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Newcastle and Sunderland join forces to take North East digital proposition to Smart City Expo in Barcelona

1st November, 2023

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North East England’s smart city credentials will be showcased on the international stage next week as a diverse regional delegation heads to Barcelona for Smart City Expo World Congress.

Taking place from 7-9 November, Smart City Expo is the world’s largest conference for smart cities, attended by more than 20,000 people from all corners of the globe.

Representatives from Invest Newcastle and Newcastle City Council will be joined by colleagues from Sunderland City Council and their Smart City Programme team, as well as a cohort of private sector organisations to put forward a united message about the scale of ambition in North East England around urban innovation and digitalisation.

Sunderland and Newcastle are two of the most advanced cities in the UK when it comes to digital transformation, having rolled out a range of wireless technologies and smart infrastructure that can benefit people and businesses across the region.

Newcastle is one of only five UK cities to be ranked in IMD’s Global Smart City Observatory and is continuing to invest in wireless infrastructure, urban monitoring and data science to understand how people and businesses engage with the city.

Home to the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) and National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), the city is leading the global City of Longevity project, which is focused on the application of smart technologies to extend the healthy lifespan for residents and visitors.

Sunderland, meanwhile, has been shortlisted as one of just six cities worldwide for the highly competitive and prestigious ‘City Award’ at the upcoming World Smart City Awards, which are also being held at Smart City Expo in Barcelona. This recognition underlines Sunderland’s dedication to innovation, sustainability and urban development excellence on a global scale.

The city has a long-term partnership with Boldyn Networks, using 5G and IoT networks to create one of the UK’s most technologically advanced urban environments, and recently secured £5.7m to revolutionise the way people experience live sports, esports and events through digitally enabled facilities and services.

Dawn Dunn, Digital and Tech Sector Lead at Invest Newcastle, part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “We are really excited to showcase our digital prowess on the global stage and demonstrate the incredible potential for urban innovation in North East England.

“Working with our colleagues in Sunderland, we look forward to promoting our region as not only open for business but a place that is enthusiastically embracing the data-driven digital revolution and all of the opportunity it brings.”

Liz St Louis, Director of Smart Cities and Enabling Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “The Smart City Expo World Congress is the ideal opportunity to explore innovative city strategies, discuss ground-breaking projects and share ideas to enable smarter futures for all.

“We are looking forward to standing alongside other global smart city leaders at this incredible event, and we can’t wait to share Sunderland’s Smart City transformation, together with colleagues from Newcastle, as we fly the flag for our forward-thinking region.”

Newcastle and Sunderland are attending Smart City Expo as part of a UK delegation that includes senior representatives from Manchester, London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Wales and West Midlands.

Organised by Connected Places Catapult and the Department for Business and Trade, the delegation will enable new collaborations and help position the UK as a leading light in the global smart city movement.

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