendations for places to eat and shop.

The guide to ‘establishing strategies for smart cities and communities’ was made to help decision makers deliver strategies that can transform the ability of cities to meet the challenges they will face in the future.

While a separate guide to vocabulary that should be used when referring to smart cities has also been made to ensure there is no confusing between those who are responsible for the creation of the cities.

The development of the standards was led by the British Standards Institution, which was founded in 1901, and also involved government departments, Cambridge University, technology giants IBM and many other leading organisations.

Scott Steedman, the director of standards at BSI, said that it is crucially important the smart cities have standards that they need to abide by.

“The UK leads the world in shaping business standards,” he said. “If we are to make the most of the global opportunities from smart cities, we need to work fast to structure the knowledge that can help city leaders, communities, innovators and technology providers recognize what good looks like and how these concepts can bring benefits for all.

“I’m delighted that the UK is the first country to publish a set of standards that will help us navigate the governance and leadership challenges that smart technologies bring for cities everywhere.”

Image courtesy of Tyler Arnold/Flickr under Creative Commons.

Supersonic passenger plane to use giant screens instead of windows

Passengers on long haul flights often while away the hours starring aimlessly out the windows at the passing scenery however, the group behind the world’s first commercial supersonic plane have decided it is best if they do without windows.

Instead Spike Aerospace has decided to use giant screens inside the passenger cabin which will show what is happening outside the plane.

It says that removing windows will reduce the challenges in designing and constructing the aeroplanes fuselage. Windows require extra support and add to the number of parts that are needed as well as the overall weight of the plane.

Also a smoother outer skin of the plane will help to reduce the drag when flying at high speeds.

In a post on its website Spike Aerospace say: “The interior walls will be covered with a thin display screens embedded into the wall. Cameras surrounding the entire aircraft will construct breathtaking panoramic views displayed on the cabin screens.”

Passengers will be allowed to dim the screens if they want to sleep or be able to change it to any number of images stored in the plane’s system.

This could cause problems for those wanting to sleep when others are working or wanting to eat. It’s not worth considering how uninspiring the plane will be if the screens break.


The new supersonic jet will allow passengers to reach destinations in half the time it currently takes, the company claims. It says flying from New York to London will take three-four hours instead of the six-seven hours it currently takes and it says LA to Tokyo will take eight hours instead of 14-16.

At present commercial airliners fly at speeds of around 567mph, but the planned Spike S-512 plane is targeting speeds of 1,060-1,200mph for its slights.

The company say: “We expect the first customers for the jet will be businesses and their management teams that need to manage global operations more efficiently.

“They will be able to reach destinations faster, evaluate more opportunities and have a bigger impact on their enterprises.”

In short, the jet is being designed for the select few on corporate accounts who will be able to afford the flight costs in the initial stages.

But it appears virtual environments aren’t only going to be used for the super wealthy as only weeks ago cruise ship company Royal Caribbean announced its latest cruise shop would play host to ‘virtual balconies’ for those in the worst rooms.

The ship company intends that virtual balconies will comprise of an 80-inch LED screen on the wall of 373 rooms in its latest boat, the Quantum of the Seas.

If the company’s images are to be believed sea-goers will be able to enjoy the best views around the boat without having to put up with sea air or, if caught in a storm be able to change their view to that of a sunny day.

Image courtesy of Spike Aerospace.