Leeds Business Week: Health and IT key to smart city

October 21, 2014

By James Keighley

Experts revealed ways they are looking to work with the public sector to bring future proof housing and innovative health care to Leeds at a conference as part of Leeds Business Week (13-17 October 2014). The council will eventually bring social housing to Leeds that uses “smart” technology to improve the standard of living for the vulnerable.

Panellists from aql, Actuated Futures, Leeds City Council and Leeds and Partners chaired the debate at the Smarter Cities Conference, an event aiming to share knowledge and discuss the future of our cities in the information age.

The final session of the conference gave the panellists a chance to summarise what this revolutionary way of looking at cities could mean for the future of Leeds. Ian Jones, ICT senior consultant for Leeds City Council, believed collaboration between sectors is key to Leeds becoming a smarter city: “We need to do more to create collaboration across the city. [The] council has mass data, open data… not everyone is on the same page.”

Tim Straughan, director of health and innovation at Leeds and Partners, said that open data could benefit the health sector: “It’s better to use data to prevent than pay for hospital care. We don’t do enough to prevent. It’s sickness care not health care.”

With the same preventative idea in mind, Leeds Council’s health agenda is looking at bringing a new type of smart housing to Leeds, “a house fitted out with new kinds of sensors and new kinds of ways of monitoring health from within the building”, said Ian Jones. He added that there will be council housing projects coming to Leeds in the future that have these sensors and preventative measures as standard. “We’re going to put inside future proof environments so that as people get older, and perhaps less mobile, there are things built into the house that enable them to still live there”.

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